Online Session 14 – God's Faithful People
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Sophie Scholl: The Last Days
Daniel & The Lions (Bible link here)
Characters: King Darius, Conspirator, Daniel, Narrator
Narrator: King Darius was loved by the people. They wanted the king to live forever.
All: King Darius, may you live forever!
Darius: Aww, thanks you guys, I'll surely try!
Narrator: But not everyone was super benevolent in their love for the king...
Conspirator: Hey King Darius, live forever and stuff.
Darius: Thank you, kind follower.
Conspirator: You're welcome, king. Listen, king. I was thinking – you should really be praised. Not just praised like any old king, but WORSHIPED.
Darius: You think so?
Conspirator: I really do! I think you should make a law that says that ANYONE who prays to anything or anyone other than you for the next thirty days will be thrown into a lions' den.
Darius: You do? Even God?
Conspirator: Yup – even God. [chants, growing louder] Lions' den, lions' DEN, LIONS' DEN!!
Darius: Ok, write it up, I'll sign it.
Narrator: The decree was signed. But Daniel didn't care. He really liked King Darius, but he was only going to pray to God. He was so bold in his worship, he'd pray with the windows open – anyone could see,
Daniel: [in a cute prayer posture] Dear God, thank you for my food and for my house and for my friends and family. Please help me to get along with the conspirators because I don't think they like me, and please help me be patient when they say mean things to me. Please help me to be a good person and help me to follow laws...at least the ones that don't tell me to worship humans. Amen!
Narrator: Sadly for Daniel, the Conspirators were watching him through the open window. When they saw David praying to God, they giddily ran back to the king.
Conspirator: KING DARIUS, live forever – DIDN'T you JUST sign that law that said nobody could worship anyone but you for thirty days?
King Darius: I did....
Conspirator: And anyone who does worship someone else will get thrown in a lions' den, right?
King Darius: Well, yes...
Conspirator: I JUST SAW DANIEL PRAYING TO GOD! He's going in the Lion's den!
King Darius: [gulps loudly]
Narrator: The king liked Daniel and didn't want to throw him in the den...but the law was written in such a way that there was no other choice but to put Daniel in the den and seal it up.
King Darius: Sorry, Daniel. Maybe your God will save you. [seals door, wipes eyes.]
Daniel: [smiling unworried] Maybe he will!
Narrator: The next morning, the king woke up and went to check on the lions' den. For whatever reason, he called out:
King Darius: OH DANIEL! DID YOUR GOD SAVE YOU? [to himself] I hope I hope I hope I hope.
Daniel: [From behind door] King Darius, live forever! Yes, my God sent angels and kept the lions from eating me! It was pretty awesome!
King Darius: [Throws open door to hug Daniel] Whoopie! Clearly, God is powerful and good!! I'm going to throw those conspirators into the den and see how they like it!!
Narrator: The king threw the conspirators in the den – and the lions ate them immediately. Not pleasant, but at least we know that God was who protected Daniel, and it wasn't just that the lions were full or something....The king issued a new decree, that God is good and the people should worship God!
We choose other gods all the time – we pay more attention to money, our social media, friends or our looks instead of doing what God asks of us. Share a time you chose another "god" over the true God. Sometimes we don't notice how it hurts God directly, but maybe it caused you to hurt another person; that hurts God. What does it feel like when your choices hurt those you love? Is it easy to make up for bad decisions? Why or why not?
Storytime!, Alternate Story #1
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Daniel 3:1, 8-30)
Characters: Narrator, King Nebuchadnezzar, Chaldean, Shadrach, Mechach, Abednego, Guards, Mystery 4thfigure (non-speaking)
Narrator: King Nebuchadnezzar made a really spiffy statue – it was HUGE and it was made of gold!
King Nebuchadnezzar:Hear ye, hear ye, from this moment on, whenever my royal band plays the fancy beat I wrote, all the people must immediately stop whatever they are doing and fall down and worship my statue! Whoever doesn't follow this rule will be thrown into the firey furnace!
Narrator:This was a strange decree, but the people didn't want to be burned alive, so they did as they were told. That is, except for Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They were important leaders in the king's regime, but they were also Jewish – and they were commanded to worship the one true God. Unfortunately for Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, a Chaldean saw them not bowing down to the statue...
Chaldean:KING! Didn't you make a law saying we had to bow down to your statue when we heard your band play the sick beats?
King Nebuchadnezzar:Yes, yes I did.
Chaldean:And if a person doesn't bow down, they will go...where is it again, my king?
King Nebuchadnezzar:A firey furnace!
Chaldean: That's right! Well, I saw Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego last time the music went off...and they totally refused to bow down!
King Nebuchadnezzar:[with an angry roar] BRING THEM TO ME AT ONCE!
Shadrach: Hey king!
Meshach:King, what's up?
Abednego:King Nebbie, why are you looking so angry?
King Nebuchadnezzar:I heard you won't worship my statue. Would you like to prove you are innocent?
Shadrach:Yeah, we won't worship that thing.
Abednego:Don't get him wrong, King, it's just we can only worship God.
King Nebuchadnezzar:Then into the furnace with you! Guards, heat the fire extra hot for these three!!
Narrator: The Guards put Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the furnace. The king asked a guard to check in on them – and was surprised by the report!
Guard:Well, king, they seem to be alive.
King Nebuchadnezzar: Alive? In the fire??!
Guard:Yes. And that's not all – I count four people in the flames.
Guard:Yes. I counted three times just in case.
King Nebuchadnezzar:Bring them to me!
Narrator: Once King Nebuchadnezzar heard there was a fourth person in the furnace – and that none of the people were harmed – he knew that God was the only right God to worship – no statues would do! He decided to make a new decree!
King Nebuchadnezzar:From now on, we will only worship the true God. Whoever worships another idol will be torn apart!
Narrator:He didn't know about forgiveness yet...but at least he was worshpping the right God!
Storytelling by participants
Share a time when someone asked you to do something you knew was wrong – but that you might get in trouble for not doing what they said. Were you able to choose what was right? How does it make you feel when you have to make difficult decisions?
Storytime!, Alternate Story #2
Ezekiel and Dry Bones (Ezekiel 37:1-14)
Characters: Ezekiel, God, Narrator, Friends
Narrator: Ezekiel gathered his friends to tell them the story of a strange thing that happened to him that showed God's power.
Ezekiel: So there I was, just sitting around, minding my own business, when God's Spirit came and brought me to a valley.
Friends: [respond with one phrase, not all in unison] Wow! Cool! Sweet! WHAAT?
Ezekiel: I know it sound crazy, but when God wants to show you a vision, God pulls out all the stops! So God took me to this valley, and it was filled with [leaning in, quiet, building suspense]...BONES!
Friends: [again not in unison] Eww! No way! Gross! Why would God even do that?
Ezekiel: Because God wanted to show me something really important.
One Friend: And what was that?
Ezekiel: Picture it: In a valley with all sorts of bones. God starts to speak...
God: Ezekiel! LOOK at all these dry bones!
Ezekiel: [grossed out, gulps] I'm looking, Lord...
God: Do you think they can become alive again?
Ezekiel: Umm..well...I guess I don't know how...but I do know you are powerful!
God:Tell the bones that I will make them walk again!!
Ezekiel: If you say so! Hey bones, God says you will walk!
Narrator: And then Ezekiel heard clattering of the dry bones – they were moving, beginning to be covered with muscles and tendons and ligaments and skin – they were standing, but not quite alive...Ezekiel was stunned, but God said,
God: Ezekiel, they have no breath! Tell them I will give them breath!
Ezekiel: [nervously] Ok...uh...bones? God says you will have breath and be alive!
God: Winds from all corners of the Earth, fill these bones with breath!
Ezekiel: Holy bananas! They're alive!! What does this mean, God???
God: This represents all the tribes of Israel. You thought it was too late for there to be life in your communities – but I tell you that it's never too late for God to work a miracle!
Ezekiel: [addressing friends once again] Can you believe it? God will breathe new life into us – he can even do it after we are dead!
One Friend: I just hope he doesn't wait that long...
Storytelling by participants
Was there ever a time something you thought was impossible actually happened? What made the impossible possible? How can God make the impossible possible? Why do you think God sometimes waits until the worst of times to intervene?
*Scripture citations taken from The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. 1989. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers. As found in the Logos Bible study software program.
Check-In Questions and Mentor Meeting Options
THIS MONTH'S MENTOR MEETING OPTIONS
Choose one of these activities for your next mentor meeting.
Activity #1: New Life
Green up your thumbs! For most in the northern hemisphere, it’s still the deep of winter. That doesn’t mean you can’t plant seeds indoors and keep them in a sunny spot to water and care for. Nothing illustrates new life like a “lifeless” seed placed in rich soil. (For appropriate seeds to plant inside, please see this link: https://www.gardenersworld.com/plants/10-seeds-to-sow-in-january/) For added fun, take your activity to an indoor arboretum or nursery.
Activity #2: Bring Out the Racket!
One of the silly things about the story from Daniel 3 is all of the crazy instruments the leaders demanded people play. Look up online what these ancient instruments are. More musical students might like to offer their own sweet-sounding composition to add to worship when this text comes up in the Narrative Lectionary (for congregations that use it).
Activity #3: Create Your Own
Discuss with your mentor or teacher what kinds of things you will both enjoy doing. Decide on an activity for this month that you and your mentor will do.
Instagram/Phone Check-in: Shadrach, Meschah, and Abednego (See above for Check-In Storytimes!)
- How did the conspirators set a trap for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego?
- Why was the king likewise trapped?
- What two miracles did God do within this story? (Hint: The 2nd miracle has to do with King Nebuchadnezzar.) Share a miracle you see happening today, either from your own life or from that of another.
Instagram/Phone Check-in: Ezekiel & the Dry Bones (See above for Check-In Storytimes!)
- What did the prophet Ezekiel have to do to bring the dry bones to life?
- Do you think this is a literal story or one that has a deeper message? Why or why not?
- Israel had lost all hope during this time—they had lost their homeland and any understanding of what it meant to be a follower of God. Name some ways how God’s message of new life can give a person hope.