FASTLY - Faith & Science Teaching

Part 4: Water Ecology and Ethics


3. Hope

Plant a Tree

The goal for this final lesson is to deepen students’ understanding of how the Bible views hope, through the use of biblical passages and related texts that explore the picture offered by the biblical meta-narrative.

You might begin by asking students to summarize the story arc of the Bible.

Follow this with a discussion specifically on hope and how the biblical narrative offers a picture of hope, using one or more of the following biblical passages:

  • Hebrews 11-12
  • 1 Peter 1-2:10
  • Revelation 21-22

Use studying these passages to practice slow and attentive reading. Mention that patience applied to reading means not leaping to conclusions, but slowing down enough to listen carefully to the text and test your own assumptions.

Read the passages aloud and then have students read them silently and write down some thoughts about what stands out from the passages.

Students can discuss each passage with a partner, before a discussion with the whole class.

Turn to a brief text such as N. T. Wright’s “Jesus is Coming, Plant a Tree” and/or Wendell Berry’s “Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front” for a discussion of hope in relation to action, shalom, and the world around us:

  • Practice slow reading of the text(s).
  • Discuss how the text relates to the themes of the last few weeks and the Shalom Matrix.
  • Have students share possible ways of responding to the texts: with lament, praise, or action.

Consider ending the course with an actual tree-planting ceremony of your own, as a sign of hope and commitment to care for creation.