OPENING SCRIPTURE AND
DISCUSSION: CANDLE FLAME
BIBLE STUDY: ZACCHAEUS
SMALL GROUP GIFT
See 7:05 p.m. ALTAR
OBJECT DISCUSSION - A CANDLE FLAME. Practice putting the bowl over
the burning altar candle, making sure the bowl is large enough to
go over your candle without touching it, and that the candle DOES
get extinguished when the bowl is put over it! See "Materials"
If you are planning
to have your Saturday retreat at a site other than your regular
meeting site, then prepare a paper with DATE, TIME, ADDRESS, PHONE
NUMBER, and TRAVEL DIRECTIONS (if necessary), and make copies for
each participant. OR, if everyone knows where the new meeting spot
is, write the pertinent information up on the flipchart for
everyone to copy down.
Manual, flipchart on flipchart stand, markers (one for each
small group of three), copies of travel directions to meeting site
and other pertinent information about upcoming Saturday retreat (if
this is necessary), tape deck and tapes.
Refreshments for break.
Altar table, altar cloth, pillar candle, matches, simple large
ceramic or glass mixing or punch bowl (make sure the bowl has a
flat, even edge and not a decorative wavering one, and is big enough
to fit over the burning candle when turned upside down). Extra
pencils and pens.
Set up large group
altar table and chairs as you did in previous session. Put the
large bowl under the altar table in the upside down position.
Set up chairs for
your small groups in various rooms. Cue up needed music tapes. Set
up refreshment table.
Place a copy of
travel directions to upcoming retreat site (if they are needed) on
every chair, OR, write the pertinent information about the retreat
on a hidden piece of flipchart for people to copy down later on.
Set up flipchart
stand. Write on the opening flipchart sheet this question:
"Meditate on the
candle burning on the
alter. How does it speak to you tonight?
How does it make you feel?"
you have done the homework assignment yourselves. The leader who
does the 7:05 P.M. ALTER OBJECT DISCUSSION - A CANDLE FLAME,
should have a pack of matches in his or her pocket!
6:45 P.M. GATHERING
6:55 P.M. (exactly!)
GATHER IN SILENCE
Background Music: Put
on some meditative-sounding instrumental music at this time, and ask
people to settle down into the centering time.
Invite people to
meditate on the following questions on the flipchart. READ THE
"Meditate on the candle burning on the
alter. How does it speak to you tonight?
How does it make you
As new arrivals come
in, draw their attention to the questions written on the flipchart,
again by reading them aloud.
7:00 P.M. OPENING
PRAYER AND SCRIPTURE (5 MINUTES)
Invite people into
prayer. Begin by reading Matthew 5:14-16 WITHOUT referring to
chapter and verse. Then, finish with your prayer.
Ideas for Prayer:
"O God, help us to see tonight how you have planted your light in
each one of us. Give us courage to stoop hiding the light and love
we have within us for fear these things will not be recieved or
appreciated by others.
"Help us to feel how
you love us and believe in us. Help us to find new meaning in Jesus'
words, 'Let your light shine!' Help us to believe in ourselves and
in thee unique gifts that we have to offer others. Amen."
7:05 P.M. ALTER
OBJECT DISCUSSION - A CANDLE FLAME (25 MINUTES)
(Purpose: To help us
explore Jesus' teaching that each of us is the "light of the
world,"a teaching that we all have heard but generally do NOT
apply seriously to ourselves.)
a. Meditation and
Sharing on Candle Flame (10 minutes): "This candle burning
on the altar has been our quiet companion throughout our sessions.
Most all of us have candles at home and enjoy watching them burn.
Look at this candle quietly burning for a moment..."
As your meditate
on this candle flame, what thoughts or feelings does it stir?
What strikes you about this candle flame?
What does the
candle flame symbolize for you?
images of light or flame can you think of?
Imagine that God
is trying to say something to your right now through this little
flame. What would that be?
b. Read Scripture
and Place Bowl Over Candle: A team leader reads Matthew
5:14-16. Then, in silence, he or she goes up to the altar and
puts the upside down bowl over the candle. Let there be a pause of
silence for people to take in the image of the bowl covering the
Reactions (10 minutes): After 20-30 seconds, a leader says, "Jesus
said, 'Do not put your lamp under a bowl.'"
What do you feel
about this bowl being put over the candle?
What has happened
to the flame?
How do we
Christians put our flames under a bowl?
What are some ways
you personally put your own flame under a bowl in your daily
life or work? (Get a few people to share personal experiences on
d. Re-light Candle
and Play Music (5 minutes): A team leader says, "Jesus
said, 'We should not put our light UNDER a bowl, but up on a stand
so that it gives light to the whole house.' If the bowl is upside
down and the candle is on top of it, the bowl will serve as a
stand for the light."
Take the bowl off the
candle, and pull the candle out from underneath it. Put the bowl
back down down on the table still upside down, and set the candle
and its plate on top of the inverted bowl.
Re-light the candle,
return to your seat, and then say something like, "Let us each
meditate silently for a moment on what light we have to offer the
world. Let us think we personally might put our own light MORE
FULLY up on a stand for God's glory."
Play a short
meditative piece of instrumental music.
Prayer: After the
music is over, pray something short like, "O God, help us to
value the light we each have to offer teh world, each in our own
way. Amen." Let the prayerful silence linger for a moment.
7:30 P.M. BIBLE
STUDY - ZACCHAEUS: LUKE 19:1-10 (25 MINUTES)
Purpose: To reveal
to us the joy of unwrapping our gifts, being a blessing to
others, and discovering what God has built us to do with our
This is a story of a person named Zacchaeus whose potential for
good is suddenly unleashed because he meets Jesus. Zacchaeus is
someone with a multitude of gifts, who has for years kept them
wrapped up in selfish and abusive living.
He suddenly has the
joyful and liberating experience of pulling his true light out
from underneath a bowl and putting it up on a stand. The story
of Zacchaeus puts us in touch with the great joy of ministry,
the joy of opening up our inner treasure of gifts, being a
blessing to others, and doing what God has built us to do with
a. Read Scripture:
"Open your Bibles to
Luke 19:1-10. Who would like to read this out loud? As you
hear this story about Zacchaeus, put yourself in his shoes. Try to
experience his thoughts and feelings."
After the scripture,
ask the questions below:
Who was Zacchaeus,
and what kind of man would you say he was before he met Jesus?
If you were Jewish
and became the chief tax collector of your town willingly
collecting taxes from your Jewish neighbors for the despised
Roman enemy and for your own gain...
people think of you?
What would you
think of others?
What would you
think of yourself?
When Jesus first
spotted Zacchaeus was feeling and thinking...
Zacchaeus on to make his dramatic declaration about giving half
of his goods to the poor? What did Jesus do exactly to encourage
that to occur?
What do you
imagine Zacchaeus was thinking and feeling that night when he
crawled into bed? What else?
What about this
story of Zacchaeus especially touches you or speaks to you? How
does it invite you to grow?
When have you felt
like Zacchaeus, experiencing your life opening up and becoming
more spiritually alive?
Question (for people to ponder, not necessarily to respond
to): "When Jesus looked at Zacchaeus, he saw hidden promise and
gifts. When Jesus looks at you, what promise and light does he see
in you that you do not see or that you choose to ignore?"
Let there be a short
pause. Then, invite people to take a break.
7:55 P.M. STRETCH
BREAK (5 MINUTES ONLY!)
Ask the people to
stand and stretch. Call people to their seats in 4 minutes!
Quickly select SMALL GROUPS OF THREE for the next exercise.
(...To read the
rest of this session, order a copy of the UNWRAPPING OUR GIFTS