Note to the Teacher
The scripture today is Mark’s account of Jesus calming the storm. The focus is on the doubts and fear that can overwhelm us in moments of the storms of our lives. The discussion and activities center on examining Jesus’ deeply caring nature, the hope he gives us, and how we can spread hope to others.
Ice Breaker: Weather Report
Take turns asking weather-related questions to group participants. Example questions:
- The coldest temperature you’ve experienced
- The closest you’ve been to a tornado or hurricane
- The deepest snowfall you’ve seen
- The hottest temperature you’ve experienced
- The strangest weather you’ve experienced.
If you had to describe your life at this moment in terms of the weather, how would you explain it and why? (Examples: Tsunami, because I’m getting overwhelmed with stuff; partly sunny, because I have more good days than bad; thunderstorm, because I just want to shelter in one place; overcast, foggy, etc.)
Say something like: In our scripture today, we find Jesus and his disciples in the midst their own weather-related event.
You may direct your students to listen to how the disciples approached Jesus during the storm. How is this like/unlike how we feel during the literal storms that we experience?
What are some of the figurative storms you’ve had in your life? Times where things have felt chaotic, unsettled, and made you feel afraid or uncomfortable? (Uncertainty, pandemic, injustice, illness or death of a loved one, etc.?)
The disciples wake Jesus up with a question (verse 38). Picture yourself asking this question to Jesus in the middle of a storm in your life. Have you ever felt far from God or so afraid or alone that it seems like nobody cares if you get swallowed up? (Modify this question if you think this may be too deep or triggering for your youth.)
Why do you think people often ask questions like, “why, why me, why now, why them, God why can’t you stop it” in the middle of storms that affect our lives?
Say something like: Do you wonder if any of the disciples thought to ask for help? I mean, they literally had Jesus in the boat, and not one of those followers thought to ask, “Jesus, can you help us? Can you tell us what to do, Jesus? Do you know how to save us?” Instead, the disciples jumped straight to “Don’t you even care?”
Spoiler alert: Jesus cares. God cares. We aren’t meant to live in fear. We are meant to have faith in God and our friends to help us navigate the inevitable storms of life.
Ask the youth: “Since you know more of Jesus’ life story, can we name together some of the ways Jesus cared for others?” (Welcoming children, healing multitudes, resurrecting Lazarus, standing up for the marginalized, talking with the woman at the well, saving the adulterous woman, and on and on.)
Say something like: Understandably, the disciples were filled with fear and thought only of their own lives. Their fear might have made them forget who was in the boat with them. Jesus rises and rebukes (yells at with force) the wind and the waves instead of yelling at his disciples for waking him up. In verse 40, do you think Jesus was reprimanding his disciples for being faithless and fearful? Was Jesus feeling upset, or do you think he was asking that question out of genuine concern? (Or maybe, was he making light of the situation by saying it with a tone that implied, “Guys, remember . . . it’s me, Jesus. I got this.”
(Take time to invite answers. It’s also pretty comical that Jesus says, “Be quiet. Be still. Why are you even afraid?” and then in verse 41, the disciples remain terrified.)
Say something like: Jesus understands fear and doubt. Jesus experiences those feelings as a person during his time on Earth. The storms in our personal journeys can be distractions, and there will be storms. We don’t get to avoid them and sail through life on rainbows and sunshine. Storms can be painful, scary, and sometimes devastating, but this story reminds us that there is hope. When storms distract us, we can easily confuse ourselves in fear and forget that there are others with us to help us weather the storm. Jesus is always there, and he cares. He cares not just that we listen to him or obey him like the storm does. Jesus cares enough to be with us through the storm, no matter what. As we try and live a life like Jesus, acting like disciples, we should also be able to rely on our brothers and sisters in the storms of life as well.
Listed below is a compilation of in-person and at-home virtual service opportunities. Many are low preparation and, in some cases, are as simple as filling out an online form. Choose one or two or perhaps start a calendar with students to determine which projects your group would like to sponsor together.
- Visit a playground to clean up; maybe even leave encouraging postcards around for people to find on community boards.
- Collect food for your local food pantry, YMCA, or homeless shelter, or donate time.
- Organize a blood drive.
- Decorate and send cards to hospitalized children. Additionally, click here for more information.
- Learn and create origami to raise money for clean water around the world.
- Decorate items or make care packages for Meals on Wheels (many opportunities listed).
- Or Kids Meals Opportunities to decorate lunch bags or help with deliveries.
- Create birthday boxes, hygiene kits and luggage, or superhero boxes for kids in foster care.
- Click here for resources with many suggestions and ideas visit.
- Send a virtual postcard to a local hospital, retirement center, or shut-in (many hospitals and rehabilitation facilities have an online form for this).
- How did you feel looking for opportunities to show others that you care?
- How did you feel after you completed the service project?
- How do you think our project offered hope?
- How can we continue to work to spread hope to others who are weathering storms?
Say something like: Jesus cared for others in rich and tangible ways. Sometimes one of the best ways we can weather the storms in our life is to lean into our ability to care for others and be cared for ourselves. When we are overcome with fear and only look inward, we quickly lose perspective and hope. What will you do this week to keep your own hope alive?
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.
- Materials for chosen service project(s)
- Calendar for planning future projects.