Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Youth Group Prayer Space

Last week, the youth group made their own prayer space.  I had a variety of materials out on a table on the balcony.  Adapting a Journey to Adulthood lesson plan, I started by having them take off their shoes.  We talked about when in our lives we take off our shoes - to bathe, to sleep, to go to dance class, to enter the drama studio at school, to enter Buddhist temples and Muslim mosques, etc.  We talked about what shoes protect us from - they protect us from the dirt and glass of the road, they make us able to kick harder.  Without our shoes we are more vulnerable.  We are exposed.

I reminded them of God's commandment to Moses to remove his shoes because he was on holy ground.

Then we went out onto the balcony and found the materials.  We looked at them for a while and then the young people picked a spot for their prayer space.  I made it clear to them that they didn't have to use all the materials on the table - they could choose which ones they wanted and which they didn't.

We also made a list of stuff we want to add to it.

We will add cushions and a prayer box for private prayers that we don't want to put on our prayer wall.  We will also exchange the plastic tub that currently serves as our altar for a small wooden table or stool.

All the pictures and the fabric are held up with drawing pins pushed into the grooves of the wood, so they're not actually making holes.  I plan to replace the drawing pins holding up the pictures with Blu-Tak, but I don't think Blu-Tak would work to hold up the fabric.

The red fabric will, at their request, be replaced with blue.  "Red is too violent; blue is peaceful," one of them said.

Sign posted at the entrance.  Note the "no shoes please" addendum, which they insisted on.

They made a prayer wall.  The map of the world is at its centre, and there are Post-It notes and a pen to write prayers with.  Believe it or not, the "I heart church" note was done without ANY adult prompting.

Our altar.  There's a scallop shell, lots of candles, an icon that has the Madonna and Child on the left and Christ Pantocrator on the right, and a rubber stamp with a cross on it.  There's an inkpad on the floor so they can stamp themselves  or each other with the cross, and to the left, you can see a dark shape - that's a Bible.

Overview of the whole space.  They included a CD player and some meditative music.  I suspect we'll add to our library as time goes on.

I included a stack of laminated pictures.  The young people decided they each wanted to pick one that was meaningful to them.  The two kids who were absent will pick theirs later. Top left: a picture of the birth of stars, taken by the Hubble telescope. Top right: statue of Mary Magdalene turning to see Jesus in the garden.  Bottom left: Quilt square showing the burning bush.  Bottom right: The New Jerusalem.

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