And he asked them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter answered him, "You are the Christ." Mark 8:29
The youth I have in our confirmation program don't use the name Jesus very much. God? Sure, seems safe. Holy Spirit. Maybe, but what is it anyway? But Jesus? Jesus was a person. A person means a relationship - conversation, working together, being together. A little more intimidating. So, how can we crack open this topic? Last year during our confirmation retreat, we did it this way. The youth had a lot to say and it ignited a lively conversation:
- Hand out paper, pens and Bibles.
- Divide into groups (twos or threes) and ask them to find a place of their own.
- Create three columns on the paper - noun, verb, adjective.
- Individually, think of a time when you felt Jesus' presence. Write in separate columns: nouns, verbs and adjectives that describes that moment.
- Share your story and words with one another. Do you notice similarities? Differences?
- As a group, read the assigned Biblical passage (see below for suggestions). Read it once and write as many nouns you can think of that describe Jesus in the passage. Read it a second time and write verbs. A third for a list of adjectives.
- Gather as a larger group. Invite each group to read the passage and share their words.
- Look at the words together. When has someone been those things to you? What does that say about Jesus in your life?
End by making a circle to say these words from St. Patrick's Breast Plate together. Add the motions if you like.
Christ be with me (cross hands over chest)
Christ before me (hands stretched open in front)
Christ behind me (arms open to the side)
Christ beneath me (bend down and touch the ground)
Christ above me (hands stretched overhead)
Christ on my right (turn and point to the person on your right)
Christ on my left (turn and point to the person on your right)
Christ be with us (hold hands)
Suggested Biblical passages:
- John 1:43-51
- Mark 1:29-39
- Mark 1:21-28
- John 12: 35-36
- John 2:1-6
Jenifer Gamber has been involved in Christian formation since she began teaching Sunday school as a teenager. The author of My Faith, My Life and Your Faith, Your Life for adults, she is a popular speaker on the topics of spirituality, prayer, and teen faith formation. Her website, offers a wealth of resources for adults who work with youth.
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