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Bible passage: Genesis 2:5-25
Background: This creation account of humanity in the garden appears to contradict the one in chapter 1. It is possible to get around this, but you need to bend the text to see one as an overview of the other. Again, it is of far more use to our relationship with God and the Bible to explore what the passage means than to try to fit everything together literally.
Invite the group to share the highs and lows of their week. Encourage them to think about what was good and what was bad, and to begin to think about what might have made things better, or even perfect. Be aware of any pastoral issues within your group and make a note to deal with them. We may be looking at perfection this week, but our lives are often far from perfect. Share that this week you will be looking at a seemingly perfect paradise.
You will need: some magazines; pens and paper
Working on their own, get the young people to collate a series of images and words from the magazines to portray their own personal view of paradise. They can list all the things that would make their world perfect.
Once they have done this, invite them to feed back to the rest of the group, explaining why they have added or listed the items. Can the group agree on the key elements any paradise would have?
You will need: Bibles
Read Genesis 2:5-25 to the group, stopping as directed for the group to perform the actions and prompts, encouraging them to inhabit the Bible passage as it is read.
Pause at the end of verse 7 and say: “Take a deep breath through your nose with your mouth closed. Let the air fill your lungs. As you breathe out, thank God for the gift of life.”
Pause at the end of verse 9 and say: “Imagine two trees in the middle of a garden. They are obviously trees, but they are more than that. They are important, yet you can’t quite understand why.”
Pause at the end of verse 14 and say: “Hear the water of the river as it flows out beyond the garden. It travels far into strange and amazing lands full of wonders.”
Pause at the end of verse 17 and say: “The trees are mentioned again. A command this time. The tree that is more than a tree is not to be eaten from. But there is no need to eat from it because the garden meets all your needs.”
Pause in verse 20, before it says that no helper was found, and say: “This garden is full of amazing creatures: animals that crawl, climb and even fly. Each has unique abilities, just like me. You are one of a kind.”
Pause at the end of verse 22 and say: “You are no longer alone. There is another just like you yet still unique in their own way.”
Pause for a moment at the end of the reading before continuing. On a large piece of paper, ask the group draw a tree, a river and a stick figure. Beneath the stick figure write the word ‘Adam’.
Ask the group to read the Bible passage themselves and add to the image all the things God provided in the Garden of Eden. They can also add the things that were provided elsewhere from what came out of the garden.
Once they have done this, see how it compares with their own list from ‘Intro activity’. What are the differences and what are the similarities?
Encourage discussion around the Bible passage using these questions:
- Why did God create the trees in the middle of the garden if people weren’t meant to go near them?
- How do you think Adam felt before God made him a companion? And afterwards?
- What might it have been like to walk with God in the garden?
- What does this story of creation tell us about God? And about our relationship with him?
- What is God saying to you now?
- Ask the young people if they have any questions about the passage. If any of these can’t be easily answered, make a note and tell the group you will find out and get back to them.
You will need: pens and paper
Give out the pens and paper, then ask the group to spend a few moments thinking about what it would have been like to be in the Garden of Eden with everything God had provided.
Ask them to write a poem from the perspective of Adam, describing how everything is perfect in this paradise God has created. Depending on the ability levels within your group they could work in twos or threes, or they could write a monologue rather than a poem.
Once everyone has finished, share the poems or monologues with the rest of the group.
You will need: pens; paper (ideally green, but white is fine); scissors; a box
Ask the group to draw a leaf shape on the paper and cut it out. Now ask them to write a simple prayer that lists the items they own or have access to that they are thankful for. Have a time of silent prayer so they can give thanks to God for these things.
Ask the group to write their names on the leaf prayers and say that you will keep hold of them until the next session, when you will use them again. Explain that you will not look at them, and that you will keep them safe in a box.
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