devozine

For Youth Workers Post

LONG LOST BFFs

Steven Lefebvre

“In the Habit” session for use with devozine meditations for June 27–30, 2016.

MAKING THE CONNECTION

     (watch video)

 

MEET THE WRITER

Steven LefebvreMy name is Steven Lefebvre. I work with the youth and young adults at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Nashville, Tennessee. Before my life of working at a church, I was the lead vocalist in a heavy metal band. These days, I spend my free time being an armchair film critic, reading comic books, and playing much quieter music (well, sort of). I’m also an amateur champion of darts and dodge ball. I’m a huge fan of going to baseball games in the summer and to college basketball games in the winter. I have a wife, two dogs, and a toddler!

STUFF YOU WILL NEED

  • chairs for everyone
  • a room big enough for everyone to sit in a circle of chairs
  • Print-Friendly Version of this session

PLUGGED IN

CHECKING IN

Invite group members to play Basilica on Fire. Place chairs in a circle large enough to run across. Have all but one person sit in a chair in the circle. The one person who doesn’t have a chair stands in the middle of the circle and states, “I have a friend who . . .” and fills in the blank with a description—for example, “I have a friend who is wearing jeans” or “I have a friend who was born in Idaho.” Then everyone who fits the description has to jump up and switch chairs. The last person standing begins the next round by calling out the next description of a friend. Play until everyone has had a chance in the center or until you run out of time.

EXPLORING THE WORD

Scripture: Mark 9:2–8

In the beginning, God created everything. Why? Presumably because God was lonesome. The master plan was to create a perfect universe in which everything from plants to animals to people to the weather lived in perfect harmony and we were all one with God. But it didn’t work out that way. On God’s way to hang out with his new best friends Adam and Eve, God sensed that something was wrong. They were hiding. Naturally, God was angry; but he was sad more than anything else. Sin and death entered into a perfect ecosystem; and from then on, God began the work of putting it all back together.

It hasn’t been easy. For some reason, we’ve been working against God. Think of the flood and the Tower of Babel. One time God came close to being with us again, through the actions of Moses. But when God asked him to look at his face, Moses was afraid. Word on the street is that to see the face of God means sure death, so he agreed to look only at God’s back. Even that inadvertent encounter left Moses glowing like he’d been exposed to plutonium. The Bible is chock-full of stories like this. The very presence of God on earth is startling, terrifying, and dreadful, which leads me to believe that we worship a lonesome God who is dying (literally) to be with us.

Fast forward to Jesus. God figures out a way for all of us to be together. God becomes human. For a while, Jesus minds his own business, learning the ways of the Jewish people, working his father’s craft, and living a fairly ordinary life. Then he assembles a rag-tag group of friends. He reveals to them his true self, but they don’t get it. He develops a special relationship with Peter, James, and John and shows them the whole truth. He takes them up on a mountain and is transfigured before them. Peter, James, and John are in the presence of God. Peter panics. Imagine God’s irritation by this point. After all these centuries, Operation: Redemption is finally coming into being; and Peter’s nervousness thwarts God’s initiative. God tries to save the moment. God cries out, “This is my son, listen to him!”

God risked breaking that thin thread that separated heaven and earth. God risked squashing his creation because Peter was standing on the brink of God’s climactic plan and he was going to miss it. The plan was simple: “This is my son, listen to him.”

God is like our long lost BFF and only asks that we listen because at the end of the plan is the greatest reunion this world has ever seen.

Discuss:
       What do you think of when you think about God’s plan?
       How does thinking of God’s plan as directions to a reunion change your perspective?
       How do you see God—with fear, shame, or guilt? Have you ever considered that God is just dying to hang out with us?
       How do we spend time with God? What are some methods for connecting with God?

SHARING IN PRAYER

Based on the last question, have everyone name his or her favorite way to connect with God. Have the group vote on the method they would like to practice to close the session. Then lead the group in prayer.

TAKING IT FURTHER

Write yourself a note as if you were God writing a love letter to you. Write to yourself something you’d write to a long lost friend whom you cannot wait to see again. Then, this week, keep the note in your pocket and remember that God is longing to be with you.

—from devozine In the Habit (May/June 2016). Copyright © 2016 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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