Use ‘hot seating’ to explore the complaints of the people of Israel. Place a seat centrally, and invite someone to be Moses, sitting in the ‘hot seat’. Ask everyone else to imagine that they have been wandering in the wilderness for a long time. They are tired, bored, hungry and thirsty. They need reassurance that they have made the right choice in following Moses. Invite some people to express their complaints to Moses (e.g. ‘I’m sick of these snakes’; ‘my feet hurt’; ‘are we nearly there yet?’). Moses tries to argue that things aren’t as bad as they seem (you could provide cards to prompt Moses about the things that God has done – such as provided food and drink, led them out of slavery).
After a while, give Moses a representation of a snake (a drawing, a toy snake, or a draught excluder!) to hold up. Encourage people to notice that when they look up and focus on the snake, they are no longer looking at themselves or comparing themselves to each other.
Using a flip chart to record responses, ask people to suggest words associated with darkness and light. Create two mind maps or word clouds – one for the ‘light’ words and the other for the ‘dark’ ones. Are there positive and negative ideas in both sets? Which set contains more positive concepts? Are there any surprises? If light meant too much heat (scorching), would that put us off going to it? If darkness meant cosy (bedtime), would that make us reluctant to leave it?
Yet, darkness is sometimes used to represent something bad, and light something good. In the Gospel reading, Jesus’ followers (those for whom John wrote his Gospel) are faced with a choice: to carry on getting it wrong (being in the dark) or to look with gratitude at Jesus and to do good deeds (being in the light). We are given the same choice. Let’s hear the reading!