What You'll Need
You’ll need some large sheets of paper, small pieces of paper, pens, 'post-it' notes, amap of the world, and Bibles to share.
Introduction (5 minutes)
Ask everyone to scrunch down into as small a shape as they can be – everyone will be invited to imagine being a seed, and to rise up into the shape of a tree. As people take it in turn to rise, they are invited to share an aspect of the reign of God e.g. as the first person grows they might say - ‘the Kingdom of God will be a place of JUSTICE!’, ‘God's reign will have no racism!’, or ‘In heaven there will be no branches of McDonalds’ etc. All take a turn until you are left with a forest of ideas of what the seeds of liberation will grow into.
Ask the Question(s) (10-15 minutes)
Liberation is an easy word to use, but what does it look like? What or who needs liberating today?
Jesus' name literally means; the liberator, (Yeshua – to rescue, to save, to liberate) so he is really interested in what needs changing! Get into groups of 3 or 4, and write down the ideas on the large sheets of paper. Imagine that Jesus was asking you 'what needs liberating in the world today?' How would you reply? What are the key issues that need addressing?
What sort of a world would you like to live in 40 years from now? How might it be a step towards the line in the Lord's prayer 'Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven'?
How does liberation come about? Now you have assembled some key issues that need addressing, in the same groups, invite everyone to think about people and movements that have sought to tackle these issues. Write down as many as you can think of, from people and local organisations that you know, to national or international figures and institutions. What strategies have these individuals and communities developed to push towards liberation? What strategies have proved useful, what strategies have been unhelpful?
Explore the Issue(s) (30 minutes)
Now you have looked at some of the issues, and named some of the people and strategies involved in bringing about liberation, you are now going to have to talk about your own role in this struggle.
How have you challenged oppressions that you have seen? What groups do you belong to that oppose poverty and inequalities? What things do you do that witness to God's reign of love, justice and forgiveness?
This is not a competition to see who is the most active, but a chance to share some of the inspirational stories you might have. These might be an encouragement to those who are exploring the idea of being part of the process of liberation.
In your groups, spend some time thinking about what scripture has to say about liberation. Begin by asking someone to read aloud Luke 4 v 16-30. What is the response of the listeners? What other passages in the bible spring to mind when you think of the words liberation? In what ways does Jesus describe the coming of God's reign?
Do Christians take these ideas seriously today? What would our discipleship look like if we wanted to help create this reign of liberation?
Closing the Session (5 minutes)
End the session with a time of prayer which involves commitment. You might like to sing the Taizé chant:
“The kingdom of God is justice and peace, and joy, in the Holy Spirit. Come now and open in us the gates of your kingdom.”
Give each person a 'post it' note and invite them to write or draw on it a commitment they want to make to build a better world. These could be stuck onto a globe or map of the world.
Future Discussions and More Resources
If your group is interested in exploring this theme further, then you could try some of these topics for further discussions or invite a speaker. Get in touch with the SCM office if you need any help or resources (firstname.lastname@example.org).