Before the Session

Facilitator: In advance of the session

  • Have the Bible Background Video ready to view.
  • Review today’s scripture text and the session activities to help better facilitate the discussion.
  • Encourage your group to listen to the Faithelement podcast ahead of the next session (Share the link via email or social media)

Context (From the Youth Session Page)

Give each person an index card and tell them to write their name at the top of the card. Explain that they are going to answer five questions about themselves on the card that will be read to the entire group. Use these questions or come up with their own.

  • What is one thing that you absolutely cannot live without?
  • If Hollywood decided to make a movie about your life, who would play you?
  • What piece of advice would someone give to you?
  • Someone sends you a care package, what do you hope is in it?
  • You get to choose where to go eat. Where are you going?

Collect all the cards and give each person another piece of paper, explaining that you are going to read all five answers from each card and they are to guess on their paper who the writer of the card really is. Once you have read all the cards, let everyone guess which person wrote each card, then ask:

  • If you had to guess any of these things, what was the basis for your guesses?
  • Why might someone pick up on clues from some people’s answers but not others?
  • Who in this group likely knows you better than anyone else?
  • How does it feel to know that people here know about you?
  • What might it be like to be a part of a group where no one cares to know anything about you?
  • Why is it important to have relationships in your life?

Content (From the Mind Session Page)

Read John 17:1-11, then watch the Bible Background Video.

Then ask:

  • For what does Jesus ask in verses 1-5, and why does he say, “the time has come?”
  • How might it change our understanding of this prayer to remember its context?
  • In what ways can you see Jesus’ ministry reflected in what Jesus is praying?
  • What work is Jesus speaking of in verse 4?
  • What do you think Jesus means by “belonging” here, and why might he want to emphasize it?
  • What is the “oneness” or unity Jesus speaks of in verse 11?
  • How could Jesus’ followers be one, in the same way Jesus and God are one?
  • What does this prayer communicate to Jesus’ followers about their purpose?
  • How would you describe the relationship between Jesus (the Son) and God (the Father) from these verses and why?

Closure (from the Current Session page)

Review together the Vatican’s introduction to the theme for the 2017 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, emphasizing some of the key points in the “The Ecumenical Situation In Germany” and the “Compelled to witness” sections of this page.

Ask:

  • What most strikes you about this event and why?
  • Martin Luther’s actions aside, why is it so significant that this event arose from German churches?
  • The page discusses some key issues facing churches in Germany, such as how to share communion; how to ensure that the needs of one church are not more valued than the needs of the other; and an overall lack of understanding of the Christian faith. In what ways are these differences like or unlike the differences between Christian congregations that we face in our country?
  • What kinds of steps can congregations take to address the kinds of things that divide the people within them?
  • How might our country or world be different if all of Jesus’ followers truly were unified – other than through their dislike for each other?
  • if we are forced to accept the fact that we may never truly be “one” as Jesus envisions for the first disciples, on what kinds of things can we agree, and how might they help us move closer to the ideal expressed in the scriptures?

Close by praying together the prayer from “Day Seven,” as found in the resource:

God of all goodness, we give you thanks
for reconciling us and the whole world
to yourself in Christ.
Empower us, our congregations and our churches
in ministries of reconciliation.
Heal our hearts and help us
to spread your peace.
“Where there is hatred, let us sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.”
We pray in the name of Christ Jesus,
by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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