Update: Interlinc picked this one up for their YLO80 music magazine, too.
Artist: The Letter Black
Album: Breaking the Silence
Label: Tooth and Nail
Video: Hanging By a Thread
Writer: Kirk Moore
Ministry: Union Congregational United Church of Christ
Location: Somonauk, Illinois
God’s Unconditional Love, Desperation
Students will learn of and discuss God’s limitless and unconditional love.
What’s underneath? Get a thin bath towel or a top sheet folded into about a 4’X4’ square. Pick several differently-shaped items. Place items one at a time under the towel and ask the students to guess what’s underneath. They can look at the shape of the object and ask as many questions as they would like. After each item has been correctly guessed, replace it with another item. Keep playing until all items have been guessed or about 10 minutes have passed. No prizes with this game, but everyone gets a hearty “congratulations” and encouragement.
Say: It wasn’t impossible to see what was underneath the sheet, but without asking questions and trying to understand what it was, it was very difficult. It’s also not impossible to know what someone is feeling even if they are trying to hide their emotions. But without getting to know someone, talking with them and listening intently, it is very difficult to understand how they feel. The video we’re going to watch today describes a person who feels desperate, but who is also afraid to be candid enough to let someone else get to know them enough to offer help and understanding. There’s more to it, too. Think of what else you experience while watching the video.
Play Hanging by a Thread from The Letter Black
During the video, have students fill in the blanks of these lyrics or write words describing emotions they feel as they watch.
______ me _____ as I am
I'm ______ _______
I'm ________ so hard to _______
_______ me ________ through my flaws
Know I _______ ______ ______
I'm _________ on by a _________
Say: Mark Anthony, the one who plays guitar and sings background vocals in the band (and he’s married to the lead singer, Sarah Anthony, says this about The Letter Black Songs. “Our songs are not always happy, but rather about real life situations. All of us go through different chapters in our lives, and in these chapters we write letters of good and bad times. Some letters in our chapters, we are happy to share. Others, we are not so proud to reveal.” This song is a song filled with sadness, desperation and a longing to be rescued and made safe. It’s the same kind of feelings revealed in many Psalms.
Invite students to look up, read, and discuss:
- What similarities do you see between the song and the Psalm?
- What do you think the Bible says about how God feels about people who have made mistakes and who feel like they are ‘holding on by a thread?’
- Who is included in God’s blessings?
- Who is excluded?
- What did God call acceptable?
- Peter thought that eating forbidden food was an abomination. How could God call eating the food acceptable?
- What do you think the message of this Bible reading is?
- What single word descriptions would you use about this Bible reading?
Closing Prayer: God of unconditional love. Thank you for understanding us and for loving us through the best and worst of times. Help us to share that unconditional love with all. Amen.