Welcome to The Creative Space. This is a space where young people (13-25) are encouraged to read God’s word, respond creatively and share their work. Every three months we will provide ideas for a creative Bible study. Then it’s up to you to dive into the Bible and create an artwork, take some photos, compose a piece of music, choreograph a dance, write a poem or story or devise a drama on the current theme or book of the Bible. Share what you have done and your creativity may prove to be a great blessing to others!

March/May edition - 1 John - Walk in the light!

Reflections on the book of 1 John

The life has appeared!

People have many ideas about who Jesus is: a good person, a great teacher, a miracle worker, a mythical man. When John, one of Jesus’ disciples, wrote the book of 1 John, there were all sorts of strange beliefs getting around about Jesus. Some people didn’t think he was really a man and others didn’t think he was really divine.

John wants his readers to be sure about the identity of Jesus. He wants them to know that Jesus is the Son of God, who was from the beginning and who has come into the world as a man to bring life and light to a world in darkness. John has heard him, seen him, touched him and is a witness to the historical reality that Jesus is both God and man. At the end of 1 John we learn the reason for his letter. John wants us to believe in Jesus, be confident that we have eternal life and know we have a real relationship with God. God hears us and answers us!

1 John provides some wonderful imagery that helps us understand what God is like, who Jesus is and what he has done. It also shows us what life looks like when we believe the truth about Jesus and walk in his light. As John describes, when we know and accept Jesus we begin life on a new path – one that is full of light, life, hope, forgiveness and especially, love.

1. Get into God's word!

Spend some time reading through the book of 1 John. As the Holy Spirit goes to work through these words, pay attention to the way verses stand out to you or speak into your life. You may choose to focus on one chapter or read the whole book. To guide your study consider finding a Bible study book on 1 John or consider doing one of the following:

  • Divide a page in half and label one side light and the other darkness. As you read through a chapter (or the whole book), write down everything that is associated with light and darkness. Extend this study through 1 John by taking note of anything that describes a live lived in the light/as a child of God and alternatively, anything that describes a life lived in darkness/rejection of the truth.
  • As you read through the book, highlight or make note of everything said about who Jesus is and what he has done. You could try and finish the line: Jesus is… and Jesus has
  • Choose a key word such as life, child of God or love and highlight it every time it appears. Make a mind map showing what it means each time it is used in the book of 1 John.
  • Choose a particular verse which has stood out to you. Do some research on the verse. For example, read a commentary (ask your pastor for one) or talk with a more mature Christian about the verse. Reflect on why this verse has stood out to you. Does it give you assurance, does it teach you, does it make you want to change?
  • Watch the short animation, ‘Liam’s Song’ which explores the theme of light and darkness as it relates to 1 John. (See the resources below).

If you would like some worksheets to help you explore 1 John, see the Feb/Apr Study Material below.

2. Respond creatively

To help you get creative, you might want to think about…

  • What key images or words stand out to you in the book of John? What do these images or words bring to mind? What do these words mean for John? How does this relate to your life?
  • How does light affect the world, objects and our emotions? How is light transforming? How is Jesus transforming of your life?
  • When you picture yourself walking in the light, what are you doing? When you picture people walking in darkness, what are they doing?
  • Are you in danger of being led astray? Are you influenced by wrong beliefs about Jesus? Are you tempted by things of this world?
  • What has been the most meaningful thing you have learnt or encountered from reading the book of 1 John? How do you think God has been at work in you through this book?

Suggested activities are listed below for each type of artist.

  • For writers

    Think about the effect light has on our emotions, bodies and nature. Use these ideas as stimulus to create a poem on the effect light has on darkness. Try to relate these ideas to God, who is light (1 John 1:5). Read the stimulus poem ‘Light of the World,’ by Vicki Williams, for ideas.

    Write a poem expressing who Jesus is and what he has done for you. Use all the characteristics you have noted earlier in your study of 1 John and arrange them poetically.

    Write a piece that contrasts a life lived with Jesus and a life lived without Jesus. For example, you may begin each stanza of a poem talking about a life lived in darkness and use a key phrase such as, “But as for me, I walk in the light,” to transition between the ideas. (See 1 John 1 & 2)

    Write a short story about a person who has encountered the truth of Jesus in a life changing way.

    Interview someone about how they came to know the truth about Jesus. Document their testimony.

    Write a short story that incorporates the line, “Then I saw the light.” This does not need to have an overly Christian theme, but may simply pick up on the idea that light makes all the difference.

    Read a story from the Gospels about a person who has received their sight (e.g. Mark 10:46-52). Write the story from the perspective of the blind person.

    Write a short story or poem that focusses on the theme of being led astray. Think about the ways young people (including yourself) are led astray today and use this as stimulus for your story or poem. Use 1 John 2: 18-27, 3:7-10, 4:1-8 or 5:19-21 to help you.

  • For visual artists

    Choose an object which has significance for you. Sketch or paint it in different lighting to show the difference light can make to subject matter. Use this to represent the presence of God in your life. (See 1 John 1:5-7 and 2:8)

    Do a self-portrait focussing on the use of light to represent God’s presence in your life. (See 1 John 1:5)

    Do or make a sketch, painting or sculpture of someone you admire who demonstrates the sacrificial love of God (1 John 4:7-12).

    Use the concept of walking in the light as a metaphor for the Christian journey (1 John 1 & 2). For example, depict a path and use colours, objects or nature (trees, streams) to represent different aspects of the Christian walk.

    Draw on John’s imagery of being blinded by darkness (1 John 2:11). Use colour, objects or scenes to capture the emotions or events that characterise a life lived without Jesus.

    Visually represent a significant verse in 1 John. This could include writing the Bible verse using interesting fonts or calligraphy.

    Paint a sunrise or sunset. If you can’t get out to see one, use a stimulus photo from the selection below.

    Choose a term that describes Jesus in 1 John or choose a description of something he has done. Try to visually depict this characteristic or action using symbols, objects, scenes or colour.

    Represent the things that lead young people astray today. You might focus on something ‘of the world’ which is particularly enticing to you. (See 1 John 2:15-17)

  • For photographers

    Choose an object which has significance for you. Photograph it in different lighting to show the difference light can make to subject matter. Use this to represent the presence of God in your life. (See 1 John 1:5-7 and 2:8)

    Using 1 John 1:5 as inspiration, experiment with taking photos of light. Try candles, lamps and sunrise/sunset.

    Think about how you could represent the idea of walking in the light (with the knowledge of the truth of Jesus) and walking in darkness (a life lived without the truth of Jesus). Perhaps ask a friend to act as your subject matter. (See 1 John 1 and 2)

    Photograph some people who demonstrate the sacrificial love of God (1 John 4:7-12). Perhaps you know a more mature Christian who you admire because of their walk with Jesus. Consider taking a portrait of them. Or consider taking photos of people doing activities that reflect a life lived for Jesus.

    Draw on John’s imagery of being blinded by darkness (1 John 2:11). Try to capture the emotions or events that come to mind when you think of a life lived without Jesus.

    Choose a title or description given to Jesus in 1 John or choose a phrase describing what he has done. Try to visually represent that characteristic or action.

    Choose a key verse that has stood out to you and consider how you might represent the verse visually.

    Capture something that leads young people astray today. You might focus on something ‘of the world’ which is particularly enticing to you. (See 1 John 2:15-17)

  • For musicians

    Compose a song that picks up on some of the themes you have explored in the text: light/darkness, Jesus’ identity and works or what it means to be a child of God.

    Find a song that deals with some of the subject matter in 1 John. Consider arranging it to emphasise the key words or lines. Also think about how you can use different dynamics, techniques and instruments to represent the ideas of life, light and darkness. This is a great group activity!

    Choose a passage from 1 John and compose a piece of music that could act as a backing track to the passage if it were read. Alternatively, find a piece of music and arrange it so it could be used as a backing track. For example, think about the way certain instruments or techniques can best represent the key words or ideas in the passage. Note the way phrases in the passage build or are repeated and use crescendo/decrescendo, rising and falling patterns/arpeggios and elements of contrast to depict these phrases.

    Choose a specific verse or chapter in 1 John and put the words to music.

    Get a group of singers together and practise and perform the a cappella song ‘The Light of God” by Philip Cooney.

    Create an instrumental piece which explores the themes of a life lived with the truth of Jesus and a life lived without this truth. Listen to “Silver Shores” or “You’ve Changed” by Tim Hunter Music, for inspiration.

    Arrange a version of the song ‘No Other Name.’ Listen to the version by Australian worship band ‘Among Nations’ for inspiration. (See resource below). For creative interest, consider incorporating spoken verses from 1 John into instrumental sections. Alternatively, you could use a poem on the identity of Jesus, such as ‘Light of the World’ by Vicki Williams.

  • For dancers

    Choreograph a dance to a song or piece of music that draws on a theme from 1 John such as light/darkness, Jesus’ identity and works or what it means to be a child of God. For example, use the version of ‘No Other Name’ by Among Nations to explore the theme of Jesus’ identity.

    Consider the verse: ‘There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear’ (1 John 4:18). Devise a group performance which explores fear – especially fears which are real for young people today. Think about how you can use movement to represent the power of God’s love to overcome this fear.

    Choreograph a dance which explores the concept of walking/dancing in darkness and light. Use 1 John 1 & 2 for stimulus. Experiment with the use of stage lighting and shadows. Tim Hunter Music has several tracks which could be used as backing tracks. For example, see ‘Silver Shores’ or ‘You’ve Changed’ in the resources below.

    Choose a passage from 1 John and consider how it may be represented through dance while it is being read. Choose appropriate backing music and perhaps ask someone to read the passage while you dance (or make a recording of yourself reading the passage).

    In John’s day there were may false teachers leading people to have false beliefs about who Jesus was. Use your body and movement to explore the pressures and influences that pull on young people today, leading them astray. You may structure your dance to address the themes of loving the world, being led to sin, having idols and being told mistruths about Jesus. Use 1 John 2: 18-27, 3:7-10, 4:1-8 or 5:19-21 to help you. The tracks ‘Stormy Skies’ and ‘Tempting fate’ by Tim Hunter Music may provide a backing track.

  • For actors

    Choose a passage from 1 John, memorise it and practise dramatically performing the passage as a monologue. For example, choose key words that are important to emphasise, consider altering your volume and speed and insert pauses. Also think about how you could use gestures to emphasise certain verses or words. This activity could also be done in a group by dividing the passage into parts and blocking it as a group devised drama.

    Explore the concept of walking in darkness and light (1 John 1 & 2). You could use music, mime, scripted scenes or lighting to represent some of the key ideas associated with a life lived with or without Jesus. To structure the script you could finish the following lines with simple phrases or complete scenes: “Those who walk in darkness… but we who walk in the light…”

    Devise a play exploring the danger of being led astray. For example, create a scene or mime that deals with loving the world (1 John 2:15-17), being led astray (1 John 2: 18-27, 3:7-10, 4:1-8) or having idols (5:21). Think especially about what ‘being led astray’ means for you and your friends. What do young people love and idolise? What mistruths do people say about Jesus? Use these answers to help you develop your script or mime.

    ‘Truth’ in 1 John is the knowledge of Jesus’ true identity – the Christ, the Son of God. Write a play which describes this truth using your notes on who Jesus is and what he has done from your study of 1 John. You could also brainstorm other ideas people have about Jesus today. Your script could alternate between these lines: “Some people say Jesus is… But we know Jesus is… He is the one who…” When blocking your script, think about how you can represent what Jesus has done. Perhaps have one person depict Jesus and another, a Christian.

    Act out or dramatically read the stimulus poem, ‘The Light of the World,’ written by Vicki Williams. Consider using interesting lighting or candles to complement your reading.

    Note: Check out ‘Tim Hunter Music’ for music suitable backing tracks.

3. Share your work.

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