Pt. 2 "MY FIRST WEDNESDAY NIGHT"
Tonight was my first night with the youth group at Hermitage UMC. It actually went really well. On Monday I met with our Christian Ed. Director, Linda, who told me that she was planning on doing an Advent program for tonight that was going to be intergenerational. She wanted it to be based around the music of Advent. So I told her that I would be in charge of shaping it into a more experiential alt. style worship time. Linda was excited because she said that many of the people at Hermitage had not experienced something like this before and that it would be really new for them.
Well that may have made her excited, but I was nervous. We called the experience THE WALK OF THE MAGI based around the idea that the magi must have travelled a really long time following the star before they made it to the house of the Christ child. They really had no idea where they were going, they just simply followed the star.
We had A LOT of youth there and a great mix of adults, as well. So we began with Linda talking about what Advent is.
Then I invited them to the first prayer room: EXPERIENCE 1: “THE TIME IS NEAR”
1. First two stanzas of “People, Look East” UMH 202 is sung
2. Reading: Isaiah 40: 1-11
3. Experiental Meditation
4. Last 2 stanzas of “The Time is Near” is sung
5. As people exit they take a glow in the dark star
EXPERIENCE 1: “THE TIME IS NEAR” PRAYER STATION
Invite participants to make a list of all the things they have to “get done” between now and Christmas… they should write directly onto the newsprint anywhere they want.
Once they have finished that list they should then make a new list- one that lists things that they might do to prepare for Christ’s arrival- prayer, fasting, serving the poor, etc… etc…
As they leave the experience invite them to take a plastic glow in the dark star as a symbol throughout Advent that God has called them to follow the star.
NEXT WE MOVED TO THE SECOND PRAYER ROOM: EXPERIENCE 2: “SEND YOUR WORD, O LORD”
1. First two stanzas of “Send Your Word” UMH 195 is sung
2. Reading: Psalm 85: 1-2, 8-13
3. Experiential Meditation
4. Last 2 stanzas of Send Your Word sung.
5. Magi leads everyone out of experience and to continue following the star
EXPERIENCE 2: “SEND YOUR WORD, O LORD” PRAYER STATION
Items needed: sharpy markers and plastic glow in the dark stars from first station.
At this station the practice of Lectio Divina will the central activity. Allow the participants a few minutes to center in, and then 1. read the scripture passage slowly once and invite the participants to listen for a word or phrase that jumps out at them. Ask them to then simply to “hang out with that word or phrase”. 2. Read the passage again and this time ask them to imagine a life experience where that word or phrase is involved- what do they see, hear, feel, taste, smell? 3. Read the passage again and ask them to simply ask God to give them insight on how they might live out this word or phrase during Advent. 4. Invite them to write their word or phrase on their star and to take it with them.
THEN WE MOVED BACK INTO THE YOUTH AREA FOR OUR FINAL PRAYER EXPERIENCE: EXPERIENCE 3: “O COME, O COME, EMMANUEL
1. First two verses of “O come, O come, Emmanuel” UMH 211 sung
2. Reading: 2 Peter 3: 8- 15
3. Experiential Meditation
4. Sharing of experience along with joys and concerns
5. Closing Benediction
EXPERIENCE 3: “O COME, O COME, EMMANUEL PRAYER STATION
Items needed: playdough
Invite participants to imagine what they hope the world to be like one day. Using clay invite them to create a symbol of their hope for the world.
It ended up going very well and I was really impressed at how receptive the youth were to the contemplative aspect of what we did. I ended by relating the magi journey to our journey together- that none of us knows quite where God is going to lead us but that we're all on this journey together and that's part of the fun (and anxiety) of being where we are in this.
I'm really looking foward to Sunday night and getting to know them all a bit more.