Saturday, July 02, 2022

Proper 17 C (August 28): Hospitality/Come to the Table

Bible Readings: Jeremiah 2:4-13, Psalm 81:10-16, Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16, Luke 14:1, 7-14. 

About the images:
Upper Left: This is a microsoft free clipart image with my text.
Upper Right: This is a photo of my daughter Kate and her friend Adrian, from Singapore, giving each other cross cultural cooking tips. Please feel free to use this image for worship and other related activities. 
Middle Left and Lower Left: These two images come from the Heartlight site - see my link column at left/
Middle Right: Staying in the town of Bethlehem on the West Bank regularly , I am always overwhelmed by the depth and the breadth of the hospitality showered upon us when we are there.  This is ka'ak being cooked - best breakfast ever! Please feel free to use this image for worship and other related activities. 
Lower Right: This is a free image from the Sundaygraphx site. 

Listening Song: Come to the Table
by Michael Card on his album, Joy in the Journey, 1984 (pictured at right).
Film Clip: Les Miserables
(pictured at left) Use the clip at the very beginning of the film where the bishop invites Valjean in and treats him as an honoured guest. This clip can be sourcesd from the excellent Wingclips site - see my link column at left. There is a cost for quality clips but it is minimal and well worth it.

Story: Take As Much As You Can
Index 1602 from Bible Illustrator for Windows Version 1.0d, Parsons Technology Inc., 1990

Story: Robert Coles meets Dorothy Day

A great story which explains the gospel reading beautifully. Found in Dorothy Day: A Radical Devotion by Robert Coles, Addison-Wesley, 1987, ISBN-10: 0201079747 (pictured at left)

History: The Early Church in Rome
A story about the generosity of the early Roman church written by William Willimon and found in Pulpit Resources, July September, 2001, page 41.


Found in The Abingdon Worship Annual by Mary J Scifres and B. J. Beu (Eds.), Abingdon Press, Nashville, 2012, ISBN 9781426746796, page 205 (pictured at right). There are plenty of prayers for different parts of the service based on all of the readings. 
Story: The Quality of Silence
Found in  Resources for Preaching and Worship - Year C compiled by Hannah Ward and Jennifer Wild, Westminster John Knox Press, 2003, ISBN 066422508X, page 239 (pictured at left).  I think this fits well with any of the readings. 
Poem and Prayer: No Such Thing (as a free meal)
Found in Dad and Daughter by Ron Gordon and Jennie Gordon, 2012, ISBN 9780646586601, page 172 (pictured at right).  This lovely poem and prayer connects well with  the gospel reading.

Taize Service: Mutual Love
Found in Worship Feast by Taize, Abingdon Press, 2004, page 26 (pictured at left). This is based on the Hebrews reading.

Kids: Chairs and Prayers
Found in Party On Together by Beth Barnett and Dr Keith Dyer, Scripture Union, 2010, page 77 (pictured at right). This is based on the Gospel reading. This resource is also available in electronic form through the Baptist Union of Victoria website, where it can be copied freely for non-commercial use. 

Drama: First or Last
Found in Mega Drama 6 by Verena Johnson (Ed.), Open Book, 2002, ISBN 0859109208, page 52 (pictured at left). This drama is based on the Gospel reading.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Proper 16 C (August 21): Hearing God's Call, Freedom


Bible Readings: Jeremiah 1:4-10, Psalm 71:1-6 or Psalm 103:1-5, Hebrews 12:18-29, Luke 13: 10-17

About the Images:
Upper Left: This is a free Microsoft clip art.
Upper Right: This image comes from This site no longer updates (you will see the sad reason why when you visit) however the artist, Don da Silva, has left a legacy of wonderful free images and templates via the site archives.

Middle Left: This is a free image from the Hermano Leon site - see my link column at left.
Middle Right and Lower Left: Both these images come from the Heartlight site.  See my link column at left.
Lower Right: a free Microsoft clipart on to which I placed the bible verse.

Listening Song: Psalm 103:1-5
By Sons of Korah on their album, Rain (pictured at left). I used this beautiful song as part of the pardon for the prayer of confession and set it to a series of images.

Kid's Story: The Gospel Story
I got this idea from doing mime clown workshops years ago. Talk to the children about the woman's physical disability but then encourage them to mime with their whole bodies how they feel
when they are sad (most go all droopy and slump forward),
when they feeling guilty (ditto)
when they are feeling bullied (ditto)
when they are worried (ditto) etc etc.
I think you probably get the picture from there :-) and can go on and relate it to freedom we have in Jesus. While you are doing the mimes with them you have to over emphasise it and make a bit of a fool of yourself, but I reckon that's not too hard for most of us.

Kid's Story: Jeremiah

Use a balloon to represent Jeremiah. First he was a deflated balloon, unsure of himself, lacking confidence and unsure of what to say. Emphasise that God didn't mind that Jeremiah was young and inexperienced and that God gave Jeremiah all the resources he needed to get the job done. As a consequence, Jeremiah became an inflated balloon filled with God's Spirit.

ilm Clip 
or Story: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe 
Use the dialogue where Susan and Lucy ask Mr and Mrs Beaver to describe Aslan. Start when Mr Beaver says "Aslan a man?" and finish when he says "Of course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you". Found in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S.Lewis, Puffin Books, 1950  (pictured at right) or in the film of the same name 

(pictured at left) Use any scene at the start where the elderly people are made out to be the living dead and contrast this with the thoughts of the Psalmist in Psalm 71.

Story: Thermometers and Thermostats 
Found in Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks by Wayne Rice, Youth Specialties, 1994, ISBN 0310402611, page 198 (pictured at right). This goes well with the gospel reading.

Quote: John Bell
"Women make up half the world's population
do two thirds of the world's productive work,
own ten percent of the world's wealth,
and one per cent of the world's land."
Found in Ten Things They Never Told Me About Jesus by John Bell, Wild Goose Publications, 2009, ISBN 9781905010608, page 83 (pictured at left). An excellent book!

Quote: Unknown Source
I intend to stay alive for the whole of my life

Poem: My Name is Known to You
by Kathy Galloway and found in Resources for Preaching and Worship - Year C compiled by Hannah Ward and Jennifer Wild, Westminster John Knox Press, 2003, ISBN 066422508X, Page 234 (pictured at right). This works really well with projected images and music and matches in with each of the readings. For background music I used Immortal Memory by Lisa Gerrard and Patrick Kennedy on their beautiful album, Immortal Memory.

Group Discussion:
What do you think God is calling our church to do?
How can we personally be involved?
Where does each one of us fit?

Adult Response:
Give everybody a small card with the following questions and a space to quietly think.
Are we........
  • Like Jeremiah? - despite feeling inadequate or inexperienced we trust God and answer God's call to us
  • Like the Psalmist? - willing and able to share a lifetime of experiences which reflect what we have learnt as we have grown into our relationship with God
  • Like the woman in the gospel? - eagerly sharing what God has recently done in your life.
  • Like the leader of the synagogue in the gospel? - unable to recognise God at work because our religious baggage gets in the way

Meditation: Old Age
Found in Meditations from the Iona Community by Ian Reid, Wild Goose Publications, Trowbridge, 1998, ISBN 1901557022, page 81 (pictured at left). This goes well with the Psalm.

Taize Service: Prophetic voices
Found in Worship Feast by Taize, Abingdon Press, 2004, page 42 (pictured at right). This is based on the Jeremiah reading.

Prayer Exercise: Scribble Prayers
Found in Prayer: Heart of the Pilgrimage by Jenny Youngman, Upper Room Books, Nashville, 2007, ISBN 0835898369, page 62.  This is based on the Psalm.

Creative Ideas: Jeremiah: The Prophet of Judgement
Found in Multi-Sensory Prophets by Mike Law, Scripture Union, 2007, ISBN 9781844272587, page 29 (pictured at right). This is based on the Jeremiah reading.
The one leper
Found in In Due Season by Herbert F Brokering, Augsburg Publishing, 1966 (pictured at left) in the Autumn section and based on the Psalm reading.

Psalm 103
Found in The Psalms: An Artist's Impression by Anneke Kaai and Eugene Peterson, Piquant, 1999, ISBN 0 9535757 0 5, page 32. 

Drama: The SWAT Test
Found in Mega Drama 6 by Verena Johnson (Ed.), Open Book, 2002, ISBN 0859109208, page 49 (pictured at left). This drama is based on the Hebrews reading.   

    Friday, June 24, 2022

    Proper 15 C (August 14): Restoring people/Sticking With God/Hanging In There/Running the Race



    Bible Readings: Isaiah 5:1-7, Psalm 80:1-2, 8-19, Hebrews 11:29-12:2, Luke 12:49-56

    About the Images:
    Upper left  This is a free background powerpoint template from
    Upper right:This is a free image from
    Middle Left: Psalm 80 talks about God "enthroned above the cherubim".  This is a reminder to the people reading/singing the Psalm of the Ark of the Covenant, a wooden box with golden carvings of heavenly beings (cherubim), which led the people out of Israel.  This is my photo of a replica which I saw in Timna, Israel a few years back.
    Middle Right:This is a free image from Heartlight - see my link column at left. 
    Lower LeftThis is a free image from Heartlight - see my link column at left. 
    Lower Right:  I call this "Kindling the Fire".  It is my image taken at Dooleena Gorge so please feel free to use it for worship and related activities. (more info on this epic spot: 

    Listening Song: Standing Outside the Fire
    By Garth Brooke on his album, In Pieces (pictured at right). This song goes well with the gospel reading.

    Listening Song: Witness
    By Nicole C Mullen on her album, Talk About It.
    (pictured at left).  This song goes well with the Hebrews reading.

    Listening Song: Psalm 80: Restore Us
    By Sons of Korah on their album, Resurrection (pictured at right).

    Confession Prayer Based on The Balloon Man Story (below):
    Give everyone a balloon.
    Pray along the following lines leaving spaces for people to pray by themselves: Are you hanging on to a handful of balloons that keep you from sticking with God. Are they friends? Bad Habits? Possessions? your pride? Your career? A complacent faith? A self indulgent faith?

    Assurance of Pardon:
    Maybe it is time to let go of those balloons so you can stick close to God.
    Take home the balloon, find a place to be alone with God, blow up your balloon and, as you let it go, let go of what it represents to you - the things which come between you and God. And remind yourself that God loves you, God wants to be with you and God gives you strength and courage.

    Psalm: Psalm 80
    A great version to be found in Psalms Now by Leslie F Brandt, Concordia, (3rd Ed.) 2004, ISBN 0758606486 (pictured at right).

    Children's Drama: Stick with God
    Have a roll of paper and large cut out individual letters for the words "Stick with God" nearby. As you tell the children that they are going to make a banner with the words "stick with God" on it, walk across and pick up the roll of paper and letters. As you return, trip over and drop the lot all over the floor. Make a bit of a drama of the whole thing and wail, 'oh no!! Look at the mess I've made. It's all spoilt!! What am I going to do now?!!". Have a few people in the congregation worded up to offer you advice:
    eg., Pray about it.
    Yell at God for not helping enough.
    Figure it out for yourself.
    Give up and do something else.
    Ask for help.
    Ask the kids what you should do. You will be amazed how astute they will be. Finish by giving them the roll of paper, the letters, glue, scissors and magazines. Ask them to sort the letters, make the banner and put pictures that show situations which we could pray for as we stick with God.

    Adult Discussion:
    If you were sinking in quick sand (or get them to make suggestions) would you
    Pray about it.
    Yell at God for not helping enough.
    Figure it out for yourself.
    Give up and do something else.
    Ask for help.

    Film Clip: How To Make An American Quilt
    Show the clip which shows the making of the laundry wall covered in broken crockery. You will have to introduce this clip by explaining how the sister in law and husband have betrayed the woman very badly.

    Discussion: How To Make An American Quilt
    What are the obstacles that hinder our faith and prevent us sticking close to God.

    Film Clip: Despicable Me
    I found this at the Wingclip site (see my links) and I used the clip where Gru lays down the house rules. I think it goes well with the Psalm for this week.

    Discussion: Despicable Me
    These questions were aimed mainly at the children with adult help.
    1. Have you ever found it difficult to work out what the rules are?
    2. What happens when you get it wrong?
    3. How do you think the people in the psalm were feeling?
    4. How do you think God was feeling?

    Film Clip: Amazing Grace
    (pictured at right). Use the clip where Newton and Wilberforce are talking together in the church. This is one of the film's free clips available from the film's web page. This goes well with the Hebrews reading.

    Discussion Questions: Amazing Grace
    1. Share what you know about Newton and Wilberforce.
    2. What do you think drove each man to persevere for so long for the abolition of the slave trade?
    3. How important do you think our determination and our perseverance are to our faith?

    Drama: I've Got the Faith
    Found in Mega Drama 6 by Verena Johnston (Ed.), Open Book, 2002, ISBN 0859109208, page 28 (pictured at left). This drama fits in well with the Hebrews reading.

    Story: Hindrances
    Story No. 302 in in 750 Engaging Illustrations for Preachers, Teachers and Writers by Craig Brian Larson and Leadership Journal, Baker Books, 2002, ISBN 0801091551 (pictured at right). This goes well with the Hebrew reading.

    Story: The Balloon Man
    Found in More Hot Illustrations for Youth by Wayne Rice, Zondervan, 1995, ISBN 0310207681, page 39 (pictured at left). This story goes really well with the Hebrews reading.

    Meditation Stations based on the Hebrews reading:
    Encourage people to visit these stations in any order and allow about 5 minutes per station.
    Station 1:
    Have a large Christ candle burning beside tea lights, a bowl of sand and some pens. On enough small slips of paper for everyone, print the following:
    The Cloud of Witnesses: Have a think about the people who have influenced your faith and helped you focus on Jesus. They may be biblical characters, they may be figures from history, they maybe past or present friends, workmates, teachers or family members. Think of the one or two who have influenced and encouraged you the most. Write their initials on the bottom of a tea light and then light it and place it on the tray. Spend some time thanking God for that person/s. Also think of the people who you could be encouraging in their faith journey. Pray for them as well.

    Station 2:
    Print the following on enough slips of paper for everyone:
    1. Become aware of the gentle rhythm of your breathing.
    2. Remind yourself that God is present here tonight.
    3. Read these words from Hebrews 12:1-3 (NLT)
    Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.
    4. What are the things that slow you down and stop you focusing on Jesus? Have a chat with God about them.
    5. Which are the phrases or words or feelings in these verses that speak to you. Think about them for awhile and be open to what God is saying to you.
    6. Turn the verses into a prayer.
    Station 3.
    Have a large collection of photos or pictures of people running in all sorts of places, passing batons, resting, puffing, running together and alone. I used all the Microsoft photo clip art using the search word "running", but use any resources you have at your disposal - as long as there is a big enough selection for about a third of your people to choose one each at any given time.
    Also print the following on enough slips of paper for everyone:
    1. Spend some time looking at all the photos.
    2. What kind of a race are you running?
    3. How is your determination and perseverance?
    4. Are you running with friends?
    5. Are you focussed on Jesus?
    6. Choose the photo you think best describes how you feel at the moment and then talk to God about it.
    7. Return the photo before you move on to the next station.


    Drama: Ready, Set, G....d
    Found in Mega Drama 6 by Verena Johnson (Ed.), Open Book, 2002, ISBN 0859109208, page 46 (pictured at left). This drama is based on the Hebrews reading.

    Meditation: The Saints of God
    Found in He Was in the World by John L. Bell, Wild Goose Publications, 1995, ISBN 094798870X, page 46 (pictured at left) and based on the Hebrews reading.