fAmy Martinell, Sioux Falls, SD

Warm-up Questions

In the gospel text, Jesus invites two future disciples to come and spend the day with him. What is the best invitation you have received to spend time with someone? Who was it? What did you do? What made that invitation special?

Come and See

During the first quarter of the Monday Night Football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills safety, Damar Hamlin, collapsed on the field after making a tackle. Medical personnel quickly rushed on field to administer CPR. Both Hamlin’s teammates and opponents were visibly upset as they looked on: some with tears in their eyes, others kneeling to pray. 

The NFL postponed the game and later that night the Buffalo Bills released this statement, “Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest following a hit in our game versus the Bengals. Medical personnel restored his heartbeat on the field, and transferred him to the UC Medical Center for further testing and treatment. He is currently sedated and listed in critical condition.”

I write this article the day after the football game and Damar Hamlin remains in critical condition. While Hamlin collapsing during the game was extremely hard to watch, it has been wonderful to see the outpouring of support for him and his family. Fans of both the Bengals and the Bills gathered outside the hospital to light candles and offer prayers. A gofundme page Hamlin started in 2020 to provide Christmas gifts for kids in need has received over four million dollars in donations, and players across the NFL have tweeted out support and prayers for Hamlin. Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman may have put it best, “The game is not important. Damar Hamlin’s life is important. Please be ok. Please.”

Damar Hamlin did not need a reminder about what was important in life.  His family, his teammates, and serving others are top priorities for him. I was hesitant to share this story because I do not know how the story of Hamlin’s injury will turn out.  Yet, after learning more about him, I felt his story deserves to be shared and discussed. 

Hamlin started his charity in 2020, before he was an NFL player. As a college student, he strove to provide presents for those children most impacted by the pandemic and has continued this work. Hamlin has been a supportive teammate and strives to enjoy every minute of the incredible experience of playing in the NFL. Hamlin has shared that he is very close to his family and his life revolves around them. He attended college in his hometown of Pittsburgh and picked the college in part so that he could stay close to his family and be a role model for his younger brother.

Discussion Questions

  • Have you witnessed something scary or traumatic like Hamlin’s collapse? How did you react? Who offered you support during that time?
  • In past interviews, Hamlin shared that his parents were his role models, and he strives to be a role model for his little brother. Who are the role models in your life? Who do you strive to be a role model for?
  • What are ways you have seen your family, friends, or community come together to support someone in their time of need?

Second Sunday after Epiphany

Isaiah 49:1-7

1 Corinthians 1:1-9

John 1:29-42

(Text links are to Oremus Bible Browser. Oremus Bible Browser is not affiliated with or supported by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. You can find the calendar of readings for Year A at Lectionary Readings.)

For lectionary humor and insight, check the weekly comic Agnus Day.

Gospel Reflection

In our gospel reading we have Jesus’ first conversation in the book of John. As we read it, it can seem disjointed. After Jesus’ baptism, John sees Jesus and announces to his disciples, “Look, the lamb of God.” The men wonder about this proclamation, so they follow Jesus. Jesus notices them and asks, “What do you want?” The disciples answer in a strange way. They ask, “Rabbi, where are you staying?”

The disciples are not just curious about where Jesus is living or sleeping. They want to know who he is and how he is living. They call him “Rabbi” because they want to learn from Jesus.  Jesus answers them, “Come, and you will see.” Come and see is an invitation Jesus offers to many throughout the book of John. Again, this is not an invitation to come and see the place Jesus is staying. It is an invitation to come and be with Jesus. To come and learn from Jesus. To come and do life with Jesus. An invitation to come and see how your life may be different with Jesus at the center of it.

Jesus gives us this invitation also. He invites us to come and see how our lives may be different with him at the center. When we do life with Jesus he invites us into God’s ministry for the world—caring for the creation, our neighbors, and ourselves. This is the call Jesus gives: Walk with me and care for the world. Hamlin’s accident reminds us to focus on what is most important. Amid busy lives, we are reminded to focus on Jesus.

Discussion Questions

  • Share about a time when you saw Jesus at work in the world. What was happening? How did it feel to witness or be part of God’s ministry?
  • Talk with your group’s members about the many different things that compete for their attention (school, friends, family, activities, work, etc.) How do they balance those priorities? How do they keep God as their center?
  • Who might you invite to “come and see” by inviting them to worship or youth group? How can your group share Jesus’ love with others?

Activity Suggestions

  • Look through local gofundme pages for a cause your group may want to support or create your own gofundme page to help address a need in your community.
  • Play the game found here to discuss balancing priorities and keeping God at the center: https://juniorhighministry.org/youth-group-game-on-priorities/

Closing Prayer

Dear Jesus, you invite us to come and see. Guide us to come to you in every moment of our lives. Open our eyes that we might see all the ways you are at work in our world. Center us, so that we can keep you at our center. Amen.