Bible Readings: Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25, Psalm 78:1-7, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Matthew 25:1-13.
About the Images:
Upper Left: This is a free microsoft clipart image with my text.
Upper Right: This is my photo taken in a Byzantine cave church in Avdat, Israel. Please feel free to use this image for worship and related activities.
Lower Left: This is a free clipart image from the wonderful Hermano Leon site - see my links column at left.
Listening Song: Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning
By Jim Fisher and the White Pointers on the compilation album, Tim Winton: Dirt Music: Music For a Novel, 2001 (pictured at left). This song is based on the Matthew reading.
Listening Song: Got To Serve Somebody
By Bob Dylan and found on various CD's and on line. This goes very well with the Joshua reading and with the gospel reading.
Discussion: Based on the Psalm
What is one thing about God you think the kids (in Sunday School, Youth Group, your family, whatever is appropriate in your congregation) should know above all else. It might be a Bible verse, a Bible story, a personal story, a verse from a song, a prayer or ......... When people have had a bit of time to talk it through, ask them to individually write down what they each think is the most important thing that they want the kids to know about God. I collected all of these, printed them on to A4's folded as A5 cards and gave them to the kids in our kid's club the following week. It was like a gift from the adults to the children and everybody enjoyed the experience.
Discussion: On Joshua reading
1. What sort of things in our past can hinder our relationship with God?
2. What sort of things in our culture hinder our relationship with God?
NB: I divided the congregation into age groups for this discussion because the answers differ between generations more so than usual.
Drama: What should I Do?
Found in Let's Make Another Scene by Verena Johnson (Ed.), Open Book Publishers, 1995, ISBN 0859107620, page 26 (pictured at right). This drama is based on the Joshua reading.
Index 4173 from Bible Illustrator for Windows Version 1.0d, Parsons Technology Inc., 1990. This story makes a good introduction to the psalm.
Quote: Thomas Bandy and Bill Easum from their book Growing Spiritual Redwoods.
(Nashville, Abingdon Press, 1997, ISBN-10: 0687336007; pictured at left)
"It is a pre Christian world.
It is a world similar to the first century after Jesus.
It is a world of technalogical change and population migration;
a world of systemic injustice and apocalyptic longing;
it is a world of excessive materialism and spiritual yearning;
it is a world of deep anxiety and utter cynicism towards the religious institutions of the past."
Ask people to suggest examples for each of these and then link these examples of modern society with the Matthew reading concentrating on the "be prepared" aspects of the parable more than the "keep watch" aspects..
Poem: The Zode
Found in Illustrations, Stories and Quotes to Hang Your Message On by Jim Burns and Greg McKinnon, Gospel Light, 1997, ISBN 0830718834, page 75 (pictured at right). This is a Dr Seuss poem which fits with the choice issue in the Joshua reading.
Poems, Prayers and Images: Choose This Day.
All the resources (which include the words to the Dylan song above) set down for the Joshua reading in Imaging the Word Volume 3 by Susan A Blain, Sharon Iverson Gouwens, Catherine O'Callagan and Grant Spradling, (Eds.), United Church Press, 1996, ISBN 0829801862, page 66ff (pictured at left) are absolutely brilliant!!!!
When the people decided to choose God, Joshua put a stone in the meeting place to be a witness to the people's intentions. Ask the congregation to write down on a piece of paper one of the things that hinders their relationship with God. Collect them all in a dish or a basket and bury them under a big stone (literally or figuratively).