Monday, May 25, 2009

    CREATIVE WORSHIP: Carrying Burdens

    Place an assortment of rocks in a sturdy bag (the heavier the rocks the better). Invite your group to sit in a circle. Pass the bag around the circle, inviting each person to hold it, feel its weight, and think about what it would be like to carry this bag around with you all the time. Truth is, lugging around a heavy bag of rocks is much like the way we all carry around burdens and worries every day, often not sharing them with others who might help us bear the load.

    Pass the bag around the circle a second time. For this go around, invite each person to take one rock out of the bag and share one personal burden, worry, or prayer concern with the group. After each person shares, have them place their rock in the center of the group, creating a makeshift altar. Before going on to next person say "God in your love..." and have the whole group respond "Hear our prayer." Conclude by sharing that, in the Hebrew scriptures, an altar of rocks is often created to mark a place where God has been experienced (see Gen: 28:1-17). When we take time to listen to one another and be part of each other's joys and concerns, we are experiencing God's presence in community. Invite the group to keep the altar intact somewhere in your youth space as a reminder to share and help carry each other's burdens.

    You may even want to extend this activity by using the rocks to create a permanent prayer station in your youth room.
    Place small craft rocks and permanent markers around the altar and invite youth to approach the altar at any time, write a prayer concern on a rock, and add it to the pile. Groups members can then visit the prayer station regularly to see the concerns of their youth group friends.