Sunday, August 23, 2015

Proper 17 Ordinary 22 B: New Beginnings

Bible Readings: Song of Songs 2:8-11, Psalm 45:1-2, 6-9, James 1:17-27, Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23.

About the image:
Upper Left: This is the image I used on the cards mentioned in the response activity - I took it at Mt Hotham in the Australian high country. Please feel free to use it for worship and related activities. Many people don't know that it snows in some parts of Australia  (other than those of course who confuse us with Austria). If you want to know more about Mt Hotham, please visit
Upper Right: These are candlestick banksias common to south eastern Australia - they grow up to a foot in length (30cms) and either grow straight up or at odd angles to their branches. They transform a rather ordinary looking tree. This is my photo and these are my neighbour's candlesticks - so please feel free to use the image for worship and related activities.
Lower Left: This is a free image from
Lower Right: This is a free image from Imagebank - see my link column at left

Song of Songs 2:8-11

Just a note:
Many of the resources below belong best with Song of Songs,  which probably works better here Down Under where winter is coming to a close and where we are surrounded by the many beautiful signs of spring - however in many parts of the world where there are no seasons or the seasons are in reverse, this still seems to be a time of the year where particular things (like holidays) are finishing and new beginnings are happening (like the school year etc) so it won't take much to use the following resources either as analogies or to creatively adapt them to your particular situation. Have fun, anyway!

Listening Song: Bring Me To Life
By Evanescence on their album Fallen (pictured at left).

Kids Story: 
Any story will work this week that relates to being loved by a parent - why not tell them a story from your own life. Relate it to the fatherhood of God.

Kid's/Youth: The Spell Begins to Break
This is the chapter in the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, 1950 (pictured at right) where the witch's power begins to weaken in the face of the mighty Aslan and winter finally begins to give way to spring. In the preceding chapter, What Happened After Dinner, is the verse:
Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,

At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When he bears his teeth, winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane, we will have spring again.

Film Clip: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
As above - use the film, instead of the book (pictured at left).

Discussion Questions:
1. What are examples of the winter times in our lives?, in our church?, in our community?, in our world?
2. How can we be part of God's activity in turning these winters into springs?

Response Activity:
Give out a card while thinking music plays in the background. On one side of the card have the words from Song of Songs printed: “Arise, my darling. I love you. Winter is past, the rain has stopped; flowers cover the earth, it’s time to sing”. On the other side of the card print a small bare branch with room enough to also write about their own personal winter. Give people time to write and then encourage them to come out and staple a sprig of blossom over the top of their winter as a sign of God’s promise to them.

Psalm 45:1-2, 6-9

Listening Song: Psalm 45: A Noble Theme
By Sons of Korah on their album, Hand to the Plough

James 1:17-27

Found in Before the Amen by Maren C Tirabassians Maria I. Tirabassi (Eds), The Pilgrim Press, Cleveland, 2007, ISBN 9780829817508, page 105 (pictured at right).  This is in part based on the James reading.

Stories, Poems and Lots of Other Good Stuff: Proper 17
Based on all four readings and found in Resources For Preaching and Worship Year B compiled by Hannah Ward and Jennifer Wild, Westminster John Knox Press, 2002, ISBN 100664224776, pages 209ff (pictured at left).

Kids: Webster the Preacher Duck
This is another brilliant book  by Andrew McDonough, Lost Sheep Resources, 2006. This goes with the James 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 to check out all the excellent resources.

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