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July 2023 | "Don't let God's words fall"

“Don’t let God’s words fall”
One Sunday in June, I taught a lesson in Isaiah describing how King Ahaz ignored God’s commands and ended up suffering a promised fate of crops failing, wars lost, and eventual loss of the throne. The game I had the kids play was “Don’t Let God’s words fall,” where we wrote some of God’s commands on a balloon and then played a game of “keep it up,” bouncing the balloon from person to person, without letting it fall to the ground. We had so much fun, I decided to reuse this game for Youth Group that same evening. However, we added a twist. One person was attempting to keep “God’s Words” (the balloon) up while other members of Youth Group tossed small balls their way; this demonstrated how we have to navigate keeping the words of our Savior up while fielding the other commands coming from family, friends, or those in authority. After a few laughs were had (mostly at my expense; I mean, how often do you get to throw things at your teacher!?), we changed the game again asking everyone to try to keep their own balloon afloat while simultaneously lobbing balls at others. This task became much harder.
In our debrief, I was proud of the lessons we took away from the activity:
1.) You cannot hold up your own balloon (God’s command) AND focus on trying to thwart others’ balloons
2.) You cannot be responsible for holding up someone else’s balloon AND maintaining your own balloon
3.) If you focus solely on someone else’s balloon, you are bound to lose track of your own balloon
4.) If everyone is focused on their own balloon, then no one is left to throw balls at you
The motto that came out of this, in a very Youthful fashion, was “worry about yourself.”  Of course, this doesn’t mean worry ONLY about yourself to the point of being selfish; we are all called to be in community and if someone is struggling with their balloon, we may need to help them. But it makes me wonder: whose balloon have you been focusing on these days? Do you know where your balloon is? Have you taken time to check in with God about what message is written on your balloon? In what ways have you been trying to keep your balloon in the air?
Happy ballooning!
Words of wisdom from Danica Olson and Christ First’s Youth
Rev. Jenni Piatt

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