Direct Access | UMC YoungPeople
Connecting young people and their adult leaders to God, the church, and the world
November 2018

Direct Access

By Neal Bowes

In our scriptural text for Christ the King Sunday, Revelation 1:4b-8, John writes that we are being called to be a kingdom of priests serving God. That doesn’t mean that everybody needs to enter the priesthood–or even take a seminary class. Considering the context of the rest of the passage, John is probably referring to the special access the tabernacle priests had to God. Only they could ever enter the Holy of Holies–the inner sanctuary where the Ark of the Covenant was kept behind a curtain (Exodus 26:33, 40:21; Leviticus 16:2, 17). But when Jesus was crucified, the curtain separating the inner sanctuary from the people was torn in two (Matthew 27:51), signifying that anybody can approach God now.

We are incredibly blessed to have a direct line of communication with our Creator. To help you discuss this point, draw a couple of simple designs on a piece of paper. Maybe a house with a chimney with a curl of smoke coming out. Or, maybe a sailboat with some waves.

Have your group members sit on the floor, one in front of the other. Only allow the person in the back to see the drawing. The person in the front has a blank piece of paper and a marker. The person with the picture “draws” it on the back of the person in front of them with their finger. That person draws it on the next person’s back, and so on. At the front of the line, the first person eventually draws the picture on the paper. Then, compare the results to the original.

  • How did that go?
  • What made it difficult or frustrating?
  • How would it have been different if the person with the original could have drawn it directly on the back of the person making the copy? What if they could have corrected mistakes as they were being made?
  • In the days before Jesus, what do you suppose it was like needing somebody between you and God. What if you didn’t know them? How could you be sure they would get your request right?
  • What would you say about our ability to pray directly to God?
  • What keeps people from taking advantage of that?
  • Is it still OK to ask other people to pray for you?
  • What can this group pray about for you?
Neal has had the privilege of being in ministry with the youth at Jesse Lee for the last 15 years. He also works through the New York Annual Conference to train and support volunteer youth workers in local churches. He loves speaking at youth gatherings--group retreats or conference-wide events.