devozine

For Youth Workers Post

THE POET IN YOU

Craig Mitchell

“In the Habit” session for use with devozine meditations for August 1–7, 2016.

STUFF YOU WILL NEED

  • Bibles
  • copies of devozine
  • copies of the closing prayer (in “Sharing in Prayer”)
  • pens
  • paper

CHECKING IN

Talk together about the following questions. It will help the conversation if you think ahead of time about what you would like to say.
       Think back over the summer or at least the last week. What moments stand out for you?
       When did you feel excited? When were you frustrated?
       What surprised you? What annoyed you?
       What brought you joy? What caused you sorrow?
       When did you see God?

EXPLORING THE WORD

Scripture: John 1:10–14

Read aloud John 1:10-14. Then read this poem:

     God is a poet,
          in case you didn’t know it.
     We have God’s Word,
          but it needs to be heard.
     It may not always rhyme,
          but it’s always in time.
     It’s there for you,
          and it’s always true.

Gosh. Writing poetry is harder than I thought! Surely I can do better than that! How about this one?

     Roses are red,
     violets are blue,
     most poems rhyme,
     but this one doesn’t.

Maybe I’m not a poet. Or maybe I’m a poet and I don’t know it. Oophs. There I go, writing poetry again!

Well, what is poetry anyway? Some of it rhymes, and some of it doesn’t. Some of it is funny, and some isn’t. Poems can be long or short. Poems can be free or bought. Poetry can make you laugh or cry. Poems can be special; don’t ask me why.

What is common among all poems? They are all made up of words, and they all have an author. John’s Gospel tells us about the ultimate Word and the ultimate Author. Before the world was created, there was the Word: the Meaning, the Rhythm, the Wisdom, the Reason, the Link, the Beat.

To some people, the Word seemed out there somewhere—a force, impersonal, out of touch, out of sight, like the Laws of Physics or the Speed of Light. Real, but unreal.

But for others, the Word was whispered in our ears, breathed into our hearts, forming in our minds, moving in our limbs. A word so close it scared us. A word promising birth after pain, calm after the hurricane, bread for an empty stomach. Rest for the exhausted. Sight for the dark night. Party for the peasants. Rags for the rich. Friend for the lonely.

And this Word had an author, a poet among poets. These words had heart and soul. They were hip-hop, dancing words. Healing after hurting. Not roses and violets, but thorns and violence. Cross to crown. Mourning to morning.

And the author was God. And the Word was Jesus. The poet and the poem. The singer and the song. The beat and the dance. And the dance goes on.
       Look over the passage from John again. How does it speak to your heart and soul?
       How are these words like a poem for you?
       How do you feel about the image of God as the poet and of Jesus as the words of the poem?
       Which of the poems from devozine this week connected with you? Why?
       Do you have a favorite poem? What does it say?
       Have you ever written poetry? Have you ever spoken poetry in a rap, in spoken word, or in some other form?

SHARING IN PRAYER

Invite people to read aloud some of the verses or entire poems from the meditations in devozine this week.

Then pray together this prayer:
    “Strong Word, gentle Word,
     comforting Word, disturbing Word,
     breaking Word, binding Word,
     hot Word, cool Word,
     Speak to us!
     Move us, shake us, fill us, remake us.
          Amen.”

Invite group members to write on paper one or two words that reflect their faith in God. The words can be about faith or doubt, courage or fear, strength or weakness. Spread these out on the floor, and invite group members to pray aloud using the words on the papers as a springboard. When everyone has offered a prayer, close by offering thanks for the gift of God’s Word revealed to us in scripture and in the life of Jesus Christ.

Close the session saying: God’s Word lives in us. We are part of God’s poetry for the world. What kind of word will you be this week?”

NEXT STEPS

This week, write a poem for your group members offering some words of encouragement to grow in faith and to become more like Christ.

—From “Poetry in Motion” by Craig Mitchell. devozine Guide for Mentors and Small Groups (November/December 2000). Copyright © 2000 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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