Where is God?

Lesson 1

 
 

Lesson Intro for Leaders

Through-out this curriculum we will be asking questions and talking about God. We are starting with questions that are less personally connected to us and moving to more intimate questions around what God means for us. Of course, asking “Where Is God?” can be deeply personal if one immediately recognizes that God is with them and for them. Do not assume that everyone is coming to to these questions with answers or knows how to have a relationship with God. Try to hold back some of the deeper questions until later in the week unless you are certain that all of the students are together in their understanding.

 

Gathering Questions

Say something like: HEY EVERYBODY!  Good to have you all here today!  We are excited that you are joining us for our virtual camp!  To begin, let’s start with a get to know you questions


As you gather, ask each other the following question:  What is something new you have done during this isolation/quarantine time? (new hobby, new game, new meal you have cooked or eaten, new friend you have made?

What summer activity (other than camp of course) are you missing because of the pandemic?

 

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 say the bolded line 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!

 

Where in the world

We are going to be talking about the question, Where is God? Let's start by talking about where we are, where we have been, and where would like to go. Have each person in the family(group) share, where they consider themselves from, one place that they have gone before, and one place they would like to go anywhere in the world. (or beyond)

This activity is especially helpful for groups that are meeting for the first time. It gives them a chance to get to know one another before jumping into some deeper questions later. 

Show and Tell

In the scripture we are about to read from Acts Paul ends by quoting an Athenian poet who said "We are his offspring." This makes us all children of God. In this activity we are going to spend more time getting to know one another as children of God.

Each camper will need to grab three items from where they are. These three items should represent three attributes of who they are or what they love. Examples could be items that represent a sport they enjoy playing, a show they enjoy watching, an instrument that they play, etc.

After every camper has gotten 3 items then spend some time letting each person share the items that they got and why they chose them.

 

Scripture Reading

Acts 17:22-28 (CEB)

(Bible Background for students:  Some people from Thesalonica (in Greece) were angry with Paul and his friend Silas even though they had moved on to another town (Beroea).  To keep Paul safe, some of the believers took Paul to Athens.  Paul began to teach in Athens.)

22 Paul stood up in the middle of the council on Mars Hill and said, “People of Athens, I see that you are very religious in every way. 23 As I was walking through town and carefully observing your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: ‘To an unknown God.’ What you worship as unknown, I now proclaim to you. 24 God, who made the world and everything in it, is Lord of heaven and earth. He does not live in temples made with human hands. 25 Nor is God served by human hands, as though he needed something, since he is the one who gives life, breath, and everything else. 26 From one person God created every human nation to live on the whole earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God made the nations so they would seek him, perhaps even reach out to him and find him. In fact, God is not far away from any of us. 28 In God we live, move, and exist. As some of your own poets said, ‘We are his offspring.’

 

Digging Deeper Questions

Surface: 

  • Paul was walking around looking at objects of worship. What objects of worship would Paul see if he walked into your church?

  • When Paul talks about God in verses 24 and 25, how does he describe God? (reread the verse)

  • Does God ever feel distant? If so, when?

  • Does God ever feel close by? If so, When?


Deeper: 

  • Do you ever feel like God has left you?

  • How does it make you feel to hear Paul say "God is not far away from any of us"?

  • How could this be a comforting message to those people in Athens, as well as you and me?

Deepest: 

  • Do you think it's possible to be looking for God and not know it? Why or why not?

  • What do you think Paul means when he says "In God we live, love, and exist"?

  • How do you think God shows God's self in the world around us?

  • In what ways can looking for God in the world around us daily be helpful?

 

Word Scramble

This activity is a basic a word scramble. You can find two work sheets below for you to use. One is a list of random places throughout the world and the other is just cities in the DFW area. The second one is considered better for younger audiences.


This activity can be done as a competitive challenge or as a group.

 

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: Where is God?

  • How does it make you feel to know that God will be near you at all times?

What to Remember:

At all times, God is near.

 
 

Getting Ready for Prayer

(Optional)

Share the linked finger labyrinth with you campers. If you are using an online platform like Zoom you can simply copy and paste the link into the chat so that each person can open their own copy. 

Labyrinths have been used by many different cultures and religions for relaxation, meditation and prayer that can bring spiritual and emotional well-being to the lives of those who used them. A finger labyrinth is similar to a full sized labyrinth you would walk except it is on a much smaller and more portable scale. The user traces the path to the centre using your finger rather than with their feet. 


Beginning at the bottom, run your finger through this labyrinth.  Stop in the middle for a short prayer and then run your finger back through the labyrinth to the exit.  

Closing Prayer

Ask the students to stretch out their arms as if preparing for receive a hug and to pray with you as you read the prayer below. 

We take a few deep breaths.


(Pause for at least three breaths. Then make fists and raise them line by line.)


We live in a time of clenching fists:
In anger that threatens,
In greed that clutches,
in worry and fear that tense and tighten.
This is no way to live.


(Open hands and thrust them outward, as if breaking chains.)


And so, we let go.
We take a few deep breaths.


(Pause. Lower hands, palms open, facing upward, raising them line by line.)


Our hands are empty.
We acknowledge our powerlessness.
We are not in control.
We are but humble protagonists in your great story of love.
We receive your grace that heals, forgives, and liberates.
This is the way to live.
And so, we open our hands, our hearts, our minds, our doors.
We take a few deep breaths.

 
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