devozine

For Youth Workers Post

BE THE BLESSING

Darren Wright

“In the Habit” session for use with devozine meditations for October 19–25, 2015.

 

MAKING THE CONNECTION 

“One of the oldest stories in the Bible tells us that God blessed Abram so that he and his descendants would be blessings to others. The call for us is to continue to be people who are blessed to bless others; but more than that, we are invited to find out for ourselves that in blessing others we are blessed.” —Darren

 

MEET THE WRITER 

darrenDarren Wright is a Uniting Church Youth Worker serving in the Riverina Presbytery in New South Wales, Australia, as the Presbytery Education and Discipleship Worker. Darren has previously worked in congregational ministry, high school chaplaincy, and in local government as a youth worker. His interests include music (Radiohead, Ben Harper, The National, Of Monsters and Men, Ryan Adams, Laura Marling, All India Radio, Florence and The Machine), film (Avengers, MegaMind, Harry Potter, How to Train your Dragon, Scott Pilgrim, Big Hero 6), TV (Chuck, Doctor Who, Big Bang Theory, Community, Agents of SHIELD), theology, pop-culture, working with young people in at-risk areas, and the relationships among the church, theology, and pop culture.

 

STUFF YOU WILL NEED

  • Write on separate sheets of newsprint or poster board the quotations listed in “Checking In.” Display them in different parts of the room.
  • creative material
  • textas or markers
  • crayons
  • paper
  • computer
  • Print-Friendly Version of this session


PLUGGED IN

Random Acts of Kindness Links/Ideas:

 

CHECKING IN 

Create an inviting space with drinks, cookies, candles, cushions—you know the drill. Make the space comfortable. Welcome group members as they arrive.

Invite group members to read the quotations displayed on the walls of the room. Ask each person to choose the one that comes closest to his or her understanding of being blessed and to stand beside that quote. As others choose the same quotation, encourage them to discuss:
       Why did you choose this quotation?
       What does being blessed mean in your life?
       Who or what has blessed you?

Here are the quotations to display around the room:

  • “Blessings sometimes show up in unrecognizable disguises.” ―Janette Oke
  • “Family, friends and relationships are the blessings of the God. They are the best way to access God.” ―Amit Ray, Nonviolence: The Transforming Power
  • “Live your truth. Express your love. Share your enthusiasm. Take action towards your dreams. Walk your talk. Dance and sing to your music. Embrace your blessings. Make today worth remembering.” ―Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience
  • “Free yourself from the complexities and drama of your life. Simplify. Look within. Within ourselves we all have the gifts and talents we need to fulfill the purpose we’ve been blessed with.” ―Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free
  • “When you wish someone joy, you wish them peace, love, prosperity, happiness . . . all the good things.” ―Maya Angelou
  • The ripples of the kind heart are the highest blessings of the Universe.” ―Amit Ray, Yoga and Vipassana: An Integrated Life Style

 

EXPLORING THE WORD

Scripture: Genesis 12:1–3

Read aloud the scripture. Then invite discussion with these questions:
       What does it mean to be blessed?
       How could we be a blessing to others?
       How could our church community be a blessing to others?

Describe the idea behind “Random Acts of Kindness” by saying something like this: “Basically, a ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ program would set up a week, a fortnight, or a month in which a community is invited to find new and different ways to be a blessing to others. Exploring Random Acts of Kindness is a great way for us to understand the idea of being a blessing to others.”

Invite the group to create a “Random Acts of Kindness” program for their faith community, church, or group. Encourage them to look through the websites suggested in “Plugged In,” all of which are filled to the brim with great ideas.

Perhaps group members will choose a time during the year when they can participate in their own “Random Acts of Kindness” program. Perhaps they will want to create promotional material, to draft a list of ideas for people, and to create an invitation for the church community to participate.

If you think a larger event involving your church community is a bit too difficult, group members may prefer to discuss ways in which each person can be a blessing to others in the community or in the world.

 

SHARING IN PRAYER 

“Images of Blessing,” a particular way to practice prayer, comes from the book Downtime: Helping Teenagers to Pray, by Mark Yaconelli. This book explores contemplative prayer with young people and provides the reader with a little theory and a long list of practical resources and ideas. Invite your group to practice “Images of Blessing,” using the instructions from the book or this paraphrased description:

When you pray for another person, sometimes it helps to picture that person in your mind. Close your eyes, and picture the face of someone who is in need of prayer—a friend, a person who is sick or in pain, a group of people such as troops in combat or victims of a natural disaster, a person you don’t like, or an enemy. If you are feeling down about yourself, you may picture yourself as a person in need of prayer or compassion. Once you have chosen for whom you will pray, imagine the person or group being surrounded by God’s light. Then in silence, imagine the person or people being healed and blessed by God’s love and light. After a few moments, speak to God whatever words come to your mind.

Another way to practice this form of prayer is remember everyone who have encountered during the day, as Teresa of Avila did in her nightly prayers. As she pictured each person, she would imagine placing her hand on the person’s head and offering a blessing. At night, before you go to sleep, go back through your day picturing everyone you have met. Imagine blessing each of them, even strangers, with a touch or a hug. Then think about how you feel as you pray this way for others and how you feel about each of them as you finish your prayer. Be sure to notice if you begin to treat these people differently after blessing them in prayer.

 

TAKING IT FURTHER

Encourage group members to create the “Random Acts of Kindness” program and to run it with the entire community. Be sure group members debrief after having participated in it, discussing their experiences of being a blessing to others. Was being a blessing hard? fun? beautiful? difficult?

 

—from devozine In the Habit (September/October 2015). Copyright © 2015 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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