Youth Sunday School
Feasting On The Word
Feasting on the Word provides opportunities for youth to explore
their personal and communal identity in Jesus Christ. Students will learn to approach God’s word in each lesson using the following:
- What is Important to know?
- Where is God in these words?
- So what does this mean in our lives?
- Now what is God’s word leading us to do?
Biblical stories will come alive in new and creative ways. In response to God’s amazing, unconditional love, youth will be challenged to put their faith into action as they grow to understand themselves as Christ’s disciples. Each session includes a media connection section that ties the week’s Scripture passage to a film, song, or Web site.
There are laws in all 50 states that are a bit “crazy” in today’s terms for a number of reasons. Some laws that may have been appropriate 100 years ago may have just fallen through the cracks, therefore they’re still on the books and seem pretty funny to us now.
Read Some of these Laws from several States
Why do you think some of the laws were needed?
What are some Laws that you know that Govern Daily Life?
Is it right to disobey laws that seem silly or ones that you don’t agree with? Why or why not?
O God, we thank you for your presence in our lives—for our friends, our family, and for the members of this group and this church. May we feel the power of your Spirit leading us this day. Amen
SETTING THE STAGE
The Pharisees were religious leaders in Jesus’ time and they were experts in religious law. The word Pharisee comes from a Hebrew word that means “separated.” They followed the religious laws so carefully that their way of life seemed separate from the life that most people were able to live.
In this week’s reading from the Gospel of Mark, some of the religious leaders ask Jesus a tricky question about divorce, trying to find out where he stood.
The Roman ruler at that time, Herod, had divorced his wife to marry another and John had just been killed for speaking out against Herod’s divorce. Jesus’ answer to the Pharisees’ question could have put his life in danger too.
New International Version
2 Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”
3 “What did Moses command you?” he replied.
4 They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.”
5 “It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,” Jesus replied. 6 “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’[a] 7 ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,[b] 8 and the two will become one flesh.’[c] So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
10 When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. 11 He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. 12 And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.”
The Little Children and Jesus
13 People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16 And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.
Look at Mark 10:2–12.
How does Jesus first respond to the Pharisees’ question?
What did Moses say about divorce?
Look at Mark 13–16.
Why do you think the parents wanted Jesus to bless their children?
Why do you think the disciples acted as they did?
Children can be the most vulnerable in society, then and now, especially when marriages are broken apart.
What does Jesus say about God’s kingdom in his actions?
How were marriage and divorce during Jesus’ time different from our time?
The gospel reading today begins with a discussion about divorce and ends with a story about welcoming with love. Read aloud the quotation at the bottom of the sheet above.
Another way of saying this is that sometimes it is more important to be kind and fair than it is to be right.
THINK ABOUT IT
What guidelines do you think Jesus might give us for our relationships today?
A Pledge from God
Go out into your week knowing that wherever you go, God is there with you. Go out into your week, knowing that you are a child of God and no matter what happens, God loves you.
WHO OR WHAT INFLUENCES YOUR DECISIONS?
ARE MATERIAL THINGS IMPORTANT?
ARE WEALTH AND POSSESSIONS IMPORTANT?
DO PERSONAL WEALTH AND POSSESSIONS GET IN THE WAY OF LIFE GOD’S KINGDOM?
DO YOU HOLD ON TO MATERIAL THINGS THAT KEEP US FROM FULLY FOLLOWING GOD?
TRUE OR FALSE
It is a sin to be rich.
God provides everything we have.
We can spend our money on whatever we want.
Riches are always a sign God is pleased with someone.
It is hard to be rich and still please God.
Prayer: O God, help us to be aware of your presence with us today as we consider what is of true value and some of the challenges of living in your way. Amen.
Mark 10: 17 – 31
The Rich and the Kingdom of God
17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’[a]”
20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is[b] to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
26 The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”
27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
28 Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!”
29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.
Review: Read verses 17 – 22
What does the man ask for? How does Jesus first respond? What else does Jesus ask of the man?
Jesus was asking the man to let go of his dependence on money and his possessions.
What do you think the man might have been expecting? What made Jesus’ request so surprising?
(Note: in Jesus’ time, people who were rich had enough money and time to follow the religious laws, or commandments, very carefully. These commandments guided the way people lived their daily lives—for example, keeping clean, paying attention to what they ate, praying, or offering the right sacrifices at the temple. Rich people could even hire other people to do some of the tasks whenever they weren’t able to do these themselves.)
Review: verses 23 – 27
Is Wealth a Sign of Approval from God?
(Note: Most people at that time thought that the richer a person was, the better, more powerful, and more righteous he or she was.)
Why do you think Jesus said it is harder for rich people to live in God’s way?
Review: verses 28 – 31
What do you think Peter is trying to tell Jesus?
If wealth can’t guarantee a place in heaven, what does Jesus say can?
What do you think it means to say “the last will be first” (v. 31)
They Gave It All Away
(Take time to participate in at least one of the following activities)
ACTIVITY ABOUT YOUR POSSESSIONS
Make a list of a few things that you value
(Including both material possessions i.e. cellphone, PlayStation, sneakers and things like status or skills i.e. good health, respect, peace).
Spend a few moments thinking about why you value these things and what would be hard about giving them up?
Which of these items would Jesus consider the most valuable? Think about ways to alter your relationship with your belongings that would reflect Jesus’ teaching in the story.
Challenge yourself to make one change in your life.
SERVICE PROJECT ACTIVITY
OCTOBER 16TH – WORLD FOOD DAY
As we focus on and think about our own possessions, our faith encourages us to reach out to the needs in the world around us.
October 16th is “World Food Day” where we recognize those who struggle with hunger.
Think about and participate in your own discipleship project, such as inviting other church youth or other friends to join you in a “fast” from fast food for a week or make a pledge to support a local food banks or your church foodbank project.
GUIDED MEDITATION ACTIVITY
Sit with quietly and read this guided meditation slowly, with frequent pauses:
Breathe deeply and relax . . . feel your body becoming quiet . . . Imagine that you are in one of your favorite places . . . How does that feel? . . . Now imagine that Jesus is sitting beside you . . . He is asking you to let go of something that can make it possible to be a better disciple . . . What might you be able to let go of so you can follow Jesus? . . . Will that be easy or hard? . . . Why? . . . Spend a few more minutes, breathing deeply and thinking about letting go and following the way of Jesus.
SERVICE TO OTHERS
Who does your church provide service to?
Who do you give help or service to?
Who in your church could benefit from your services or help?
What kind of services can you or your youth group provide to your church members?
Prayer: O God, may the grace of your love bless this community of young people as they explore Jesus’ call to servanthood. Amen
In this week’s Scripture reading some of Jesus’ disciples John and James ask him for a special place of honor.
The Request of James and John
35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”
36 “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
37 They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”
38 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”
39 “We can,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with,
40 but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”
41 When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John.
42 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.
43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,
44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.
45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Who are people who you think are great? Either in your local community or nationally?
Why do you think they are great?
ROLEPLAY OF SCRIPTURE: MARK 10: 35 – 45
Have 3 participants roleplay Jesus, James and John and read their lines for verses 35 – 40
James and John – Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask
Jesus – What do you want me to do for you?
James and John – “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”
Jesus – “You don’t know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”
James and John – “We can”
Jesus – “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”
What do you think was the reason behind the request from James and John?
(Note: One of the most important values in Middle Eastern culture is family or clan honor. It defines a person’s identity and place in the community. Family honor is to be defended at all cost. In Jesus’ time, a lot of behavior revolved around honor and honorable people were good people.)
What is Jesus’ response to the brothers’ request?
(Note: In biblical times “cup” was sometimes a symbol for suffering, as in Jesus praying that God would “take this cup away” from him on the night before he was killed.)
Review: Mark 10:41–45
How do the other disciples respond when they hear about the brothers’ request?
In your own words, describe how did Jesus defined greatness?
THINK OF AND SHARE EXAMPLES OF PEOPLE IN YOUR CHURCH AND IN YOUR COMMUNITY WHO DEMONSTRATE GREATNESS THROUGH SERVICE.
Now, what have you learned about what it means to be a follower of Jesus?
(Please review the 3 activities and perhaps choose one)
(Note: Plan carefully and thoughtfully due to the Pandemic)
Consider living out the implications of Jesus’ teaching about greatness by a group of youth engaging in a service project. Find out the names of people in the congregation who could benefit from some SAFE (with mask) outdoor services the group could perform such as raking leaves or car washing or the group could participate in, in some way, the ministry work that the church is involved in such as Habitat for Humanity. Plan how you would SAFELY (with masks) carry out this these projects. Alternatively, plan an activity that could be offered to the church, such as church grounds or community grounds cleanup.
This famous prayer first appeared in the early 1900s. While St. Francis of Assisi, who died in 1226, certainly didn’t write it, it represents his spirit of simplicity and poverty. Mother Teresa made it part of the morning prayers at the place where she worked in India.
How does this prayer reflect Jesus’ emphasis on serving and giving rather than receiving?
Invite each participant to review each line of the prayer and identify something they could do as followers of Jesus that reflects one line.
Peace Prize Project
Consider those living out the implications of Jesus’ teaching about greatness and recognize those who exhibit Christian servanthood in our church.
Invite youth to think of people in their church and community who are kind, go out of their way to help others, and do things to care for others
HOW HAVE WE DONE THIS IN OUR CHURCH?
One way has been through “Black History on Your Pew”
Read the Peace Prayer from the Resource Sheet together and out load
Listen to one of the three musical video adaptations of the prayer of St. Francis.
What Does Your Inner Voice Tell you that you want out of LIFE?
Your voice will be heard, and you have important things to offer when you “follow Jesus along the way”.
One of the themes in today’s Scripture reading is that of seeing again and a faith that can transform life.
O God, you call us to have faith and to be open to seeing in the way of Christ. We ask that our eyes may be open to see you more clearly and love you more deeply.
New International Version
Blind Bartimaeus Receives His Sight
46 Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”
So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” 50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.
51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.
The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
Let’s Talk About It
Why do you think Jesus asked a blind man what he could do for him? Would you have said it was obvious?
How does Jesus respond to Bartimaeus’s request?
What do you think Jesus saw in Bartimaeus, because Jesus said to him “Go, your faith has healed you”?
The story of Bartimaeus ends by telling us that Bartimaeus leaves his cloak (which beggars spread on the ground to receive the money) behind and follows Jesus “on the way.”
What does this tell you about FAITH and following Jesus “along the way”?
How would you answer the first question in the song (Did you ever get something in your head that you never said or read, but somehow you know is true)?
Where might you see Jesus in disguise around you if your eyes were truly opened?
What do you think Bartimaeus saw in Jesus before and after his healing, because Bartimaeus laid his cloak down and followed Jesus?
USE THE FOLLOWING Guide TO ANSWER THE QUESTIONS ABOVE
Do You Want to See??
Faithful God, you ask us to open our eyes to really see ourselves, to really see others, to really see new ways of living faithfully.
WHAT WOULD YOU CHOOSE?
Was it easy or hard to make a choice between each pair of items? Why or Why Not?
In this week’s Scripture reading two women face a challenging choice.
**The book of Ruth is a little book in the Bible and is like a short story. The characters are interesting, it has a surprising plot, and there is a happy ending. This story holds an important place in the history of the Jewish people. It is a story about events that happened before David became the greatest king of Israel (about 3,000 years ago).
O God, we give thanks for your presence in our lives, wherever we go and whatever we will face. We ask for your help in the choices and decisions of our lives. Amen
Naomi Loses Her Husband and Sons
1 In the days when the judges ruled,[a] there was a famine in the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. 2 The man’s name was Elimelek, his wife’s name was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there.
3 Now Elimelek, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. 4 They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, 5 both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.
Naomi and Ruth Return to Bethlehem
6 When Naomi heard in Moab that the Lord had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, she and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there. 7 With her two daughters-in-law she left the place where she had been living and set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah.
8 Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the Lord show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me. 9 May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.” Then she kissed them goodbye and they wept aloud 10 and said to her, “We will go back with you to your people.”
11 But Naomi said, “Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands? 12 Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me—even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons— 13 would you wait until they grew up? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord’s hand has turned against me!”
14 At this they wept aloud again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung to her.
15 “Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.”
16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” 18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.
In the story of this family that we read today; many decisions needed to be made in response to their changing life situations.
Why do you think Ruth chose to go with Naomi?
What might have been the hardest part of that decision?
Why do you think Orpah decided to stay?
What might have been the hardest part of that decision?
***Ruth would be leaving her home country and everything that was familiar to go with Naomi back to her land. The name Ruth means “friend” or “companion.”
In what ways was Ruth a friend and companion for Naomi?
Pirates of the Carribbean: The CURSE of the Black Pearl
What choices are being made in this scene?
What is the reason for each person’s choice?
How are these choices right for each of them?
What do we learn about making choices from this scene?
HOW CAN YOU MAKE YOUR CHOICES AND DECISIONS?
Think about the people in your own lives who have accompanied you through childhood and your teenage years. Reflect for a few moments on the phrase “Where you go,
I will go” from Ruth’s promise and imagine that GOD is saying these words to YOU.
REMEMBER THIS ALWAYS
Go out into the world, knowing that GOD goes with YOU.
Go out into the world, knowing that GOD will guide YOU as YOU make choices.
Go out into the world, knowing that GOD’S steadfast LOVE is always with YOU.