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Living in the light of Christ

Living in the Light of Christ

Topic:  To live a life that reflects the light of Christ in our daily lives.

Objective:  To give the participants an understanding of what it means to live in the light instead of darkness, and to understand that Christ is the light we need to transform our lives.

Materials Needed

  • 10 candle tapers per team (one per person if more than 10 participants per team.)
  • A votive candle for each participant to take home
  • 1 Personal fan
  • 1 Water sprayer
  • Matches or a lighter
  • A set of Gospel verses in strips (attached) for each team
  • Print out of the answer key
  • 1 Bible per team (at least)

Duration:  1 Hour

Preparation/ For Consideration: Familiarize yourself with the gospel passage John 12:46 and the verses on the Key attached. For more information on this topic visit the website of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese a www.goarch.org.

Opening Prayer:  You are the light of those in darkness; You are the resurrection and the life of all whom you have raised having destroyed the power of demons death, O Savior.  Help us to live as children of you light so that we might not walk in darkness, but always in your love.  Amen. 

ACTIVITY: Reflecting Light Challenge Game

FIRST:Select the following volunteers from the participants or chaperones: 1 Light Source; 1 Inspiration Source per team; 3 Demons (you may want more demons to increase difficulty of activity)

THEN: Position the Light Source in one corner of room with KEY for Gospel verses, a lit candle and extra matches in case light goes out.

THEN: Position the Inspiration Sources in another corner of room, each holding a set of the Gospel verses.  Verses do not have to be in order.   

THEN: Divide the group evenly into teams of 10 people or more and line up so they are facing the Light Source from across the room.

THEN: Distribute one Bible and 10 unlit candles to each team (one per person if more than 10 participants per team) 

THEN: Evenly distribute the “demons” between the Light Source and the Teams.  “Demons” should be given a water sprayer, a personal fan, or be ready to blow out the light as the team members run by and can move around for added difficulty but cannot touch team members.

When you are ready to start the activity, say: Each team is to send the first person in line to the Inspiration Source for the verse they will need to research and then return to their team.  The team will then look for the verse in the Bible.  Once the verse is found, the first person in line will run to the Light Source with an unlit candle and read the verse.  If the verse is incorrect, the first person is to return to the team to search again.  If the correct verse is read, the Light Source will light the candle.  The first person is to run the lit candle back to his/her team, and tag the next person in line, who will repeat the process.  The game continues until all the candles are lit, or when time is called. 

Say: Be careful when running past the “demons” who are trying to blow out the candles.  If a candle is blown out, you must return to the Light Source to relight the candle and try again.  As moderator I have the right to allow you to pass the “demons” without threat of your candle going out as I see fit.  Be sure to save the correct verses for the next activity.

The goal is to light all of the team’s candles first or to light the most before 15-20 minutes has passed. 

Facilitator: Be sure to allow at least one member from each team to pass the “demons.”  You may even want to favor one team over another for added excitement. 

After 20 minutes, gather the groups, have them blow their candles out   and recap the activity.

Discussion Questions10 minutes for all discussion questions

  1. Why was it so hard to return your candles lit to your teams? Look for: people blocking me trying to blow out the candles.
  2. Did the “demons” play fair?  How did they make it more difficult for you? Look for: blowing out candles, got in my way…
  3. Did you expect them to play fair? Look for: no or yes
  4. What were some of your techniques to protecting your flame?
  5. What did it feel like when I let you pass without the worry of the “demons” blowing out your candles?  Look for: great, hopeful that we would win.
  6. How did you feel when I let others pass but not you?  Look for: resentful, not fair, anger

Say:  Many of the quotes you looked up were referring to God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 

Ask for a volunteer to read:

  1. Gen 1:3 - Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light.  
  2. Psalm 27:1 - The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? 
  3. Psalm 104:2 - Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment, Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain.
  4. John 1:5 - And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. 
  5. Psalm 36:9 - For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light.

Say: As Orthodox Christians we understand God in this way: the Source of light Who fills darkness and is our Salvation.   

Say: This is a silly question, but did you know that none of us were born Orthodox?  Our becoming Orthodox Christians is a result of a choice that either was made by our parents in partnership with our Godparents when we were very young, or made by ourselves when we were older.  For whatever reason, a decision was made that each of us would become an Orthodox Christian.

ASK: How did you become an Orthodox Christian?  (Look for Baptism and Chrismation.)  At your Baptism and Chrismation, you were given light, both figuratively and literally.  How?  Let us look at some of the quotes you were searching during the activity to see what I mean by a “Spiritual Light.” 

Ask for a volunteer to read aloud the following verses.  You will highlight parts after each verse is read.  

  1. John 8:12 - Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life."

Say: “…but have the light of life.” During your baptism your Godparents spoke on your behalf that you would follow Jesus and the teachings of the Orthodox Faith.  To whom did they make this promise?  They promised God.  They did this because they knew that if you followed Jesus you would “not walk in darkness, but have the light of life."

  1. John 12:46 - I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.

Say: "…whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness."  What a powerful promise!  We are promised that if we Follow Jesus and Believe in Him, we would not live in darkness.

  1. Ephesians 5:8 - For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.

Say:  "Walk as children of Light."  In other words, walk, or actually live, as children of God.  Through your baptism, you entered into God’s family per say.  As our Creator, He is our perfect parent, our perfect father, and we can live with the authority of this truth.  If your parents are physicians, you have an insight to the medical world.  If your parents are lawyers, you have insight to the legal system.  If your parents own restaurants, are teachers, work in the church or as mechanics, you have insight to these professions.  As a baptized Orthodox Christian and, therefore, a child of God, you now have insight to life in God’s love, life, and light.  This is our Spiritual Light.

Say: Having been given a Spiritual light, we are given other choices by which to live.   

Ask for a volunteers to read:

  1. Luke 11:34 - The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness.

Say: “… when your eye is good, your whole body is full of light.” You must be careful of what you see.  What images are you allowing through you eye that will affect your “lightness?”  Fill your eyes with “good” and beautiful things.  Get outside and look at God’s creation.  Read books that are good for your soul, books about the Orthodox faith and the Bible. Spend time with the people you love and love you.   Keep “bad” things out of your vision.  Avoid violent, pornographic, and hate-filled images.

  1. Luke 11:35 - Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness.

Say: On some level we are in control whether we have light or darkness inside us.  This is something we are responsible for.  It doesn’t just happen.  We are not helpless bystanders. 

  1. John 3:19 - And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

Say: We have the freedom to choose to live in darkness or in light.  Some times we avoid going to church because we feel guilty.  The problem with this is that we just get deeper and deeper in guilt.  Jesus came because He loves us and wants to forgive us so we can get out of the darkness and to stop being ashamed.  How do we do this?  We can ask the priest to hear our confession and read the prayers of forgiveness.  Then, free from shame, we can enjoy being in the light instead of choosing to continue to be in darkness. 

  1. Romans 13:12 - The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.

Say: Works of darkness can be considered as hateful thoughts or actions, gossip, lying, witchcraft or magic, drunkenness, lust, envy.  Imagine now an armor of light.  Armor is one's protection while in battle.  An armor of light is worn by our action against evil, through kindness, love, patience, faithfulness, honesty, etc.

  1. Matthew 5:14 - You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.

Say: “…cannot be hidden.”  This is very powerful.  Imagine not being hidden from anyone or anything.  We are vulnerable.  Everything done is known and seen.  Like the city, we are seen--like a beacon.  A city on a hill can be a refuge for someone who is lost or a place full of resources.  In this verse, Christ tells His Apostles to be lights on a hill so that people see their good work and glorify God and look to God for their needs as well.  This is an awesome responsibility for us as Christians. 

Say: We are going to divide up into small groups so we can discuss these verses more.  (Mix the previous groups and form clusters of 8-10.)  Let's begin by one person reading John 12:46 (I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.) to the group.  Now, share your thoughts with your group on the following questions.  You will have 20 minutes.


  1. What do you consider darkness to be?  Look for: evil, uncertainty, things that are unfamiliar, despair, things without God
  2. In what ways are we in darkness? Look for: when we are depressed and feel badly/sorry for ourselves, trying to hide something, when we don’t know what to expect…
  3. What were some of the characteristics of the lit bunch of candles your team collected during the activity? Look for: More light and heat, harder to blow out with each candle, etc.
  4. How is Jesus the Light?  Look for: He gives us hope when we are depressed, shows us what to do when we aren’t sure, or reminds us that we are never alone even if there are times we wish we were.
  5. Are you a light, or are you like the “demons” during the activity who are always trying to blow out the light?
  6. How do we “blow out” our spiritual lights?  Look for: we don’t protect ourselves, or our light, by what we see, do, or hear. 
  7. What are some everyday behaviors that keep us in the dark?  What do we do that make it look as though Jesus weren’t always with us, or that God is not our Father?  Look for: Lie about things, disobey/disrespect our parents, treat others poorly…
  8. How can we be a light to our family, friends and to the world?  Look for: act more like Jesus, be kind, be people of prayer, help others to have hope and see that they are not alone.
  9. What actions can we take to help people see God’s love for us?  Look for: let them see that we are not alone, love them, care for them…
  10. What actions can we take to remove some of the pesky “demons” who are trying to keep us in the dark? Look for: remove the distractions on the TV, radio.  Pray more.  Return to our Inspiration Source by reading the Bible more, etc. 
  11. What can we do to relight our spiritual candles?  Look for:  Confess, Read the Bible, learn about the lives of the saints, pray more, be kind, follow the church’s fasting schedule.

Wrap Up and Challenge

Gather the entire group and say:Our hope for you is that you will always reflect the Light of Jesus Christ and that you will work to keep it lit just like the candles in the activity.  Our activity today can help us remember how we can do this. Think about the verses we found.  Which verse stands out?  Which one is your favorite?  (Give them a minute to think, then continue:) Let's share practical and realistic ways that theses verses can make it come "to light" in our lives. 

Important Note: If there are more than 30 participants, making small groups will allow for each to be heard.  Separate into groups according to their favorite verse.  In this case, after 5-10 minutes say: Let’s hear from each group.  Then, ask for feedback.

Say:  Now, as whole group, offer feedback about the ideas shared.  If you agree that it's a realistic vision, show thumbs up; if you do not agree, thumbs down.  If you are not sure, simply keep your hands down.  Remember that this is about opinion, and when we are done, we will have an idea of what others think.

If time remains, allow for a few comments to be made about why most people agree or disagree with each vision shared.  Then, as you recap some of their ideas, hand out the votive candles to each participant.

Say: These candles are for you, as a reminder that all of us are challenged to live as lights on a lamp stand, reflecting the light that comes from knowing and loving God.  Light them as you say your prayers during the remainder of the Lenten Season.  Light them to be reminded to avoid darkness.  Light them to be reminded of the many ways we have discussed being lights.  Protect them from the winds of laziness, despair, gossip, and fear.  And protect them with prayer, acts of kindness, fasting, and reading the Bible.  Like this candle, as a child of God, you were given a light for your soul.  It is now your responsibility to keep it lit or find a way to relight it.  How can we relight our Spiritual Light? We relight it by using the tools of the church: Prayer, fasting, almsgiving, participating in the Sacraments, offering our talents, and earning more about our faith. We pray that God will continue to be our Light Source so that He will shine brightly in and through us.  When it flickers and goes dim, we hope to remember to return to God, our Light Source, and try once more to remain brightly shining in Him.   

Closing Prayer:  You are the Light of those in darkness; You are the Resurrection and the Life of all whom you have raised having destroyed the power of death, O Savior.  Help us to live as children of Your Light so that we might not walk in darkness, but always in your love.  Amen. 

About the Author:  Vassi Makris Haros is a graduate of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. Having served as the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries for the Metropolis of Detroit and the Metropolis of Pittsburgh, Vassi offers a depth of experience as Session Writer for the Archdiocese.

Gospel Verses

KEY 

Gen 1:3 - Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light.

Psalm 27:1 - The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear?

Psalm 36:9 - For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light.

Psalm 104:2 - Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment, Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain.

Matthew 5:14 - You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.

Luke 11:34 - The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness.

Luke 11:35 - Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness.

John 1:5 - And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

John 3:19 - And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

John 8:12 - Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life."

John 12:46 - I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness

Romans 13:12 - The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.

Ephesians 5:8 - For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light


Gospel Verses

Cut into strips for activity.

 

Gen 1:3 -

Psalm 27:1 -

Psalm 36:9 -

Psalm 104:2 -

Matthew 5:14 -

Luke 11:34 -

Luke 11:35 -

John 1:5 -

John 3:19

John 8:12 -

John 12:46 -

Romans 13:12 -

Ephesians 5:8 -