Prayerfully Read Mark 2:1-12
For more background on Activity 2, watch this 7 min video: https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzV2No1JaOk
No specific set-up is prescribed for this session, but participants should be able to sit comfortably and read text from a handout. Participants can be seated in a circle or in rows. Lighting should be managed so that it is bright enough for participants to see well when necessary.
Participants will learn that hospitality is not just about welcoming close friends and family, but actually creating space in their lives to encounter even a stranger in hopes of meeting Christ. To live the Christian life is to live a life that invites others into our lives to receive acceptance, grace, and love.
In this session participants will explore what hospitality really is in light of the revelation of God and how they are currently experiencing hospitality in their own life. Participants will learn that the true basis of human hospitality, is the hospitality we receive from God in Christ.
Read: Pohl, Christine D. Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition. W.B. Eerdmans, 1999.
Watch: Kenda Creasy Dean & Justin Forbes: “Trace my Hand: Joy and Belonging in Youth Ministry” from Yale Youth Ministry Initiative: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tB0B4PI5IR0
It may seem odd to have a Bible study on the themes of hospitality and welcome, but this is actually what we see accomplished in the person and work of Jesus Christ. It was the welcoming hospitality of God on display in Jesus that has brought us, dead in our sin, to the side of Jesus alive as brother and sister, son and daughter. According to Paul, we were once enemies of God, but God has brought us near! This has become for us part of what it means to bear witness to the gospel. We are to be ambassadors of this sort of welcome and hospitality practicing this in every arena of life. For our young people whom we love and hope to walk with- it is important to help them imagine what this means in their own lives. The goal of this lesson is to create space for them to creatively express their imagination, especially when it comes to contextualizing the practice of hospitality in their own life, and specifically, in your youth group.
This lesson begins by exploring the lives of our young people and searching for experiences of feeling welcome and/or unwelcome. The goal here is to get their minds turning through the implicit ways in which they have experienced this themselves and then either offer or withhold welcome from others. Next they will walk through the steps of Volf’s “Drama of Embrace” which lays out concrete 1 steps towards reconciliation between two individuals. Our hope with this exercise is that you will be able to draw out the nuances of each “act” and close with an application this to your context. We will also look to the witness of scripture in Mark 2 – at the story of the healing of the paralytic in Capernaum. We see a theology of welcome expressed by the four friends and then by Jesus. We also see a distinct lack of welcome displayed by the crowd that didn’t make any room for the paralyzed man. The end goal of this lesson is that we encourage our young people to put into practice the welcome and hospitality of God. Our hope is to accomplish this through these exercises, but more importantly, through the processing of what this means in in the actual lives of your young people.
Gather (5 minutes)
Engage (30 minutes)
Activity 2: “The Drama of Embrace”
This exercise is taken directly from Miroslav Volf’s book “Exclusion and Embrace”. The idea is to walk our young people through the steps of embracing one another and to explore what each step looks like. The hope is that we can be more thoughtful, in all walks of life, to offer a hospitality that is rich and meaningful to others, even our enemies, because of the hospitality offered to us by God.
Practitioner’s Note: These two activities are good for Middle School students because they are concrete, but truly this exercise can be done with any age.
Reflect (20 minutes)
Activity 3: “Digging Holes”
Activity 4: Who?
Send Forth (5 minutes)
This resource includes supplementary materials:
Introduction for Leaders