Bible Study: Revelation 21:3–7; 22:1–5

←Kenyan Perspective Overview Evaluation and Celebration→

By Mia Wrang

Using an abundance of rich metaphors, these verses describe “a new creation.” We do not  know what exactly is meant by new here (21:5) but, luckily, we do not need to know everything. Instead, we can concentrate on that which is more clear.

One of the symbols, the tree of life (22:2), refers to Genesis. Adam and Eve had to leave the Garden of Eden due to the Fall. Ever since, our choices and actions have led us away from paradise and the struggle between the forces of life and death continue. Revelation is addressed to people struggling with the understanding that the world as they knew it will end one day. Revelation is about hope in situations that seem hopeless.

It shows us that as a Christian there is no reason to give up—no matter how difficult the situation is. The struggle will end in the victory of Jesus Christ. As Christians, we are the body of Christ and therefore part of his struggle and victory.

Revelation is full of God’s promises. It is said that while God does not fulfill all of our wishes, God fulfills all of God’s promises. As Christians we are privileged to have hope in God. God’s promise, I will “give you a future with hope” (Jer 29:11), remains valid. The future has not been cancelled. Even if everything seems to go wrong in the world, we have God who will have the final word on earth (Job 19:25).

How to Work with a Group on the Text

1. The text is read several times (so that everyone has the possibility to read part of it out aloud). Each participant chooses one or several words (maximum one sentence), which they find the most meaningful and relevant at the moment. Everyone will share the word or words they have picked with the others. It is good to sit in a circle so that participants can easily see one another. The objective here is to get familiar with and be touched by the text.

2. Divide into small groups (3—5 people). Each person briefly explains why they have chosen these particular words.

Further questions to be discussed in the groups include:

  • What do these verses tell you about God?
  • What makes young people helpless in your country vis-à-vis environmental issues?
  • As Christians, why do we not need to be afraid?

Many churches use the anchor as a symbol of hope. What, in your culture, are symbols, signs or colors of hope? Nowadays, what else could be used as a sign of hope?

Suggested time for the discussion is 30 minutes. The main findings should be noted and shared with the wider group.

3. Groups will come together in order to share the issues they have discussed. The objective here is to share and to learn from the perspective of others.

4. Choose from the following suggested activities those appropriate to your context. Please note, these will require time and preparation.

  • Together construct an altar representing hope given by God using symbols, Bible texts, and colors.
  • Plant a tree.
  • Sing a song of hope. You may wish to compose the music and/or write the lyrics for a new song

5. Passing the symbol of hope: Form a circle. One person in the circle will give the next person a symbol of hope (a seed, small anchor, or something else) with words of encouragement (i.e., a quotation from the Bible). The one who received the symbol will hand it to the next person in the circle with words of encouragement. This will be continued until the symbol and words of encouragement have come full circle. The symbol can be the same throughout while the words can differ and are chosen by the one who says them. Alternatively, everyone brings their own symbol of hope to be given to the next person in the circle. The objective here is to be empowered by the hope given by God.

6. Finish with a prayer such as the following:

God almighty, Creator of heaven and earth,
You give us the food of the earth and the water of the well.
Bless every effort and every struggle that seeks to restore the harmony and beauty of your creation. We praise you, for you have not left your creation alone.
Lord Jesus Christ, who walked our ways, you have revealed the will of God and the holiness of the earth.
We thank you for your promise to be with us always. Without you we can do nothing.
Holy Spirit, giver of life and helper, you awaken our song of praise in faith and struggle.
We thank you that you are greater than any of the obstacles we face. Amen

7. Agree on who will be responsible on the sharing with the groups abroad. It is good to share the responsibility with several people and to be clear about which part of the sharing each person takes care of and when they will do it. The leader of the group will have to do the follow-up.

How to Share with the Other Groups

Share the main findings of the group discussions. Use the notes taken during the sharing within the wider group. In addition to questions and answers arising during the group discussions, share your answer to the following questions: What is the word for hope in your language? Does the word have any additional meaning?

Share what you did as a group activity.
[start list]

  • If you built an altar, take a photo of it and share it with the groups abroad. Write also a few words of explanation about the symbols used.
  • If you planted a tree, tell the groups abroad about the tree (what type of tree, where you planted it, etc.)
  • If you composed a new song, record it and share it with the groups abroad. If you wrote the lyrics for a new song, translate these into the language that you use with the groups abroad and share the words with them.

Pray for the groups abroad during your local youth gathering.

Rev Mia Wrang (born 1972) is a parish pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland and served as program secretary on the LWF Youth Desk.

 

←Kenyan Perspective Overview Evaluation and Celebration→
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s