June 2024


In Sorrow and in Rejoicing

Open Your Heart

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B

As we enter this three-week stretch focusing on Paul’s second letter to the church in Corinth, we also focus on what I think is one of the key questions of Ordinary Time; namely, how do we live our faith day after day after day?

Note to the Teacher

The Bible passage today follows Jesus as he is approached by a crowd, requested to heal a young girl, and is touched by the bleeding woman. The discussion and activities are centered on interruptions, patient love, and grace.

Ice Breaker: Crowd Buster- Social Distance Edition

In-Person: Each participant is given a pool noodle (if you don’t have enough for all participants, you may break up into groups that take turns) and is instructed to stand at least a pool-noodle length away from the next person.

The leader calls out a question (listed below), and each person in the group attempts to find someone with the same favorite item. When a player locates another player with the same preference, the players can join together by holding the ends of the pool noodle and searching for others who might have the same answer to join their group.

After a period of time, the leader stops the game. If there are two people or groups that have the same answer but are not linked together, then they are eliminated from that round.


  • Favorite color
  • Favorite sport
  • Favorite game
  • Favorite ice cream flavor
  • Favorite weather
  • Favorite breakfast food
  • Favorite class in school
  • Favorite pizza topping
  • Favorite fruit/vegetable

Virtual adaptation:

Option 1: Participants must turn sound off and communicate through chat only (allow a very small amount of time, especially with smaller groups). Groups show their identification by choosing the same reaction (Heart, Thumbs up, Surprised face, etc.).

Option 2: Participants turn off the video, cannot use chat, and must communicate through mic only. Same option to show group affiliation by choosing the same reaction. Hosts will likely need to mute all to regain order after each round.


How difficult was it to find others with the same answer? Did you find any tricks or tips to make that process easier? In our scripture today, we have a story filled with interruptions.

Bible Reading

Mark 5:21-43

Say something like: This seems to be a story of interruptions. Let’s read the passage at least twice and listen for the needs of each person in the passage (Jesus, Jairus, Jairus’ daughter, the bleeding woman, the large crowd, the disciples). Which set of needs sticks out to you the most?

Have you ever found yourself frustrated at interruptions and chaos when you are trying to get something really important done? Have you ever needed something from someone else, but that person seemed too busy to stop and help you?”


Do you remember what it felt like to be surrounded by a crowd? Where and when? (Black Friday shopping; large retailer on a weekend; passing periods at school; theaters; sporting events, public transportation; marches; demonstrations, festivals; etc.)

We might feel as if we’ve been living in “interrupted time” since COVID-19 upset so many normal rhythms of life. What do you feel has been interrupted for you over the past twelve months?

What feelings can you recall from those experiences? Are there continued or new interruptions that worry you right now?

Say something like: We have all faced so many interruptions throughout this year, it might be helpful to explore Jesus’ response. Jesus is a popular and busy person. The passage begins as Jesus is swarmed with people following him, and you can imagine they are either there to ask for something or to try and witness what will happen. Either way, they are all trying to get close to him. Jairus steps forward and pleads for Jesus to come and heal his daughter. While on his way, Jesus is interrupted by a touch; someone has reached out for healing while he was on his way to heal someone else.

What is the disciples’ response when Jesus asks who touched him? (Ask for their literal response, but also what they may have felt. This is a point in the gospel stories where Jesus’ popularity is making some travel difficult and raising the ire of priests and local leaders.)

Jesus looked around carefully to see who had touched him. Why do you think he was so determined to figure out who had touched him?

Jesus doesn’t let go of the opportunity to heal this bleeding woman who reached out to him. Why do you think out of this whole crowd, this particular woman was so desperate for healing?

How did each person’s needs (that we tried to list earlier) get met by the end of the passage? Was anyone left with needs unfulfilled?

Say something like: Jesus has both the time and the power to heal the bleeding woman and the young girl. When we experience interruptions, we can hold on to the same words Jesus shares with Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just keep trusting.” Our immediate needs may not be met the way we think they should be. And that’s okay – we can continue to be faithful and look for opportunities to put ourselves and others on the same path that Jesus walks. Being anywhere along that path, we can witness miracles.

Activity: Actions and Abilities Game

This activity will feel chaotic, on purpose, and works best in groups of less than ten. Each participant will perform their “ability” as soon as they hear the prompt to perform their ability. The prompts will come up naturally because you will call on youth to answer a prompt aloud. To add to the fun, participants must remember to perform their own abilities even when they are answering a prompt.

You can organize as many rounds as you like. Encourage youth to answer their prompt clearly with good volume, because as other youth perform their abilities, things could get loud.

Assign each participant an ability, examples are listed below.

Arrange students into a seated circle if meeting in person.

Call on participants to answer a prompt. All other students listen to the prompt and do their assigned action if the speaker says or does something to trigger their action.

The participants do their actions while the speaker attempts to complete their prompt. Allow no more than 60 seconds per prompt answer.

Each person must complete the ability, no matter what else is happening in the room.

If you want to increase the difficulty, invite multiple students to answer different prompts at the same time. Or, assign participants multiple abilities to perform simultaneously.


  • When someone names a food, give them a round of applause.
  • When someone stands up, shout the name of a pizza topping.
  • When someone mentions an animal, make the noise of that animal.
  • When someone claps hands, take a bow.
  • When someone makes an animal noise, shout the name of a lunch meat.
  • When someone says the name of a food, stand up.
  • When someone stands up, shout the name of a cartoon character.
  • When someone claps hands, meow like a cat.
  • When someone bows, stand up.
  • When someone names a cartoon character, clap your hands and say, “Now, class.”


  • You are a waiter, describe tonight’s specials.
  • Describe your favorite breakfast cereal and its mascot.
  • Tell why dogs are better than cats.
  • You are a politician; tell everyone why they should vote for you.
  • Describe the perfect sandwich.
  • You are a preschool teacher; tell a made-up story to everyone.
  • Recite part of a nursery rhyme.
  • You are an inventor; describe your invention and why everyone should buy it.
  • Describe your favorite cartoon and what characters are in it.
  • You are a superhero; tell everyone what your name is and your superpower.

Virtual: Assign each ability as above, although it may be helpful to add a short recap in the chat bar (i.e., Percy bows when someone stands up).
You can choose to assign the actions out loud or send them in the chat as well.

If you have an extra leader, it would be helpful to work together to keep an eye/ear out for students to complete their abilities throughout each round.

If the actions of taking a bow or standing up are too difficult to track virtually, you may substitute them for using a reaction or typing a specific phrase in the chat.

Wrap Up:

  • What was the most difficult part of this activity?
  • What did you find the easiest?
  • Did any strategies help you remain focused?
  • Did you have more fun trying to complete your tasks or interrupting others while they tried to complete theirs? Why?

Say something like: We all face interruptions – small interruptions to our day and large interruptions to our overall goals and plans for life. I hope we’ve seen that Jesus shows us that there is no person outside his notice, no task that exceeds the need to care for others. Jesus offers grace in a chaotic and inopportune time.

What do you have upcoming this week that you expect might call for grace?

Close your time together in a manner that is typical for you. Consider taking joys and concerns, then asking for a volunteer to close in prayer.

Needed Resources:

  • Bible
  • In-person: Enough pool noodles for each participant. If you do not have enough, consider breaking the group into teams to take turns.
  • Virtual: Paper and pen to write keep track of your ability(s).

In This Series...

Pentecost, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Trinity Sunday, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Second Sunday after Pentecost, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Third Sunday after Pentecost, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Fifth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes