Season of Creation - Caring for Creation

Week 1: September 1 - Caring for Creation
Jeremiah 2:4-13, Luke 14:1, 7-14

Note to the Teacher

The key emphasis for this week (for this lesson from Jeremiah 2 and Luke 14) is that God is the creator and cares for creation. At the same time, humanity is called to respond to God by caring for creation as well. The ice breaker asks the classic question, if you could have dinner with any famous person who would it be? The discussion encourages students to reflect on places where humanity may not be caring for creation in the way God desires. The activity allows youth to take time to become creative as they get to decide who sits where at a wedding feast.

Times are based on a 50-minute lesson period, but can be adjusted.

Time    Description of Activity

10 min. 1. Ice Breaker – Who Is Your Ideal Dinner Guest?

Supplies Needed: A small slip of paper or note card for each student, a pen or pencil for each student, a box to collect all the responses

Give each student a piece of paper as well something to write with. Tell them we are discussing a wedding feast in our scripture today, so we are going to play off that idea and ask the question—if you could have dinner with any one famous person who would it be? Then we’ll read the responses and we are going to try to guess who wrote each one.

Have students write down their answers privately, then collect all of the answers in a box. Then pick out a piece of paper, read the famous name on it. Have the group try to guess who wrote that name down. Eventually have the writer of the name speak up. If you run out of time ask every student who hasn’t yet shared to name who they wrote down.

5 min   2. Read Scripture

Explain before reading that Jeremiah was a prophet (explain what a prophet is if necessary [1], and you are reading from the beginning of the book of Jeremiah as well as the Gospel of Luke. You may need to remind students who the Pharisees were as well [2].

Read Jeremiah 2:4-7 and Luke 14:1 & 7-14

15 min. 3. Discussion

  • In Jeremiah what does it say God has done for the people?
  • How does it say the people have responded?
  • What are some “worthless idols” as mentioned in verse 5 that people may follow?
  • What are some ways that humanity “defiles the land” as is described in verse 7?

From Luke 14:

  • Can someone describe overall what happened in this parable in Luke 14?
  • Where should someone choose to sit if they were invited to the wedding feast?
  • How does this go against our natural tendency as humans?
  • What does verse 11 say will happen to those who humble themselves?
  • As Jesus often does in parables, he explains the parable in 12-14, who does Jesus say in these verses should be invited to the banquet and given good seats?
  • Being honest, are you someone who tends to try to be always first when it comes to being in line, or do you let others go first? Why do you make that choice?
  • How does this concept of putting others before ourselves relate to the concept for caring for the earth as God’s creation?

20 Min. 4. Activity and Discussion: Who Should Sit Where?

Take this lesson to the next level by getting students involved using this activity. You can find this and all sorts of other lesson activities at the Youth Worker Collective.

Supplies: You will need a notecard (or sheet of paper) for each student, and on that notecard ahead of time write down an assigned title in large print such as “Mayor, CEO of a company, Homeless person, Construction worker, Pastor, Librarian, etc.” so each person in your group has a card.

You will also need a large table/group of tables, or capacity to put all chairs in the room in a circle. You’ll also need to designate a “head” of the table/circle which will be served first at the meal. If your group is very large you can split the group into two and do this exercise at the same time with each group.

Tell all the students they have been invited to fancy banquet like in Luke 14, but now it is time to figure out who should sit where.

Show students the designated table or circle of chairs for the feast, making sure there are enough chairs for everyone. Explain where the head of the table is, which will be served first at the banquet. Tell the students they all need to hold their title up in front of them, and collectively work as a group to decide who gets to sit where.

Allow the students to spend 5-10 minutes to decide who should sit where—try to not intervene too much in their discussion.

Once the students have decided who should sit where and everyone is seated, ask them as a group to explain how they chose who should be seated where.

Ask if everyone is satisfied where they are seated, or if anyone disagrees?

Ask if there is anywhere in their lives or their schools where they feel like there is a hierarchy?

Ask if they feel God loves all people, all of his creation equally?

Ask if there are places where the students can do a better job of putting others first this week?

Close in the manner that is typical for you. Consider taking joys/concerns from the students, then asking for a volunteer to close in prayer.

50 min.

NEEDED RESOURCES:

  • A small slip of paper or index card for each student for the icebreaker.
  • Something to write with for each student for the icebreaker.
  • Something such as a box to collect the written responses for the icebreaker.
  • An index card or sheet of paper for each student for the activity.
  • A set of tables large enough for your group to sit around or capacity to put a chair for everyone in a large circle.

[1] Many people assume that prophets were fortunetellers whose words were focused on predicting the future. While some prophets foretold future events, their job was not merely to predict the future. Prophets spoke for God calling the people back to obedience. Their main role was that: to deliver the words of God to God’s people.

[2] The Pharisees were a Jewish religious group (similar to a denomination). They believed that God wanted the people to return to strict faithfulness and that a return to that faithfulness was a pre-requisite to the messiah appearing. Because of that belief, they often became legalistic.