devozine

For Youth Workers Post

RADICAL LOVE

Darren Wright

“In the Habit” session for devozine meditations for April 14–20, 2014.

MAKING THE CONNECTION

“I’ll be honest. I don’t think there’s such a thing as radical love. There’s ordinary love or nothing.

“When Paul writes in 1 Corinthians of clanging cymbals, the songs of angels, prophecy, knowledge, and sacrifice, he doesn’t say, ‘If I don’t have radical love, I have nothing.’

“Is the feeling of loving another person, as fleeting and fun as it may be, what Paul is speaking about?

“Why do our youth ministries and our churches sound a lot like clanging bells and noisy gongs?

“Do we read, ‘And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is radical love’?

 “Perhaps we need to reclaim plain old ordinary love; the ordinary stuff will be enough to set us free.” —Darren

 

MEET THE WRITER

Darren WrightDarren Wright is a Uniting Church Youth Worker, serving in the Riverina Presbytery in New South Wales, Australia, as the Presbytery Youth and Children’s Ministry Worker. Darren has previously been a youth worker in congregational ministry, high school chaplaincy, and local government. He has also been a petrol station attendant, supermarket employee, dairy manager, and furniture sales person. His interests include music (Moby, Radiohead, Ben Harper, The National, Muse, All India Radio), film (MegaMind, Harry Potter, How to Train your Dragon, Scott Pilgrim), TV (Chuck, Doctor Who, Big Bang Theory, Community), theology, pop-culture, and working with young people who are at risk. He is particularly interested in how the church and theology connect with pop culture. Check out Darren’s youth ministry blog.

 

STUFF YOU WILL NEED

  • decorations, flowers, petals, candles
  • matches
  • paper hearts, large enough to write on. The number depends on the size of your group: 5 people=25 hearts, 6 = 36 hearts, 7 = 49 hearts, 8 = 64 hearts
  • pens
  • a computer, iPod, tablet, or CD player to play songs
  • Bibles
  • a computer with Internet access to play video clips
  • Print-Friendly Version of this session

 

PLUGGED IN

If you want to develop this session in other ways, here are a few resources that may be of help.

Music
These songs play with the theme at hand (make sure you listen to a song before you choose to use it):

Book

  • What Is This Thing Called Love? by Davide Cali, illustrated by Anna Laura Cantone (Wilkins Farago Pty Ltd, 2011) is a picture book about the meaning of love.

 

CHECKING IN

Before the session, get in touch with your group members. Ask them to think of their five favorite love songs or songs about love and to bring them to the meeting. (Or ask them to send you the titles so that you can bring them.)

Light a candle in the center of the room. Fill the room with heart cutouts, flowers, romance novels (I know you’ll have some), and DVDs of cheesy romantic comedies. Have some love songs playing in the background. Perhaps you could provide heart-shaped cakes or cookies.

Invite group members to make themselves comfortable, if that’s possible in a room filled with hearts and flowers.

Ask each person to choose one song he or she has brought to the meeting. Ask why he or she chose the song, and then play the song. In a large group, play a few songs at random.

After group members listen to each song, invite them to write on the paper hearts what the song teaches about love. Then gather the hearts to use later in the session.

 

EXPLORING THE WORD

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13

Invite one or more volunteers to read aloud 1 Corinthians 13.

At the end of the reading, play the song “Love is the Law,” by Paul Kelly. Then invite people to reflect quietly on the scripture reading.

After a few minutes, invite discussion:
       How do the songs we have heard compare to the scripture? In what ways are they similar? How do they fall short? In what ways does their meaning exceed that of the scripture?
       What words or actions would you use to describe love?
       Is there such a thing as radical love? Is ordinary love enough? Why? Why not?
       In what ways do we struggle to live lives of love? How can we help one another live lives of love?
       What does living a life of love look like for us as individuals? as a group? as a church?

Perhaps you’d like to write on a larger heart some of the discussion points.

 

SHARING IN PRAYER

Invite group members to sit in a circle. Light a candle, and place it in the center.

Give each person a few of the paper hearts you collected earlier. Ask each person in turn to read aloud the description written on one of the hearts and then to do one of the following: (1) to place the heart near the candle, asking God to help him or her express the kind of love described on the heart OR (2) to rip up the heart and place the pieces by the candle, asking God to help him or her be able to express love that is different or better than the love described on the heart.

When everyone has had a turn, invite group members to spend some time in silent reflection, considering how they will live ordinary love this week.

Conclude the time of silence and the session by playing the audio (and the video if possible) of U2’s “Ordinary Love.”

 

TAKING IT FURTHER

  • Take one of the ideas the group members have about what a life of love looks like. Invite the group to work together to embrace a life of love in their group.
  • You might also listen to the podcast of “Psalm 45,” with Nadia Bolz-Weber, from the The Emergent Psalter, by Isaac Everett.

—from devozine In the Habit (March/April 2014). Copyright © 2014 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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