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BIBLE PASSAGE: 1 Samuel 1
BACKGROUND: All of our young people will have experienced what it means to be provoked at some point. As we look at the relationship between Hannah and Peninnah we can explore the different ways of responding to those who provoke us, focusing on the fact that Hannah responded with prayer.
As you begin the session, gather the young people together and serve any refreshments. Use this time as an opportunity to catch up with any news from the last week, and to see how your young people are. Ask the group to think about anything that has made them feel really good about themselves this week. What things have been more damaging or hurtful? How did they respond? What did they do with those feelings? Remind the group that this is a safe space where everyone can share how they feel and be honest, while respecting confidentiality (as appropriate).
You will need: paper and pens or a selection of images of well-known rival pairs printed off in advance There are two ways to do this activity, depending upon your circumstances. Option one would be to print off a selection of images of well-known rivalries (with each character on a separate sheet of paper) and hide them around the room. (Examples include: Tom and Jerry, Batman and Joker, Liverpool and Manchester United.) On the signal to begin, the young people should search for the pictures and match them up with the relevant rivals.
Alternatively, you could distribute paper and pens, then challenge the young people to list as many well-known rivalries as they can think of. In either case, you could divide into two teams for this activity and award a small prize to the winning team.
You will need: Bibles; printouts of 1 Samuel 1; assorted highlighter pens; a sheet of flip-chart paper and marker pens
Give each member of the group a copy of 1 Samuel 1 and access to a selection of highlighter pens. Make Bibles available so the young people can look at the wider story and put this episode into context.
Read the chapter through together and explore any initial questions or observa- tions the young people may have about this story. You may need to pay attention to the fact that there was a man of God who had two wives and explore a little of the cultural context!
On a large sheet of flip-chart paper, create a simple grid with the two headings: Hannah and Peninnah. Ask the young people to look at their copy of the story, select a highlighter pen and begin by highlighting everything they notice in the text about Peninnah. When they have had enough time to go through it, perhaps in pairs, invite them to feed back what they have noticed, making a note of these on the grid.
Ask the young people to look back through the text, this time looking specifi- cally for comments that relate to Hannah and highlighting these in a second colour. When they are ready, ask them to share what they have noticed about Hannah and record these ideas in the second column of your grid.
Gather the young people together and look at the two columns, talking about how these two characters contrast with one another. Spend some time talking about the things they have noticed, and discuss any questions this raises for them.
Continue the discussion about the story, using these questions as a prompt:
- How do you feel about this story?
- Can you relate to either of these characters? How?
- What would you like to say to Hannah and to Peninnah?
- How do you deal with people who provoke you? What do you think you should do?
You will need: a selection of old magazines and newspapers; large sheets of paper; scissors; glue; Bibles
Invite the young people to work together in smaller groups for this, if they prefer, or you can all work together as one large group. Allow plenty of time for the young people to relax into this activity, perhaps playing some background music, as the more time they spend getting into it the more deeply they will connect with the story and the issues it raises.
On a large sheet of paper, draw two simple outlines to represent Hannah and Peninnah. You could ask the young people to decide on their positions and how they relate to each other. Invite them to cut out any images or short pieces of text from the magazines and newspapers that they think represent the two characters or their relationship in any way, perhaps sticking them in the space between the two women. Try not to direct this activity too much,
giving space for the young people to respond creatively as they wish, though you may need to offer some guidance to get them started. For example, you could find some images of expressions that
show how you think these two women were feeling, or some key words that represent how Peninnah provoked Hannah.
When they are finished, bring the pictures together to display to the group. How do these images help them better understand this story?
Remind your young people of Hannah’s prayer in verses 10-11 and explain that when we are hurting for any reason, a good response is to take it to God and pour it out to him. Invite your young people to find a space in the venue where they can be quiet and still for themselves, and encourage them to pour out their own prayers to God about whatever it is that is weighing heavily on their minds.
Draw the prayers together as you close the session, making yourself available for further prayer or conversation as appropriate.
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