Last week, we focused on how the Prophets “got in the face” of the people of Israel to remind them to be faithful to the Covenant and to live justly. For this week’s session, we will look at the “flip-side” of the Prophets: their efforts to proclaim hope to an exiled people.
The Prophets Give Hope
Big Idea: We need HOPE to survive and we find HOPE in God’s MERCY
Preliminaries (15 mins)
- Welcome and attendance
- Opening prayer ritual/procession to set up prayer center
Engage (20 mins)
- Review Prophets Challenge the People of Israel
- How is a prophet like a coach?
- What are some things the prophets “got in the faces” of the People of Israel over?
- What are some of the names of the Prophets?
- Show an old 45 rpm record and explain that, when you played it on a phonograph, you had to turn the record over to listen to the “flip-side.”
- Explain that, tonight, we’re going to look at the “flip-side” of the Prophets: how in addition to getting in people’s faces with warnings, they also extended a much needed message of hope.
- Explain that the advice of the Prophets went unheeded and both kingdoms of Israel – the North and South – fell and the people and their leaders were carried off into EXILE (write word on the board, show map). Ask if someone can explain what exile is (being forced from your homeland)
- Show picture of a refugee from the Philippines in the aftermath of the typhoon last year and emphasize how it feels for people to live in exile from their homes.
- Remind them that we sent them some HOPE earlier this year by taking up a collection.
- Today we’re going to learn about how the Prophets were the ones who spoke words of encouragement to the People of Israel while they were in Exile and when they returned home to a destroyed Israel.
Explore and Reflect (45 mins)
- Scripture reading: Isaiah 40:1-2 (Isaiah speaks words of comfort)
- Read aloud Finding God pg. 100 (The Jews in Exile) and pg. 101 (Early Christian Turn to the Prophecies) – use ball toss to facilitate reading.
- Show a First Aid kit and ask what you might expect to find in one: bandages, antiseptics, pain relievers, burn ointment, and so on.
- Explain that a Catholic “first aid” kit for those who are suffering contains one thing: MERCY. Open First Aid kit to show a piece of paper with the word MERCY on it. Explain that Catholics show mercy to those in need through the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy (turn to Finding God p. 215) and have volunteers read the lists of the Works of Mercy.
- Make copies (if possible, enlarge to 11 x 17) of the blank picture frames for the Corporal Works of Mercy and the Spiritual Works of Mercy and provide one for each student.
- Provide students with one of each of the following: Corporal Works of Mercy Pictures and Spiritual Works of Mercy pictures.
- Note: the pictures are not in the same order as the frames…that would be too easy! For the Corporal works, they are – top, left to right: shelter the homeless, give alms to the poor, and bury the dead; bottom, left to right: visit the sick and imprisoned, feed the hungry, clothe the naked. For the Spiritual works, they are – top, left to right: console the doubter, forgive injuries, and bear wrongs patiently; bottom, left to right: instruct the ignorant, advise the sinner, and comfort the sorrowful.
- Go over the materials with them
- Provide scissors and glue sticks and have them cut and paste the pictures into the proper picture frame.
- Have them do this work individually and prayerfully in their Sacred Space as you play some inspirational music in the background.
- Have them take these home to share with their parents.
Respond (10 mins)
- Distribute copies of the Prayer of St. Patrick for the students to take home.
- For a closing prayer, pray the prayer service on pg. 102 of Finding God (Pray a Psalm).