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Activity 2: God Speaks through Prophets (25 minutes), Workshop 6: Judaism 2—People of the Law

In "Building Bridges," a Tapestry of Faith program

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Plan a quiz game, along the lines of Jeopardy (TM) or a matching game the group can play in teams or all together. The goal is for participants to match the names of individuals from Hebrew scripture with the characteristics and events they are known for. Instead of a game, you might invite small groups to role play and then discuss different prophet stories.
  • Print Leader Resource 2. Make as many copies as you will need for the activity you have planned.
  • If participants will read aloud from the leader resource, be prepared to help them pronounce unfamiliar names.
  • Optional: Gather Bibles for youth to share. Plan to include at the beginning or end of this activity a challenge to find, in the text, the names of the ten prophets provided in Leader Resource 2.
  • Optional: Enhance this activity with more information about the ten prophets in Leader Resource 2. For each prophet, find out and add to the leader resource:
    • how God spoke to the prophet
    • how reluctant or slow they were to hear God
    • the message God wanted them to share
    • whether people believed them
    • how their story/life ended.

Description of Activity

Invite a volunteer to define "prophet." Point out that Abraham and Moses were prophets and that the Torah, where the stories of these men are found, also contains stories about many other prophets. Tell them Judaism recognizes 55 prophets from Hebrew scripture—48 male and 7 female.

Lead the group to play the game or do the role-playing activity you have planned.

Afterward, process learning with questions such as these:

  • What new information did you learn during the game?
  • Why do you think prophets were important to the early Jews? (Prophets conveyed God's wishes about how people should act; they were proof that God is involved in people's lives; they carried the vision of what God had planned for the Jews.)
  • What does the importance of prophets tell us about Jewish religious beliefs? (Everyone can, potentially, directly hear God—not only high born or ordained leaders; sticking firm to your beliefs is admirable, even when others doubt or persecute you; God will send help through prophets, when God's people need help.)
  • Why, do you think, did some prophets originally reject the idea that they were chosen by God?
  • Most of the prophets were ridiculed, humiliated, beaten, and jailed. Some were sentenced to execution. What does such treatment of the prophets say about human nature?
  • Christianity and Islam share some of these prophets with Judaism. Then, why do you think Christians refer to the Hebrew Scriptures as the Old Testament? (Judaism has no sacred text pertaining to Jesus. Christians view Jesus as the final and penultimate prophet, and a divine Son of God. Muslims accept the words of most of the Hebrew prophets and accept Jesus as a prophet, but, they do not believe Jesus is a divine Son of God, and they believe Muhammad was the final prophet.)
  • As a Unitarian Universalist, what do you believe about prophets and divine people? What do you believe about listening to wise people? If you do not believe in God, or are not sure what you believe about God, how do you understand what it means to be a prophet, or have a prophetic voice?

Read to the group the text of the second Unitarian Universalist Source:

Words and deeds of prophetic women and men...

Ask:

  • When we in our faith refer to "prophetic women and men" who are we talking about? What do we mean?
  • When we say someone is prophetic, do we all mean that God is speaking directly through that person?

For more information contact web @ uua.org.

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Last updated on Wednesday, October 26, 2011.

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