Bible Readings: Jeremiah 17:8-10, Psalm 1, Luke 6:17-26
Themes: Like a tree/Choices
About the Photo:
These are cabbage tree palms and other trees growing in the Finke River Gorge in Central Australia. This is desert country but the trees grow in and beside the river bed whether there is water on top or not. They send their roots down deep.
Listening Song: Like a Tree
by Chris Falson on his album, A Tree by the Water, 2006.
Film Clip: Life of Brian
Show the blessed are the cheesemakers scene, however stop it just before the swearing if you have a sensitive congregation. This scene can be related to the Luke reading and leads into a discussion about how we are prone to hearing only what we want to hear.
Discussion: on the Luke reading.
Divide the congregation into groups and give each group a different pair of blessings and woes ie verses 20 and 24, 21a and 25a, 21b and 25b,
22-23 and 26. Ask each group to determine what their blessing and woe is about and write out in one sentence what each mean to us today. Ask groups to share their answers with the whole congregation. If you want to sum up after each one, here are some handy quotes etc:
Poor or Rich Quote:"Jesus Christ is precisely God become poor". Gustavo Gutierrez.
Poor or Rich Poem: Blessed
By Louis Evely in Imaging the Word Volume 1 by Kenneth T Lawrence (ed.), United Church Press, 1994, ISBN 0829809716, page 135 (pictured in an earlier blog).Hungry or Well Fed poem: Sunday Dinner?
Found on Bruce Prewers site at www.textweek.com (see my links at left) under Prayers, Prefaces, Litanies, etc. on the Epiphany 6C page.
Hungry or Well Fed Quote:
"If you are striving for spiritual fulfilment and knowledge, God will be there for you, but if you think you know all the Christian answers then you are shutting God out of your life." Group of teenagers.
Weeping or Laughing Quotes:
"A religion that gives nothing, costs nothing, and suffers nothing, is worth nothing." Martin Luther.
"You can't say you can sail until you have weathered a storm." Sailors proverb.
Unpopular or Popular Story: The Visit
Bits of this story by Adrian Plass found in his book of short stories, The Final Boundary, Monarch,1990, ISBN 1854240935, (pictured) are very helpful.
Have a photo or a picture or a large branch or even a real tree at the front of your worship space. Give each person a cut out green leaf. Ask them to write on the leaf what it is they need to do to flourish and grow as one of God's people. Have them stick the leaf on the tree. Play quiet music while this is happening.Alternately:
Make each blessing and woe pair into a station. Ask people to move from station to station and have the quotes, poems etc there for them to read and think about while quiet music plays. Have a response activity at each station for them to complete before they move on eg. rich and poor - a piece of modelling clay which people can model into a gift they have (material or non material) which can be shared with the world; hungry and well fed - invite people to take a piece from a loaf of bread and dip it in a cup of wine and eat it before moving on, weeping and laughing - have a shallow bowl of water to represent tears and ask people to trace a one word prayer on the surface of the water; unpopular and popular - the response activity above fits well here.
Prayer: Rest in my WingsBy Colleen Fulmer in Imaging the Word Volume 1 by Kenneth T Lawrence (ed.), United Church Press, 1994, ISBN 0829809716, page 133 (pictured in an earlier blog).
Kids: Tina the Tree
This is another brilliant book by Andrew McDonough, Lost Sheep Resources, 2012. This goes with the Psalm reading. The great thing about these books is that they only around $A5 and for a further $A10 (or instead of) you can buy on line the story in any format you need to project the pictures in church. There are also free activity sheets and for a cost activity books for both teachers and children. Visit www.lostsheep.com.au to check out all the excellent resources.