Prayerfully reflect on Psalm 95:1 and Ephesians 2:8-9. Consider moments of encounter with grace in your own life. How did it feel? Where was joy in the picture?
You may find more suggested material in this proposal than can be covered in a single session. Consequently, you may have to choose which part(s) of what is suggested in this proposal will have to be eliminated. Perhaps you may want to cover the suggested program in more than one meeting
Chairs should be set in a circle as the young people arrive, but at some point during the meeting there should be freedom to rearrange the chairs in three or four smaller circles for discussion of specific questions as suggested in part III. Rearrange the chairs in a circle when the group finishes section III.
In this session, participants will gain a fuller understanding of the grace of God, as well as what it means to extend grace to others. The session will pose questions that help young people consider not only the significance of grace for them personally, but also grace might alter their thinking about social justice issues.
youth will examine taken-for-granted statements about grace, and question whether fairness should set some limits for grace. The session will explore how subjectively experiencing grace from God and extending grace to others generates joy.
Gather (5 minutes)
Greeting One Another:
Be sure to greet each student by name as they enter. Have adult and/or student leaders greet arriving youth and engage in conversation and hand out song lyrics.
Have someone open the group in prayer.
Introducing the Session:
Engage (30 minutes)
Activity 1: Defining Grace
Suppose I’m driving down a highway at 90 miles per hour and the speed limit is 55 mile per hour and I get pulled over by a police car. The cop walks along side of the car and when I roll down the window he tells me he’s giving a ticket for a travelling violation, I have no room for complaint- because that’s justice. If he only gives me a warning-that’s mercy. But if, when I roll down the window he gives me a Krispy Kream Donut- that’s grace.
It’s a surprise! It’s undeserved! It generates joy!
“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. 2 He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard. 3 “About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4 He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ 5 So they went. “He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. 6 About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’ 7 “‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered. “He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’ 8 “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’ 9 “The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. 10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12 ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’ 13 “But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’”
2 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Reflect (20 minutes)
Activity 2: Justice and Grace
Grace and Social Justice
Grace In Our Personal Lives
“Gracious God, our sins are too heavy to carry, too real to hide, and too deep to undo. Forgive what our lips tremble to name, what our hearts can no longer bear, and what has become for us a consuming fire of judgment. Set us free from a past we cannot change; open us a future in which we can be changed, and grant us grace to grow more and more into your likeness and image, through Jesus Christ, the light of the world. Amen.”
Send Forth (5 minutes)
God! We are overwhelmed by Your grace and the salvation it brings to us. Help us to show the grace You have shown towards us by forgiving them for the sins and hurts that we have experienced from them. Show us ways to extend grace, not only in our personal lives but in working for social policies wherein grace is manifested in the world. In all these things, may there be joy. In the name of the God of grace let us say Amen!
This resource includes supplementary materials:
Introduction for Leaders