January 2019 // Journeying together: Session 3 - Jesus calms the water
Meeting aim: To see the story in its fullness; to try and feel more completely the danger of the storm and the relief and peace felt as Jesus calmed it.
To download as a PDF, click here.
Bible passage: Mark 4:35-41
Background: The story of Jesus calming the storm is an amazing one, if not a little abstract as most of us are not skilled or experienced sailors! We know that some of the disciples were skilled sailors, and it was unlikely that they have unwittingly got caught in a storm. For them to feel out of control meant that the storm was unexpected and violent. This story reminds us that we are frail humans, and that we all need Jesus’ help when our storms come!
Invite the group to gather. Welcome everyone by name and share out any refreshments you have brought with you. Chat about the week just gone and then ask the group to discuss the worst storm they have ever seen.
You will need: balloons; kitchen sponges; scissors; two lengths of plastic guttering
Before the session, seal up the ends of both pieces of plastic guttering so they are watertight! If you can, use guttering ends. This activity is best done outside if possible. If not, make sure the guttering is secure and not easily knocked. Half fill the guttering with water so that it is deep enough for the boats to sail on.
Boats can be made by cutting a small slit in the sponge and pushing a balloon through it, so that the neck of the balloon goes underneath the sponge and the inflated part is above it, like a big, round sail. You can make the balloon sail by inflating the balloon and setting it loose on the water to push along as it releases air.
Ask each person to make their own boat with a sponge, balloon and scissors. They could even cut the sponge into a boat shape. Then have a tournament of races using the two strips of guttering. The person whose balloon travels the furthest moves forward in the tournament to compete in the next round. Keep whittling down the competitors until there is a grand final between the last two!
You will need: Bibles; storm sound effects (easily available online); ‘boat-building’ materials (see below)
Read the story to the group, but act it out on a pretend boat at the same time. Encourage the group to form a boat shape. Explain that they should do their best rocking about when the storm picks up! Have some storm noises to hand and play them at the right point, stopping when Jesus calms the storm. If you have the resources, you could build a boat out of chairs, or with cardboard. You could make a sail out of an old sheet or tablecloth. The more elaborate you are in your boat building the more fun it will be, and the more the group will get into it.
Use the questions to prompt discussion and explore the passage. You could stay in your boat formation if you think that would help the group stay engaged.
- How do you think the disciples felt during the storm?
- How do you think they felt after the storm?
- What does this story tell us about Jesus?
- What do you think this story tells us about faith
- In which situations in our lives might remembering this story be helpful and encouraging?
- Have you had any moments that felt stormy, but you knew God was with you and was looking after you?
You will need: straws; string; paper; glue; felt-tip pens; other banner-decorating resources
“Peace! Be still!” The three words Jesus used to calm the storm. These three words remind us of the power and peace he brings to scary situations. The creative response today is to make banners. The group can take them home and put them somewhere to remind them of who Jesus is when things feel stormy.
Make a banner by folding a piece of paper over a straw (cut off the bendy bit of the straw). Glue both sides of the paper together and cut a triangle shape at the bottom so that it looks like a flag pointing down. (It is worth making a prototype of this to show them.) To be able to hang the banner up, thread some string through and loop it round before tying it at the top, enabling them to hang it on the hoop.
Finish the banners by decorating them with the words “Peace! Be still!” Give the group felt-tip pens, or stamps and ink for the letters, and some decorative bits to stick on
You will need: a copy of Rend Collective’s ‘My lighthouse’ and the means to play it; copies of the lyrics for the group to read
Explain that we often encounter scary situations in our lives. We may feel as though we’re in danger or there’s no way out. We might feel powerless to bring about change. But we know that Jesus is still alive, and that he is with us, even if it seems as though he might be asleep! In these times we can remember the words that Jesus said to the storm: “Peace! Be still!”
The Rend Collective song, ‘My lighthouse’, talks about Jesus being the peace in our troubled sea. While you play the song, ask the group to think about the times when they feel scared, in the middle of a stormy sea and in need of peace, and call to mind the image of Jesus, who says “Peace! Be still!” to the stormy seas.