Love Graffiti

Why Does God Love Us?

Lesson 4

 

Lesson Intro For Leaders

This entire curriculum we have been talking about God. We have explored the mysteries of how God relates to us and who God is. In this lesson, we are exploring another greatest mysteries of God—that God is love. Despite the shortcomings of humans, God is made known to us, in comfort and joy, because of the unquenchable love of God. This lesson is about the bond of love that binds God to God’s creation, as revealed in the Old Testament.

Why does God love us? This is a difficult question to answer, largely because it is one of the greatest mysteries in the Christian faith. Why does God love us? Some gather that from parts of the Old Testament, God shouldn’t. Humanity proves its inability to love God as God deserves numerous times. Yet, God continues to love us. In the Christian tradition, God loves because God is Love. What God chooses to love, God is going to love no matter what!

Regardless of the amount of grace God needs to give in order to sustain a loving relationship between God and humans, God chooses love. The greatest act of love comes in the union of human and divine with Jesus Christ, and even in the Old Testament, we can see in the beginning: God loves what God has created. In complete freedom, God binds God’s self to human beings by planting God’s image within us.

God is bonded to human beings because of the love God has for what God creates. This idea of love being a bond and God being the binding (as if God was the glue between humanity and the divine), is the focus of this lesson.

This scripture below from Genesis is the proclamation of human beings as the Imago Dei (the image of God). This means that God is within human beings; bonded to humanity because of the likeness humans have with God. The passage below from Hosea (created as a drama to read with your group) is essentially God’s proclamation of love for the nation and people of Israel. It tells the story of the Old Testament concisely, and then provides insights about why God loves Israel. Interestingly, there is no reason listed, but it is just the nature of God to love what God has created.

 

Gathering Questions

Supplies: Dice or Dice Roll App

As you gather, ask each other the following question:  What do you Love?


Roll a dice- whatever number you come up with is the way you have to answer the following question.. 

  1. Name something that has four legs

  2. Name something you can eat

  3. Name someone that is related to you

  4. Name someone that is Not-related to you 

  5. Name something that you enjoy doing/ an activity (ie I love Running)

  6. Name your favorite thing to do in the summer

 

Opening Prayer

Supplies: Candle (optional)

As a family/group- have one person read the “leader” parts, and the rest of the family/small group respond in the following call & response prayer below adapted from Psalm 136:1-9. Instruct the person leading the prayer to read the leader part and have the rest of group respond with the response “For God’s love forever!”


Leader: O give thanks to the Lord, for God is good

All:         For God’s love lasts forever!

Leader: O give thanks to the God of gods, O give thanks to the Lord of lords

All:         For God’s love lasts forever!


Leader: Who alone does great wonders and by understanding made the heavens

All:         For God’s love lasts forever!

Leader: Who spread out the earth on the waters and made the great lights

All:         For God’s love lasts forever!


Leader: Who made the sun to rule over the day and the moon and stars to rule over the night

All:         For God’s love lasts forever!

Leader: O give thanks to the God of heaven


All:        For God’s love lasts forever!

 

Alternate Opening Prayer

Gracious God, we know that you are good and that you love endures forever! We give thanks, for we know that you are the Lord of lords, the one who does great wonders throughout heaven and earth. You are the creator of all things and for your creation, we give thanks!

Bless this time together that we might be reminded of your love for us, a love that lasts forever! Amen!

 

Gertrude Challenge

The name of this activity will make sense later

Campers will have the chance to volunteer to answer whether they can name three things about a person, real or fictional. Start out with some easy ones like: Name three things about your mother, or Batman, a famous celebrity or the athlete.

After a few of these, then move on to other people in their lives they may or may not know so well. A pastor, youth minister, or children's minister. Maybe throw in someone from an older generation.

Finally, ask them to name 3 things about some popular, and maybe not so popular bible characters, like Noah, Abraham, Adam, Ruth, Mary, etc.

After everyone who wants a turn has had one answer the following questions:

  • Which was the easiest ones to answer?

  • How do you know those things about that person?

  • How much time do you spend with them?

  • What about the hardest one? Why was it difficult?

  • Do we notice things about people we don’t spend time with?

Gertrude of Helfta was a nun in the 1200s who had personal and powerful experiences of the love of God. Later in her life, she was inspired by the Holy Spirit to begin writing about her experiences. She talks about God’s look of love.

As we know from answering things about people, we may know some people better than others. Yet Gertrude says that God is always looking at all of us with love. God has a desire to know each and every one of us. Where it’s difficult for us to maintain relationships with everyone, God loves every single one of us and knows everything about us. God is looking at us with love, and we can experience this love by turning our eyes to look toward God.

  • What do you think the love of God feels like?

  • What do you think of the fact that God is always with us and always sees us?

  • Why do you think it is important to remember that God is always with us and in our midst?

 

Act it Out: Hosea

Supplies: 3 volunteers, Device to play video from internet (Optional)

The Book of Hosea has a lot to teach us about God's never-ending love for us. Toward the end of the book God speaks about God's frustration with the nation of Israel and also God's determination to not give up on them. Click the button below to watch a brief video that explains this portion of Hosea.


Also below is a button that has a script for a skit about Israel and God. There are three parts: Narrator, God, and Israel. Feel free to share a video of your skit to our forums and we might highlight you on our website and social media. We might also send you some goodies from our Online Snack Shack. 

* For those that want to share their creation we have a forum designed for you to share your creation with other Bridgeport in a Box Campers. Through out the summer we will be showcasing these creations on our website and social media. If we share yours then we will send you a little something from our online Snack Shack. 

CLICK HERE to post to forum

 

Scripture Reading

Genesis 1:26-27 (NRSV) 

26Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”


27So God created humankind in his image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

 

Digging Deeper Questions

Surface: 

  • These scriptures talk about God loving and raising people. How do people show love to one another? How does God show love to us?

  • How does it make you feel to know that God loves you?

  • Nothing separates us from God’s love. What does that mean? 

Deeper: 

  • What does it mean to be made in the image of God?

  • What do you think God’s love for creation teaches us about God’s love for us?

  • ·      Do you think God would ever stop loving you? Why or why not?

  • Knowing we are made in God’s likeness and are loved by God, how should we treat each other?

Deepest: 

  • Have you ever felt unworthy of being loved by God or by others? Do our feelings about ourselves change how God loves us? Why or why not?

  • What would it look like if we loved others in the same way that God loved everyone?


* We have a forum for any questions that come up during our lessons. Feel free to use it to ask any questions that come up during any of our lessons. Our leadership team of directors will do their best to answer these questions. Click here to visit that forum. 

 

Rock Paper Scissors

This activity is a variation on the classic game Rock, Paper, Scissors. One person is the leader and everyone is playing "against" the leader. The rules are the same as the traditional game. Rock beats Scissors, Scissors beats Paper, and Paper beats Rock. 

The leader will call out "Rock Paper Scissors, Shoot!"at which point everyone will show which they chose. If you beat the leader then you have won the game. If you either lost or picked the same item as the leader then you continue playing until every player has been successful against the leader. 

For added fun, instead of using you hands have each person go get a piece of paper, a rock, and a pair of scissors. When the leader says the word "shoot" instead of showing their hands, have each person hold up the item they selected. Do this until every person has had a chance to win against the leader. 

God seeks a relationship with each of us but we don't always get it right away. Sometimes it takes many tries for us to understand just how much God loves us but just like the leader in this game, God never stops trying. 

 

Closing Discussion

Spend some time discussing and reflecting on this lesson and then close with a prayer below.

  • After this lesson, how would you answer the question: Why does God love us?

  • Who is someone you can share the message of God's love with?

What to Remember:

God loves us all with the same extravagant love 

 

Getting Ready for Prayer

(Optional)

Given that God gives extravagant love to all people equally:

  • When you cover your face with your hands, can you imagine the face of your very best friend? Try.

  • When you cover your face with your hands, can you imagine the faces of those in your family?  Try.

  • When you cover your face with your hands, can you imagine the face of God?  Try.  


When you think about these questions: kneel, close your eyes and wrap yourself in a hug during this prayer.  

 

Closing Prayer

Invite the everyone to pray with you as you read the prayer below.


O God of the Vineyard,

You call us all to productive labor,

To employ our gifts and talents for you.

We pray for those who are in power,

Strengthen them towards generosity without condition.

We pray for those who are unemployed,

Strengthen them in this difficult time,

Until all people are moving towards the common good,

And praising God with heart and mind and soul forever. Amen. 

*(Taken from The United Methodist Book of Worship, p. 541)

 
  • Facebook
  • Instagram

©2020 by Bridgeport Camp in a Box. Proudly created with Wix.com