Note: It is recommended that the word document provided in the "related assets" below should be used when printing the Leader's Edition of the I AM series.
I AM Leader’s Edition with Instructional Notes
Title: I AM Series: Session 3 I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life
Age: 8 to 12 years
Liturgical Time: Any
Doctrinal Content: Jesus Christ is the Way into the heaven, the Truth, and the Life.
Direct Aims: The I AM series aims to help young people understand their relationship to Christ and to others based on the I AM statements. Participants will explore what it means for Christ to be the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Indirect Aims: An additional aim is for young people to understand specific ways that they may emulate Christ.
Materials for the Lesson Plan:
I AM Participant Workbook
Orthodox Study Bible Bible
No Man Ever Spoke as This Man: The Great I AM’s of Jesus by Fr. Anthony Coniaris
Items for Scavenger Hunt
You will need to designate (#) locations for your scavenger hunt and have a corresponding amount of helpers to coordinate the clues. Print out the clues. Have a complete version of both the correct and incorrect creed ready for the end of the hunt. If weather permits, hold this lesson outside on parish property or a local park. You may want to consider breaking this session into two parts.
20-30 minutes: Welcome participants and conduct scavenger hunt.
5 minutes: Read the Bible passage below to introduce the lesson on the way, the truth, and the life.
What does it mean to be “the way, the truth, and the life?”
How does the truth help us?
In what ways is Jesus all three?
John 14: 1 – 7
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself; that where I am you may be also. And where I go you know and the way you know.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going, and how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on, you know Him and have seen Him.”
Jesus told His disciples that He is “the way, the truth, and the life.” Let’s take a look at what each of these means to us and our relationship with Christ.
5 minutes: Read the section below to remind participants of the scavenger hunt they completed earlier in the day.
You began this lesson with a special scavenger hunt about the Creed, which shows us “the way” to live our lives. What made the hunt difficult? What made the hunt easier?
Helpful: If you already knew the Creed completely, if you asked the right questions at the help desk,
Difficult: not knowing the Creed (the way), following the wrong directional signs, etc.
10 minutes: Read the passage below then have participants share other situations where the way you do something isn’t as important as getting the job done (as long as you make it on time there are usually different routes you can take to get to school or work; scoring goals or points is important for winning a game although there can be multiple ways to score; there are many of ways to prepare particular foods and one way isn’t necessarily the right way as long as you like the way it tastes, etc.).
Knowing the right way
We make many decisions each day about the right way to do something and in many cases, there can be more than one right way. For example, you probably have to make choices about how to get all of your homework done each night, as well as, attend extra-curricular activities to which you have made commitments. As long as the work gets done, it doesn’t matter too much whether you do the homework before practice, after you get home, or during a study hall at school.
Read the first two full paragraphs on page 64 beginning with “there are many ways…” then read How Can We know the Way on page 58. Follow with the passage below.
How Can We Know the Way tells us that there is only one way to enter the kingdom of heaven, and that is Jesus. He is the Way! Although there is only one, the good thing is that we know the path and it has been made very clear to us. If we remain on the right path by doing what Jesus asks us to do, we can’t get lost!
Older children may be familiar with Eastern religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism which emphasize looking inward to the self for “the way” to happiness; you can discuss the fact that these are in complete opposition to the idea of Jesus as the Way.
10 Minutes: Invite the participants play two truths and a lie, or some other game where they need to distinguish between true and untrue statements. Talk about the definition of truth and what clues they used to determine the truth in the game.
10 minutes: Take the class outside into the sunshine. Give each participant a candle and have them light it. Ask the participants to answer the following questions:
- Is your candle producing light? How do you know?
- Is it illuminating something near you?
- Why does the candle not throw light in the area around you?
- If the sun is brighter than the candle, does that mean that the candle is not a “real” light?
Read the following passage when you come back to the classroom.
Think about your candle. What happened when you blew it out? Nothing really happened because the sun was shining, right? The truth of Jesus Christ is like the Sun. Its light is everywhere and nothing can shine brighter than Him. The candles were all small parts of the light; little bits of truth that men may “discover” in life, but none of them were the whole truth, which would answer all questions the way the sun lights and nourishes all things.
5 minutes: Read the last paragraph on page 78 and finish the chapter. Then read below.
It is one thing to know the truth and another to live it. What are some ways that we can show that Jesus is Truth? (going to church, choosing to do what Jesus would want us to do, being an example to others, etc.)
15 minutes: Read through the passage below and discuss the importance of recording the truth (perhaps use the analogy of police officers writing down all details they can record, from lots of witnesses to get the whole story and to remember it for a long time). Have participants copy the Nicene Creed into their workbooks.
Protecting the Truth
We all know that over time, we can forget what is true about something. It gets harder to remember what happened at a particular event or the specific words someone said to us, the more that time passes. As the years passed after Jesus returned to heaven, people started to forget the truth about what happened when He was here on Earth.
Others purposely changed the truth and spoke heresy or untrue statements about God and the Church. To set the record straight all of the bishops and priest came together to remember and record the truth. This was called the First Ecumenical Council. During the First and Second Ecumenical Councils they wrote the Creed, so that everyone could remember the Truth about the Faith.
The Nicene Creed
I believe in one God, Father Almighty, Creator of
heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of
God, begotten of the Father before all ages;
Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten,
not created, of one essence with the Father
through Whom all things were made.
Who for us men and for our salvation
came down from heaven and was incarnate
of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became man.
He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate,
and suffered and was buried;
Rising on the third day,
according to the Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father;
And He will come again with glory to judge the living
and dead. His kingdom shall have no end.
And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Creator of life,
Who proceeds from the Father, Who together with the
Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified, Who
spoke through the prophets.
In one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.
I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
I look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the age to come.
Written by Natalie Kapeluck-Nixon and Kira Senadak
Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry
Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA
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