Good Friday Service Ideas: Unashamed Love

The cross is so many things. It is pain and healing. It is defeat and victory. It is death and life. But one of the things that the cross is to me is a declaration–an unashamed declaration–of God’s love for us. The birth of Jesus was a small affair, just a few shepherds and a wise man or three, but His death was public. It was out in the open. It wasn’t hidden away in some corner. It was God saying to the whole world. “You want to know how much I love you? You want to know how far I will go to make sure you know I care? Well check this out! Here is my love.”

God didn’t whisper his love to us like a guy on the phone with his wife when his friends are around. God was unashamed in His love for us.

So here is the idea:

Find an old love letter that you wrote to your significant other back when you were still in that mushy-ushy sickly-sweet love stage. The younger you were when you wrote it the better.

Read John  13:1

Then tell a little about your letter (when it was written etc.) and then read it for your group. Don’t be ashamed of your love and don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself a bit either.

Say: This same type of love–this unashamed, unafraid to show it to the world kind of love–that is how God loves you. In the cross God showed us His love. He wrote it out for all of the world to see. He didn’t hide it, he shouted his love for you and for me. The cross is many things, but one thing it is, is God’s declaration of love for you and for me. 

14 thoughts on “Good Friday Service Ideas: Unashamed Love

  1. jose says:

    As much as I love the sound of this–sharing something personal, comparing God’s love to the love between man and woman (and ultimately, marriage), I would make doubly sure that I raise God’s love above and beyond the "school kid crush type of love."

    That crush type of love and even the marriage love is a shadow of the reality. It’s a "how much more" comparison.

    (I know you know this).

  2. The Average Youth Minister says:

    I hear what you are saying. (and understand the spirit with which you said it)

    This isn’t something to base your theology on, but it is great opener to a discussion of the cross.

    God’s love is crazy unashamed He loves us enough to show it off, to proclaim it to the world. And most of the time when dealing with teenagers they haven’t experienced that deep love that goes beyond infatuation, but the silly beginnings of having a crush resonates with them.

  3. wkustu says:

    Not only is this a terribly pathetic comparison of God’s love, it is also an extremely dangerous magnification of youthful infatuation. Kids need to learn what real love is, not to be encouraged in their youthful passions. With young people today being bombarded by lies from Hollywood and TV about what love should look like, this service would only confound these issues, not combat them.

  4. The Average Youth Minister says:

    I don’t know if you have ever done anything like this before, but when you read out the letter most people laugh. In fact, if you can’t laugh at yourself and the absurdity of your 13 year old declarations of love to someone then this activity isn’t for you. So I don’t think that it glorifies infatuation. In fact it probably does just the opposite.

    But as for meeting people where they are when it comes to understanding a declaration of love I think this is spot on. If this is your only point in a lesson then yes, you may have a problem, but as a jumping off point when talking to teenagers this speaks to their world.

    In the end that is what communicating to teens needs to be about, taking the truths of the Bible and translating it into a language that they can understand. Sure the cross is about more than just school boy love, but odds are most teenagers have never experienced real deep sacrificial man and wife type love and most of them have never experience the love of a parent for a child (which makes you understand God’s love even more). To them these feelings of being "in love" are real and powerful.

    But will all of that said, the idea of the exercise had nothing to do with comparing the types of love. It has to do with comparing how the love is proclaimed. It is the unashamed love part that is the main point. Most of us declare our love in small ways. Even to the people that we are really in love with, but back when you were young and fearless you were bold in your declarations.

    God didn’t hide his love for us. He paraded it out on a hill in front of everyone. He was born in a small almost private place, but he died in full view of everyone. He loves you and He is unashamed to show it.

    If you want to talk about the world and confusion talk about people who are too afraid to let anyone know that they care. Talk about parents who rarely tell their kids they love them. Talk about mothers and fathers that keep their romance private. Talk about people who act like they are too ashamed to tell someone they love them. That is the world of teenagers and the cross stands in stark contrast to that.

    Thank you for taking the time to be a part of the discussion and I am glad to see that you champion the cause of teenagers and their understanding of love, but on this point you and I were going to have to disagree.

  5. Faith Lewis says:

    I appreciate what Shane is leading us to – even though the Love of God is more profound than our schoolgirl crush – – it is in our schoolgirl crush that we first experience the power of attraction.
    Attraction is a powerful feeling which can be confusing, especially for the Christian teen who has been able to stay in control and pure.

    God’s attraction toward us – and HOW displays it in Christ can start here, in his illustration, or maybe in something else that you think is applicable to your group.

    Like, in our area, I often see white sheets hung from an overpass with I LOVE YOU CHRISSY spray painted on it.. it’s silly, but all these interpersonal relationship things are important in youth ministry.

  6. BH says:

    I hope wkustu isn’t ever my youth leader. Caustic criticism kills kids.

    1. Dawn says:

      Please be nice. This is a place I use and I want positive, please. We are supposed to be Christian. If you don’t like it, do you have to respond?

  7. MA says:

    Interesting discussion. As with all words as metaphors. Crush and Attraction have a truth and an inaccuracy. Thanks for the idea!

  8. smcduf says:

    I understand the point you are trying to make, we must understand that everyone is not on the same level of understanding God or his love, and the point to engaging them in this way is to bring them to a place that when the gospel is presented they get it.

  9. Pastor Rod says:

    Those who have been critical of this Brothers idea haven’t read the whole Bible. May I suggest the "Song of Solomon" for starters? Tell me one of the parables that doesn’t break down some where along the line. This Brother is being all things to all people, that he might by some means win some for Christ. Continue on my Brother.

  10. James says:

    "First Love" is a powerful thing and to be reminded of the passion of first love is congruent with Revelation 3:1-8 The church of Ephesus had left their first love and the call to return was anything but shallow ans whimsical.

    Great illustration and I think I'll use it this year!

  11. Tanda Solomon says:

    Did you write “The Cost”? It took my breath away.

    1. nailscars says:

      Yes, thank you. I had a teenager who would perform it, and in my opinion he always made it better. I wish I still had a recording of him doing it. Anyway, thanks for your comments.

  12. Alice says:

    I like your idea, Nailscars. I get it. God bless you!

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