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Bible passage: Luke 24:13-35
Background: The passage of the ‘Road to Emmaus’ finds us with two followers of Jesus trying to make sense of everything that has happened by piecing together bits of information. They are tied between bits of what they know and believe, and trying to find a way forward. There’s a sense of lost-ness on their journey, yet Jesus accompanies them in their chaos and reveals himself slowly through his conversation, companionship and finally in the act of breaking bread with them. This session looks at this act of finding Jesus on the journey as a way of better understanding who he is, but also recognising that we are on a journey, walking with Jesus. Encourage the group members to identify where they find themselves on their walk of faith.
Welcome the group with refreshments. Explain that this week you will be looking at a passage in the Bible where Jesus unexpectedly appears on a journey that two men are taking. Ask the group to share any stories of unexpected events on their own journeys, or things they have discovered on journeys.
Challenge the group to guess who of the following celebrities are from hearing five facts about them. Start with these three examples:
- I was born in Florida, but I am of Italian-American origin
- I began my career in acting
- I am now a famous singer
- My surname means ‘big’
- You might think that I am a ‘Dangerous Woman’
ANSWER: Ariana Grande
- I am from Scotland, but the English often like to think I belong to them
- I have been awarded a knighthood, so my title is ‘Sir’
- I am a double Olympic gold medallist
- I am planning to retire
- Every year I visit a place in south-west London to compete in my career at a place that is famous for having grass instead of hard flooring
ANSWER: Andy Murray
- My husband and I are authors
- I am 55 (in 2019)
- I started my career as a lawyer
- I have been on James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke
- I moved to Washington DC in 2009, where I lived in a big white house
ANSWER: Michelle Obama
Then ask the group to come up with their own. They need five statements about a person and the rest of the group have to try and guess who it is based on those clues.
You will need: Bibles
Split the young people into smaller groups and give them copies of the Bible. Ask them to find and read the passage. Then ask the groups to look through the passage and look for clues in the passage that show it was Jesus walking with the men. Ask the group to discuss these points, then share with each other as a larger group.
Continue the discussion with the following questions, inviting the group to ask their own questions, or teasing out points they make:
- How did Jesus make himself recognisable?
- What were the actions that showed him to be the resurrected Jesus?
- Can you relate to that feeling of your heart ‘burning’?
- What things might make Jesus recognisable if you didn’t know that it was him walking with you?
- The men walking started in one place and ended up in another geographically. How do you think they were changed in themselves during that journey?
- Can you relate to a sense of Jesus changing you on a journey?
You will need: A3 paper; felt-tip pens
The passage we are looking at today is about two men meeting Jesus on a journey. This is the context in which the men met Jesus, but is also a great metaphor for the journey of faith.
Ask the group to reflect on their faith journeys by drawing a timeline, highlighting key moments of revelation or changing direction in their own lives. Give them paper and pens to draw and write the way this happened. It might be helpful if you draw out your own faith journey and explain it to them before they begin.
As they each write their journey, ask the group to leave some space at the end of their timeline to speculate about where their faith journey might take them next. They could write down ideas or prayers for the future as yet untold.
Give them time to draw these and chat about faith with them. Invite them to share with the rest of the group what they wrote about their faith journeys, but also make it comfortable to opt out if they don’t want to do so.
You will need: the poem ‘Footprints’
In this passage we read that the two men ask Jesus to “stay with us”. This is before they have the revelation that this intriguing man is actually the resurrected Christ. They have been walking with him for some time and want more of his company.
We have been looking through our own faith journeys, where Jesus has walked with us so far, but there is still so much that is yet unwritten. Would you echo that “stay with us” request to Jesus?
Ask the group to close their eyes and reflect on whether they would ask Jesus to stay. Read the ‘Footprints’ poem to them. At the end of the poem, ask Jesus to “Stay with us”, inviting the group to respond by saying “Amen” if they want to echo that request.
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