This session largely revolves around knowing what is going on in various parts of the world. You may need to spend some time on Google, researching different statistics around the world. Some possible things to look up are: the rate of homelessness in Los Angeles, the amount of abortion in China, the AIDS epidemic in Ethiopia, the rate of substance addiction in Russia. You will be reading such stories to give youth a glimpse into the realities of darkness in the world.
Wherever you set up the map of the world, you will put it on the floor and surround it with many tea lights. Place tea lights all throughout the space as well. This will be labor intensive, so you will want to be sure that you have some helpers available for this session.
You will need two separate spaces for this session. One session can be relatively well lit, but the overall feel of this session is somber. The second space (if possible, use the actual space of your church’s sanctuary) should be totally in darkness, lit only by the tealights.
The session aims to open the eyes and hearts of young people to the suffering of the world. This session is designed to encourage youth to look beyond their own comfort and to care for the suffering world.
In this session, youth will learn that the Christian life is founded on the hope of the coming Kingdom of God, not in living the so-called “good life” now. Youth will see that visions of “the good life” are often founded on the fear of death while this hope of the Kingdom can embolden youth to look beyond themselves and to serve the world in anticipation of God’s Kingdom.
World map: https://www.amazon.com/Komar-1-617-8-Foot-4-Inch-6-Feet/dp/B0073GMBRO/ref=redir_mobile_desktop?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&ref=yo_pop_mb_pd
Tea lights: https://www.amazon.com/Tea-Light-Candles-Centerpiece-Decorative/dp/B06XGRZR96/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1513975853&sr=1-1-spons&keywords=tea+lights&psc=1
An example list of statistics to Google:
Gather (5 minutes)
Engage (30-35 minutes)
Activity 1: Kingdom Exercise:
Activity 2: World Prayer Map:
O, Lord, your world lies in eager anticipation of your coming Kingdom. Your world is beset by war, by famine, by addiction. Your world is a place where parents abandon their children, where children are sold into slavery. How long, O Lord, must this continue? We ask you to bring your Kingdom, we ask you to embolden us to be your servants in the world, to enter the places of darkness and to fill them with the light and the life of your Kingdom. Lord, the world is deeply broken and deeply wounded. It is also deeply beautiful and wonderful, and we glorify you for all the majesty around us. We ask that you give us eyes to see your Kingdom, to long for it, to anticipate it and to lean into its coming reality. We thank you, Lord, that you ascended the Cross, that you made death and human frailty the very location of your Divine Life. We ask that you give us courage to live lives of service to this world, as you yourself did, this world which you have created and this world which you love. Come quickly, Lord Jesus, we pray you. Have mercy, and come quickly and save this ailing world and have mercy on our souls.
Reflect (15-20 minutes)
Practitioners note: if you moved quickly through Activities 1 and 2, you could allow some time for youth to sit with their journals and write what came up for them during the activities. Then, bring the group back together and allow them to share as above.
Send Forth (5 minutes)
O Lord Jesus Christ our God, you who are the Light of the world. Illumine our hearts, O Master, with the pure light of your love. Help us to be brave in this world that lies in darkness. Help us to go forth from here to love the world as you yourself do. Give us the courage to hope in your coming Kingdom, even though everything around us might be trying to convince us that this world is all that there is. Help us to lean into your future, to lean into you, to trust that you are stronger than the darkness and that you yourself have overcome the world. Guide us into the world, Lord, to know you and to serve you that others may also come to know you and serve you as we all look toward your coming Kingdom with hope and joy. For you are a holy God, and to you is due all glory, praise, and worship, now and forever and even to the end of the age. Amen.
This resource includes supplementary materials: