By Alison Noll
“40 Days of Faith” has been off to a great start for the Youth Group!
This year, RiverKids and RiverYouth are exploring the theme “The Upside-Down Love of Jesus.” We have been taking a deeper look at Jesus’ love . . . how boundless and radical it is. Because of Jesus’ kind and gentle ways, we often forget how radical his approach to faith and life was. And that’s why people, including his own disciples, were constantly confounded by his words and actions. The world’s understanding of the strong and the weak, the rich and the poor, the greatest and the least, the righteous and the humble, are put upside-down in Jesus’ love.
Here are the topics we have been and will be exploring together:
Each Sunday, we start the discussion time by asking the youth to consider a couple questions in small groups. For example, on the first Sunday of the series we discussed: “Is it better to be weak or strong? Are there times when it helps to be strong and others when it helps to be weak? What does it mean to be strong?”
After the small groups have had time to discuss, we come back together as a large group and the youth share their thoughts and opinions with each other. These discussions have been incredibly lively! Each week I have been so impressed with how engaged the youth are and by their thoughtful, nuanced responses. One youth pointed out, “If you are always strong, then it makes it impossible for you to accept help, which actually makes you weak.” Others pointed out, “When you are strong you are able to help others, but weakness can also make it easier to connect with people.” Amazing!
After everyone has shared, we end the discussion time by hearing a story about Jesus and trying to understand His upside-down perspective on the topic of the week.
If you would like to talk to your youth about the topics we’ve been exploring, feel free to check out the “40 Days” Family Dinner Liturgies. Each Sunday we post a liturgy for the week, which includes that morning’s story. It also includes instructions for a short opening prayer and blessing and a reflection exercise you can do together as a family.
Feel free to reach out to me with any questions/comments/concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org.