Season of Creation - Creation at Risk
Week 4: September 22 - Creation at Risk
Note to the Teacher
The key emphasis this week (for this lesson from Jeremiah 8) is that there may be times when people feel far from God through choices they have made or situations they are in. The ice breaker invites youth to play a fun game seeing if they can keep a cookie from falling to the ground. The discussion encourages students to reflect upon why it is that humanity may feel distant from God. The activity allows youth to be honest about sharing some of their hurts or sadness as well as an exercise to symbolize God’s care for them.
Times are based on a 50-minute lesson period, but can be adjusted.
Time Description of Activity
10 min. 1. Ice Breaker – Don’t Drop the Cookie!
Supplies: One “Oreo” sandwich type cookie for each student in your group, plus a good idea to have extras in case cookies fall to the floor.
Since our title for the lesson this week is Creation at Risk, each of you is going to get to try your own “risky” behavior. Give each student one cookie. Instruct them to stand up and place the cookie flat side down on their forehead and to lean slightly backward so it doesn’t fall to the ground. Their goal is to try to wiggle their face to slowly move the cookie from their forehead to their mouth. If they are successful they can eat the cookie.
Consider dividing your group in half so that half of them watch while the others try to get the cookie into their mouth. Then, allow the watchers to play.
5 min. 2. Read Scripture
Our Scripture reading today will focus on Jeremiah 8:18-9:1, which features the prophet Jeremiah and God interacting back and forth.
Read Jeremiah 8:18-9:1
15 min. 3. Discussion
- How would you describe the overall tone or mood of these verses?
- In verse 19 how are the people feeling about their connection to God?
- How does God respond in verse 19 for why they may feel far from God? (aroused God’s anger with idols)
- Verse 22 says “is there no balm in Gilead?” Explain that the territory of Gilead was an important source of spices and medicinal herbs. What did the people truly need to be healed? (restore their love for God and put away idols of false worship).
- What are some of the false idols that we are tempted to worship in modern society?
- In 9:1, how does Jeremiah respond emotionally to this situation? Do you think there are times when God “weeps” for humanity? If so, when?
- What do you think it takes to recover a connection to God?
20 Min. 4. Activity and Discussion – Everybody Hurts
Take this lesson to the next level by giving students the opportunity to think about and share times when they have felt hurt, then have a simple activity to represent God as healer. You can find this and all sorts of other lesson activities at the Youth Worker Collective.
Supplies: You will need a note card or piece of paper for each student, a pen or marker for each student, and a normal sized band-aid for each student.
Pass out a note-card and pen or marker to each student and share that every single person, no matter how they seem on the outside, sometime hurts, feels sad, or goes through struggles. Ask students to write down any hurts or sadness they currently may feel, or times in their life when they may have felt sad. Make sure to let them know that they will not be required to turn these cards in. Give students 5 minutes to write down their responses.
Let the students know that this is a safe space to share. Talk to them about. Confidentiality and that anything that is shared in the group needs to stay in the group. Ask if any students would be willing to share any times they have felt hurt or sad (carefully guide this time making sure it doesn’t turn into lot of long story-telling so everyone who wants to share gets a chance). If students are reluctant to share, don’t jump in and share yourself. Be silent. If the silence is long and awkward enough someone will likely speak up. Thank each student who shares for sharing.
Now give every student a Band-Aid, and ask them to write down a word or short phrase to remind them that God will never abandon them and can heal any hurts or sadness they may have experienced. After the student has written down a phrase, ask them to put the Band-Aid somewhere on their body as a sign of God’s presence and healing power. Ask the students who are willing to share what they wrote on their band-aids.
Final word – tell the group that if any of them are hurting right now or even sometime in the future that it is important to share that with their parents and/or appropriate leaders, and that you are open to helping to connect them to appropriate care and support if ever they may need it.
Close in the manner that is typical for you. Consider taking joys/concerns from the students, then asking for a volunteer to close in prayer.
- One “Oreo” style sandwich cookie for each student, plus some extra cookies
- A sheet of paper or notecard for each student
- A pen or marker for each student (not a pencil)
- A normal sized band-aid for each student