This is one of many songs in the charts exploring issues of loss, separation and parting. Our young people experience loss in many ways and at many stages of life. While we cannot prepare them for every one of these occasions, we can give them some tools to help them process these experiences and remind them of our faithful God, who remains with us in every circumstance.
Begin the session with a gentle icebreaker, such as asking the group how many different languages we can say “Goodbye” in. Explain to your young people that there are many different occasions when we have to say goodbye in our lifetimes: when friends move house or school, when there is separation within families or at the death of a loved one. Some of us may have already experienced such situations, while others may have goodbyes to face in the future. This session will provide an opportunity for us all to discuss some of the issues loss and leaving raise.
LISTEN AND DISCUSS
Play the track and discuss these questions as a group:
- How does the singer describe her experience of loss?
- Why does saying goodbye hurt so much?
- What can help us cope with this sense of loss?
If appropriate, share a story of your own experience of saying goodbye to someone you love and invite the young people to share their stories. Discuss some of these experiences, explaining that it is a normal but painful part of life.
Ask your young people to share some of the things they fi nd hard to deal with when saying goodbye. Come up with some ideas of things we can do to help process these losses, such as using social media to stay in touch, creating a photo album of shared memories to give as a gift or creating a memory box of special mementos to look over at a later time.
Remind the group that God promises to be with us always. Provide Bibles and ask the young people to look up these passages: Deuteronomy 4:31; Deuteronomy 31:6; Deuteronomy 31:8; Joshua 1:5; 1 Kings 8:57; Hebrews 13:5.
Remind the young people that this message is shouted very clearly in these passages: God will never leave us on our own; he is always with us. This can be hard to understand. We can see our friends and family here with us, and experience their loss painfully, but there will be many times when we fi nd it hard to feel God’s presence with us. The truth is, God’s continued presence isn’t dependent on whether or not we feel it. Ask your young people what they do to remind themselves that God is close at all times. How do they remember this when they pray?
As you draw the session to a close, ask your young people what you can pray for them about. Are there particular losses they are hurting from? Or would they like to feel the presence of God more tangibly as they go out to face the week ahead?