Online Session 16 – Jesus' Parables
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Parables: The Power of the Story, God’s Story
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"All That Lost Stuff" (Based Off Luke 15:1-32)
Characters: Narrator, Jesus, Pharisee, Father, Elder Son, Prodigal Son
Narrator: Jesus was always challenging the system! He didn't care if people were sinners or not, he loved everyone – but that ruffled some feathers.
Pharisee: That Jesus is such a loser – he hangs out with sinners and somehow wants us to believe that he is the son of God? I don't THINK so!
Jesus: Hey man, don't you think it's right for me to be happy that someone wants to give up their sinful ways? If you were a shepherd and lost a sheep, would you just say "whatever, it's only one sheep?"
Jesus: Exactly! Or, if you have a bunch of money, but you lost one of your large bills, wouldn’t you look for it?
Pharisee: I guess so...
Jesus: Let me tell you a story. Once there was a man and two sons. His older son was dutiful, but his younger son wanted to party. So he asked his dad for his inheritance to go live a wild life.
Pharisee: What a terrible young man!
Jesus: Just hold on. The young man made bad choices – and he ran out of money. He debated eating pig food he was so desperate. But he remembered his father was good!
Prodigal Son: My dad took good care of his servants. I don't deserve to be his son anymore, but I could work for my dad and at least I wouldn't be tempted to eat pig food!
[Son travels to his father]
Father: MY SON!! [hugs prodigal son]
Prodigal Son: Dad, I'm so sorry I was so irresponsible. I spent all my money. I don't deserve to come home, but could I work for you and live as a servant?
Father: Nonsense! You are my son, I'm so glad you realized your mistake and came back to us! Let's have an amazing feast to celebrate that you are back!
Elder Son: Dad – that is so unfair! I have always done what you asked, and yet I get no party!
Father: Everything I have is yours – but we have to celebrate for your brother was lost but now he has returned!
Pharisee: That is so unfair!
Jesus: It might not seem fair, but I will always celebrate when anyone comes to me!
Narrator: Jesus went on to say that it's more exciting for ONE sinner to repent than for ninety-nine righteous people to get into heaven. Jesus doesn't need perfection – just a willingness to acknowledge mistakes and try again!
Was there ever a time you messed up big time? Were you forgiven or not? If you were forgiven, what did that feel like? If you weren’t forgiven, how did that affect you? Are you able to forgive people when they make big mistakes? Do you believe that God can forgive anything?
Storytime! Alternate Story #1
Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-42)
Characters: Narrator, Jesus, person who was hurt, Levite, Priest, Samaritan
Narrator: A Pharisee was trying to test Jesus by asking him the way to get into heaven. Jesus said:
Jesus: You must love your God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength. And you must love your neighbor as yourself!
Narrator:The Pharisee felt like being cheeky. He asked Jesus who his neighbor really is – thinking that Jesus would say it's only the people who follow God's law and behave a certain way. But Jesus was unpredictable as always – and told a story about a man who was traveling down the road and was robbed. He laid there bleeding and hurt when a Levite walked by.
Hurt person:[sounding hurt/sick] Oww...help me somebody!
Levite:[hurries by, mutters to self] Oh my I just am so late I'd better hurry up or I'm going to miss my appointment....
Hurt person:I'm in pain...I need help to get somewhere safe... anybody?
Priest:[switches sides of the road, to himself] Many important prayers to say with my people today, I better not keep them waiting!
Hurt person: I'm going to die in this ditch, aren't I?
Samaritan: Oh no! That person is really hurt! But they are Jewish and I'm Samaritan...our people don't normally get along...oh man, I just can't leave him. [approaches hurt person] Hey buddy, you ok??
Hurt person: No, I got robbed and I need help so I can get home.
Samaritan: Here, let me help you find a place to rest!
Hurt person: I can't afford a hotel.
Samaritan: Don't worry – I can. Let me help you clean your wounds and we'll get you all better!
Narrator: You see, Jesus knows that every person no matter what their story is a beloved child of God. Even though the Levite was the same religion as the person who got robbed, they didn't help. The priest should always stop and help people – but it would probably have been too messy. The Samaritan is who stopped – we can't let people's differences cause us to make judgements on who is worthy of help – because Jesus wants us to know that EVERY person is our neighbor. No matter their personal story or where they are on their journey in life or with God – if a person is breathing, THEY are your neighbor!
Storytelling by participants
Everyone is your neighbor! Without specifics, share of a person who it might be hard to treat like a neighbor. What makes it hard for you to get along? How can you try to be a neighbor to them? How is being "neighborly" showing God's love?
Storytime! Alternate Story #2
Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31)
Characters: Narrator, Abraham, Rich Man, Lazarus
Narrator: Once there were two people – a very rich man who had a beautiful home with gates, and a poor man named Lazarus. Lazarus sat at the gate of the rich man begging for food. He died very poor, never having any help from the rich man. Then, the rich man died. The rich man was sent to Hades to be tormented in the flames.
Rich Man: I'm so hot! Oh this is miserable. What makes it even worse is I can see heaven from here!!! Look – it's Father Abraham! Hi Father Abraham! [waving maniacally] Who is that with him? Oh wow – it's Lazarus, that sloppy bum that lived outside my gate!! Yoohoo, FATHER ABRAHAM!!
Abraham: Yes, my child?
Rich Man: I'm MISERABLE over here!
Abraham: It is Hades, my child.
Rich Man: I just didn't think I'd be here – I was so fancy.
Lazarus: You were fancy! I wish I could have had more than the crumbs from your tables!
Rich Man: Yeah, sorry...Abraham? Can you make Lazarus bring me some water to drink?
Abraham: No I cannot! You are where you are because of the choices you made in life! Lazarus is not your servant just because you had money while you were alive.
Rich Man: [whiney] Come on! This sucks! Abraham? Can you at least tell my brothers that they need to start being nicer if they don't want to go to Hades?
Abraham: They have the stories in the Bible and the prophets to tell them!
Rich Man: Well yeah, but they'd probably listen better if you like...came back from the dead and gave them the message yourself!
Abraham: If they aren't helping people out now, me doing some magic smoky arrival in their living room ain't gonna change their mind. They knew what you knew and their fate will be the same.
Rich Man: Arrgh. This sucks! Can't Lazarus dip his finger in the water and just drop it on my tongue? It wouldn't be that hard! I'm SOOO thirsty!
Lazarus: Bro, he said no. I don't think it's even possible!
Rich Man: FINE. Thanks for nothing.
Narrator: The rich man realized his mistake when it was too late. It isn't too late for us, though!
Storytelling by participants
Tell of a time when you learned a lesson when it was too late. Would anything have changed your mind? Why is it easier to learn the "hard way" than to listen to the advice that our caregivers share?
*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: Seek, Select, Serve
Prepare an outing you can do with your mentor—search for organizations in your community that serve to help the homeless population. Ask them what one-time (or continual) volunteer opportunities they have and dedicate an afternoon or evening to help out.
Activity #2: The Great Parable Tell-All!
Parables are just stories that teach us our relationship with God, and God’s relationship with us. Think of something that is important to you or your congregation and sit down and craft your own parable. Then, record it! Post it online at #narratologyonline and/or ask congregational leadership how you might display the reading in your own faith community.
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: Good Samaritan (See above for Check-In Storytimes!)
What did the lawyer want from Jesus?
Share in your own words the parable that Jesus told to the lawyer to illustrate his point.
What’s the core message Jesus is trying to communicate? How can you be a good neighbor to all people? Is it easy to like people who are different than you? How can you simply be a decent human being to them, even if you may not agree with everything they do or think?
Instagram/Phone Check-in: Rich Man & Lazarus (See above for Check-In Storytimes!)
Share in your own words what kind of life the rich man and Lazarus lived.
What ended up happening to the two people after they died?
What’s your opinion: is the story meant to be literal, or something that teaches us? (Or maybe both?)
How can you be less like the rich man in the story, and more like Jesus? What do you think Jesus meant by saying that, even if someone rose from the dead, they wouldn’t believe?