In "Building Bridges," a Tapestry of Faith program
Participants hear and discuss a story of Jesus of Nazareth.
Tell or read the story. Ask participants for their initial reactions. What did they think of the story? How familiar was it to them? Were there details they had not heard before?
Familiarize yourself with the following and share with participants in your own words:
Jesus of Nazareth is one of the most influential figures in history. While the doctrines of Christianity have developed greatly in complexity and specificity during two thousand years of existence in the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and eventually Protestant forms, its foundation is the teachings of Jesus.
Contemporary Christianity has moved far from Jesus' teachings as contained in the Gospels or Christian Scriptures ("New Testament"). Interpretations of what Jesus meant in his time, and what Jesus' words should mean for our time, vary greatly. Differing, and even opposite conclusions are drawn from the very same texts by different people. However, these differences—and conflicts—do not diminish the influence of these historic writings.
In traditional Christian doctrine, Jesus is represented as the Son of God (and therefore divine) and the savior of humankind (write "messiah" on newsprint) through his death and resurrection. Unitarians and other liberal Christians of the 19th century began to question the divinity of Jesus, and saw him as a man who was a great teacher who offered inspiring lessons for humankind about compassion, generosity, forgiveness, and love for one another. Today, UUs who identify as Christians focus on Jesus' teachings and seek to live more closely to the values he taught. Many UUs who do not identify as Christian also value the teachings of Jesus.
So what were some of Jesus' teachings? Ask for input and write on newsprint. At first mention of the word "Love," write it in large letters at the top. Contribute information participants do not offer.
Ask, "What impression does this give you of God? What is the God of Christian scripture like?" "How does this God differ from the God of the Hebrew Bible (the God that demanded sacrifices, destroyed the earth with a flood and turned people to pillars of salt)?"
Continue discussion with the following questions:
Distribute blank wristbands and fine point permanent markers or ballpoint pens. Invite youth to create bracelets of their own. Suggest they inscribe them with any symbol, image, or letters which remind them of their highest values, in the way that Christians wear the WWJD bracelet to remind them to treat others well. "WWJD" is an option!
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Last updated on Tuesday, November 26, 2013.
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