29

May 2022

May

Disturbing the City

We Are Witnesses

Seventh Sunday of Easter, Year C

“Good trouble” is a phrase that has grown in the consciousness of the nation. Representative John Lewis, a towering figure for civil rights, coined the phrase; and more than that, he lived it. Our text for this week says there are wrongs that need righted. But maybe it isn’t quite that clear.

Note to the Teacher

The key phrase in this scripture (for this lesson) is “Believe on the Lord Jesus.”. The ice breaker invites students to tell the group a bit about themselves through artistic expression. The discussion encourages students to think about why change in the name of Jesus may be hard but is good and right, while considering how they can be joyful throughout the change. The activity allows students to consider how to navigate through change with the confidence of knowing God. Times are based on a fifty-minute lesson period but may be adjusted.

1. Ice Breaker: Draw Me (10 minutes)

Give everyone a piece of paper and access to craft and art supplies. Give students five minutes to create a picture that tells the other students who they are. They cannot use any letters or numbers. After the five minutes is up, give students a chance to explain their drawings and why they represent who the students are. An online version would include allowing youth time to collect art supplies from around their home: drawing, clipping magazines, and so on.

2. Read Scripture (5 minutes)

Our Scripture reading today happens when Paul and Silas are in Macedonia, and they disturb the status quo.

Read Acts 16:16-34.

3. Discussion (15 minutes)

Paul and Silas have gone to Macedonia because the Lord told them to go. They are encouraged when they meet Lydia, and she and her household receive the message of Jesus Christ, but now they run into some trouble for doing God’s work.

  • Why do you think they got so annoyed with this woman? After all, she was declaring the truth about what who they were and what they were doing.
  • They cast out a spirit that was not from God from a woman, which ultimately frees her from that slavery. This is good, but her owners don’t like it because they can no longer make money off her, affecting their livelihood. Were the owners right to be upset at this change that affected their livelihood?
  • Have you ever gotten in trouble or known someone who has gotten in trouble from doing something good?
  • What makes people get upset when they are presented with change, like the people in this scripture did?

Reread Acts 16:25-34.

  • How strange do you think it is that Paul and Silas were singing hymns to God and praising him after they had just been beaten and put in stocks in a dungeon? Would you be more upset than they seem to be?
  • What would you be thinking if you had just been freed from prison because of an earthquake?
  • Why was the jailer about to kill himself?
  • Why does the jailer seem so desperate to have what Paul and Silas have?

When we walk with Jesus and the Holy Spirit is in us, there is something different about us because we know that there is nothing in this world we have to fear, not even death! Life’s stresses still happen to us, and of course injustices still happen, but when we view everything through the lens of the Holy Spirit, it is possible to have joy because the Holy Spirit is the comforter, and we know Jesus is with us in every situation.

4. Activity and Discussion (20 minutes)

Put down two lines of tape or rope about forty feet apart (or as far apart as you can based on your space). This can be done outside or inside. Tell students to pair up; then have all of the pairs line up on one side along the tape or rope. Students must then walk from one side to the other while telling their partners a story about something incredible that happened to them. Tell them to walk between the tape/rope as many times as they can for two minutes. One person talks and the other listens, and then their roles switch after two minutes. Once both partners have told their story, mix them up so that everyone has a new partner. Tell them to repeat the process, telling a story and listening to a story. Do this two times.

If meeting online, use the functionality of breakout rooms, set up using timers for two minutes. Follow the same pattern where each pair has an opportunity to both tell and listen to a story. Repeat the pattern by making new pairs as time allows.

Tell the students to find a new partner and repeat the process, only this time they can only hop on one leg from one side to the next. Do this two times. If doing this online, they can only tell the story while trying to rub their belly and pat their head.

Tell the students to find a new partner again and repeat the process, only this time they have to walk with their eyes closed. Do this two times. If doing this online, mimic the activity where both the speaker and listener have their eyes closed.

End the activity, gather the students together, and ask the following questions and read the following statements:

  • Did you find it hard to repeat the same activity you got used to doing in a new way? In other words, was it difficult to share your story while hopping on one leg when you had already told it three times while walking on two legs?
  • How about when you had to tell your story with your eyes closed?
  • How can we be witnesses when there are injustices and circumstances are hard – like for Paul and Silas? Who is in need around us because of their difficult circumstances?
  • Hopping on one leg or walking with your eyes closed did not make it impossible for you to share your story, nor did it inhibit your ability to listen to the story while the other person struggled through. It was just different. It was a different way of experiencing the story.

Close by saying something like, “Change is inevitable, it is always happening. The changes we just experienced mimic some of the difficulties seen in today’s scripture. Yet somehow, the story of our faith is always there. We will always have the opportunity to share our own stories. Likewise, if we see others experiencing difficulties, we should make ourselves available to hear and amplify their stories. We can be witnesses to what God is up to in the world, even when times are tough.

Total time: 50 minutes

NEEDED RESOURCES:

  • Paper
  • Craft/art supplies for creating a portrait
  • Bible
  • Painters’ tape; a long rope to mark boundaries

In This Series...


Easter Sunday, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Second Sunday of Easter, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Third Sunday of Easter, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Seventh Sunday of Easter, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes

Colors


  • Gold
  • White

In This Series...


Easter Sunday, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Second Sunday of Easter, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Third Sunday of Easter, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Seventh Sunday of Easter, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes