Thank you to everyone who has contacted me to reassure us all of your prayers. It has been really heartwarming. Although there are no fires close to where I live at this stage, twelve or so fires continue to burn out of control. My state, Victoria, has so far suffered the loss of 209 lives, 1833 homes and 3 schools as well as heaps of infrastructure. Over 1,021,000 acres of land has been burnt to a crisp. Despite all this, there are signs of hope - arson has been discounted as the reason for a number of the fires, we had our first rain around here in two months, flood victims from the state of Queensland (up in the tropical north of Australia) have been seen sending their government assistance pay outs to fire victims, over 100 million dollars has been raised for fire relief (and we only have a total Aussie population of just over 20 million people), and relief agencies have have been sent more than enough clothing and offers of accommodation. However, the news each day is grim and the total impact continues to grow - a small population means a minimal degree of separation. We still very much need and value your prayers. To be informed as you pray, please visit the Australian Broadcasting Commission web site or www.theage.com. If you want to help financially, visit http://relieffund.org.au
Bible Readings: Psalm 50:1-6, Mark 9:2-9, 2 Corinthians 4:3-6, 2 Kings 2:1-12
Theme: Being a Light in the Darkness/Staying Close to God
About the Images:
These are both copyright free and from Wikimedia.com. I thought they were both great examples of 2 Corinthians 4:6b - God, who said, "Let light shine out of the darkness" has shone in our hearts.
Make some flash cards with different emotions (eg smily face, sad face etc). Give each flash card to a different child and then tell the story of the 2 Kings or Mark reading. Ask the kids to listen carefully as you tell the story and to hold up their card when they think one of the characters feels like their card. Everybody then has to use their face to reflect that card.
Get a few kids to play a short game of the theatre sport Space Jump (if you don't know how to play this find out at http://phillips.personal.nccu.edu.tw/improv/jump.html) and then connect it to our lives and to the gospel story in that we are often so busy going from thing to thing that life often feels like a game of Space Jump and the disciples must have felt very much like they were playing a game of Space Jump with Jesus on the day of the transfiguration.
Alone: When has God's glory touched you?
Brainstorm Together: How did it make you feel?
Together: How does this effect you in your daily life?
Film Clip: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Show the part where Dumbledore, in his welcome address, talks about turning on the light - pictured at right.
Discussion: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
1. What does Dumbledore mean when he says "Turn on the light" ?
2. How do we, as Christians, turn on the light in a dark world?
Drama: Cleanliness is Next to Godliness
Found in Mega Drama 3 by Verona Johnson (ed) Openbook, 2002, ISBN 0859109178 (v.3), page 92, (pictured in an earlier post). Based on the Gospel reading.
Story: A Candle in the Darkness
Found in More Hot Illustrations for Youth by Wayne Rice, Zondervan, 1995, ISBN 0310207681 (pictured in an earlier blog). This story connects particularly with the 2 Corinthians reading but also with the others.
Prop (for above story):
Use a self igniting candle and explain: Daniel’s light shone very brightly (light candle) - sometime ours does too and at other times it is just a tiny glow. But, no matter what happens, once we have met God, there is no reason why our light should ever go out (blow out self lighting candle and then pause while candle reignites). The trick is to stay close to God.
Story No 148 in Your Point Being by Graham H. Twelftree, Monarch Books, 2003, ISBN 1854245929 (UK), (pictured at left). This also fits well with the Corinthians reading.
Listening Song: Go Light Your Candle
by Kathy Troccoli on Sounds of Heaven 1995, Greatest Hits 2003, or WOW 1996.
Ask kids to hand out a small birthday candle to each member of the congregation. Encourage everybody to light their candle each dinner time this week to remind them of the light of God.