Last night we finally jumped into the Bible as part of our group time. It was a bit of a challenge because the group was quite large. There were a little over 40 people there. But, it still was remarkable how the process worked. It is so much fun!
Basically, after we sang some songs for awhile, I asked four people to grab a Bible and read Genesis 1:1-2:4 together out of the Message Remix (I love this translation). I asked them to leave the room and begin preparing an interpretation done through acting. They decided on their own to include narration. While they were preparing for 10 minutes I had the rest of our group open to the same passage.
First, they read through the passage as many times as they could while the actors were prepping. I told them to just read the story until they were asked to do something different. So some got through the story a couple times and others might not have finished. The point was to begin reading quietly at one’s own pace. When I went out to check on our actors I asked one of my seniors, Brittney, to have the group read the passage aloud as a group.
She doesn’t know it but she did something brilliant. I was completely floored. So, there I was just outside the door to the youth room talking to the actors when I begin to hear the rest of the group reading in unison. It was awesome! I thought they might each read a verse or one person would read it by themselves but out loud. This created a very cool environment to act out the passage. Not that the energy level was low but it went way up by this simple process.
When they group finished reading, the actors entered and began to perform immediately. While they were performing the group was considering four questions that were posted on a white board. One of those questions was:
1) What did you notice for the first time in this story? (Thank you Echo the Story)
Just like the weeks preceding this week when we used pop culture stories, the group started pulling observations out that can only come from a close reading of scripture. Now, anyone that studies the Bible knows it isn’t always easy to read scripture closely. We tend to wonder about and only see the obvious or the same things we always see. Well, students were surprised that water was separated from water. Students were surprised that God was referred to as “us.” Students were surprised to find out that “man” being created was actually understood as “human” or male and female.
Another great movement took place. The students started correcting and challenging each other. I actually squashed this for right now because of the delivery methods of rebuttals but told them in the future we would be conversing about differences in our understanding of the story and the “facts” of the story.
Because of this conversation we were able to begin exploring questions like, “Does the story change or just the way we understand it?” I absolutely loved the process.
We closed our evening by considering the question, “How am I implicated by this story? Where do I find myself in this story?” Unfortunately we were short on time so we didn’t dive in a whole lot but one student was very insightful. Elizabeth pointed out that we were created to be stewards of God’s creation. If that isn’t a good ending to a Bible study…I don’t know what is.