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BIBLE PASSAGE: Luke 14:15-24
BACKGROUND: Jesus was a Jew. The Jews were looking for and waiting for the Messiah, their Saviour, to come. What shocked and rocked the Jewish audience listening to Jesus’ stories is that Jesus showed that God’s love was for all people. What was true then is still true. For God so loved the world that he sent his son. It’s not exclusive but inclusive. Everyone is welcome and everyone is invited, but not everyone will choose to respond in a positive way.
Welcome the group to the session and share out any refreshments you have brought. Catch up with how the young people are and how their week has gone. Ask the group if there is any party or big event coming up that they have been invited to and are excited about.
Play a word association game. Ask for two volunteers and pick a subject for the two contestants to speak on. They each have to say a word in turn to do with that topic.
The contestants can’t hesitate, repeat a word or deviate from the subject. If they do, someone else takes their place.
The topics can be anything, but make sure the last subject you pick is parties.
You will need: actors to perform the script below
If you have time before the session, ask your volunteers to rehearse this dramatic reading. If time allows you could do the rehearsals as part of the session, exploring emotions and motivations as you rehearse:
N1: When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus:
N2: Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.
N1: Jesus replied:
Jesus: A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited.
Owner: Come, for everything is now ready.
Jesus: But they all began to make their excuses. The first said:
Person 1: I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.
Jesus: Another said:
Person 2: I have just bought five pairs of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.
Jesus: Still another said:
Person 3: I just got married, so I can’t come.
Jesus: The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servants to:
Owner: Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town, and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.
Servant: Yes, sir!
Jesus: Then the servant said:
Servant: What you ordered has been done, but there is still room.
Jesus: Then the master told his servants:
Owner: Go out into the roads and country lanes, and compel them to come in so that my house will be full. I tell you, not one of those invited will get a taste of my banquet.
After the dramatic reading, split the group into two. Give one group ‘the press conference’ and the other ‘the red carpet’. Give each the relevant brief.
The press conference: Review the parable, then set up and act out a press conference. The people who are being interviewed by the press are the characters in the story who choose not to come to the banquet. Give the young people time to think up a few questions and the characters time to decide what they might say.
The red carpet: Ask the young people to create a red carpet moment for the characters in the story who said yes to coming to the party. Give them a few minutes to think through and discuss how the people might be feeling and what they might be thinking. The other people in this scene are the press, stopping them on the red carpet and asking them how they feel.
Let the two groups practise their scenes, then show them to each other. Depending on the size of the group you might decide to do just one of these all together.
Discuss the story using these questions:
- Why do you think people didn’t want to come to the banquet?
- How do you think the people who were invited from the streets felt?
- Which characters do you identify with most?
- Why do you think Jesus told this parable? What is this parable really about?
You will need: a large sheet of paper with the letters RSVP written on; marker pens Show the group the sheet of paper and explain what the letters mean: an invitation has been given and a reply is requested.
Ask the young people to consider what their response would have been if they had been invited to that banquet. What things in their lives are stopping them accepting Jesus’ invitation to get to know him?
Encourage them to write these things down on the paper. If they want to keep things a secret they could draw a picture or a symbol.
You will need: a pack of RSVP cards; pens Hand out an RSVP card to each person. Play some quiet worship music and ask your young people to write personal prayers based on what they have already been thinking and sharing as a group.
Finish with a closing prayer about how God includes and invites us to follow and know him because he loves us:
Father God, thank you that you invite everyone into your kingdom. Thank you that you sent your Son to die for us all because you love us and want us to respond to your amazing grace. Amen.
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