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Bible passage: Song of Songs 2
Background: Many believe that Song of Songs was written by Solomon about one of his 500 wives and concubines. Some see it as a prophetic picture of God’s love and commitment to his people. However, at base level it is a love poem originally written in ancient Hebrew in what, one can only imagine, was the popular contemporary style of ancient Hebrew poetry during the 10th Century BC.
While some commentators take it at face value, others see all kinds of raunchy metaphors within these verses. Don’t shy away from this. Yes, it could cause a giggle, but it’s important to be confident in this discussion as it may facilitate your young people growing up with a balanced, healthy and coherent attitude towards sex. If they don’t have these conversations in church they will get their information from the TV and from their mates!
This is a good time to share refreshments and chat about life. As a discussion starter, ask the young people what they find most embarrassing about your church and being a Christian (for example, the church leader’s dress sense, ribbon waving or having to do the actions to songs).
You will need: the following scenarios printed on slips of paper
Split the young people into two groups and give each one a set of scenarios. Give them five minutes to arrange them in order – most excruciating at the top. Discuss the scenarios by comparing each group’s order of embarrassment.
- Instead of ‘Miss’ you call out ‘Mum’ to your teacher at school.
- Your parents sit you down for ‘the talk’ (and insist on describing the details of sex using all the proper terminology).
- Chatting to someone for ages when you can’t remember their name.
- Waving enthusiastically at someone, only to realise they were waving at someone behind you.
- Watching a movie with your parents when a long, steamy sex scene comes on.
- Walking into a glass door.
- Thinking your earphones are plugged in when they’re not, so everyone can hear your music.
- Telling someone a hilarious story and realising they originally told it to you.
- Trying to take two steps at a time and falling up the stairs.
- The driver holding up the jam-packed bus for you, and as you rush on you spill the entire contents of your bag everywhere.
If the group has any awkward stories of their own to share, let them do so now.
You will need: bin bags; cups of water; a Bible; a list of the correct terminology for sex-related words
Explain that you’re going to read out a passage from a book called Song of Songs in the Bible, but that you’re going to do it as a game called Innuendo Bingo (you may have come across this game on Scott Mills’ Radio 1 show).
Choose two volunteers to sit awkwardly close together, face to face. Cut a hole in a bin bag for each contestant to wear as a waterproof bib. Each must take a big mouthful of water without swallowing it. You should read the passage passionately, right up close to their ears, two lines at a time using a faux French ‘romantic’ accent, in an effort to make them laugh and spit the water over the other person. The first to spit loses. Replace the person who loses with a new contestant.
To take it up a notch, read out your list of sex-related terminology. The point is to make these words usable and to take away any stigma or taboo, allowing young people to speak about sexual topics in a mature and appropriate manner.
Use these questions to discuss the Bible passage. You may find it easier to work in smaller groups if that helps to facilitate less self-conscious discussion:
- Did you like this passage as a poem or a song? Why? Why not?
- What ‘raunch rating’ would you give it? If Solomon had written these lyrics today would they have featured in an explicit Nicki Minaj song, a Coldplay song or a CBeebies song?
- Why is this poem in the Bible? How could it be a message from God to us? What does it tell us about his attitude to romance and sex?
- What does “do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires” in verse seven mean?
- Is this just an innocent poem about two young friends falling in love, or is it a collection of overtly sexual metaphors and innuendos?
- What other ‘appetites’ do we have? Is it wrong to have them? Or just when we have them in excess? Can they be beautiful in the right context?
- How many times have you heard people talking about sex in church? Why is that? Should the Church be less embarrassed about sex? What would that look like?
You will need: volunteers from your wider church community to answer the group’s questions; flip-chart paper; marker pens
Before the session, invite a few volunteers from your church community to come along and discuss any questions that arise from this Bible passage. Make sure they are comfortable talking about sex and relationships, and are able to do so appropriately.
Before the volunteers arrive, split the young people into smaller groups and give each group a sheet of paper and pens. Encourage the groups to come up with questions about this Bible passage that they would like the volunteers to discuss. If they are struggling for ideas, use the questions from ‘Chatting together’ as a starting point. Once they have finished, gather the questions together and put them in some kind of logical order.
Welcome the volunteers to your group and ask them the questions the group has generated. You will need to gently guide this question time, allowing everyone to contribute who would like to, but also making sure anyone who needs support can access it.
Invite your volunteers to stay and pray for the young people in relation to any issues that have become burning topics during the session. Ask the group to pray for the volunteers in return.
Supporting documentsClick link to download and view these files
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