Sunday, August 30, 2015

Proper 18 Ordinary 23 B (September 6): Crossing Boundaries




































Bible Readings: Proverbs 22:1-2,8-9, 22-23, Psalm 125, James 2:1-17, Mark 7:24-37

About the images:
Upper Left: Found at Cerezo Barredo's weekly gospel illustration page at http://www.servicioskoinonia.org/cerezo/indexBgraf.html These are brilliant free illustrations - and there is one for each week of the lectionary.
Upper Right: I thought it was interesting to see this kangaroo in our garden crossing a boundary to drink from the bird bath because water is scarce in this part of the country - and the birds, who can be quite aggressive when they want to be, allowed the kangaroo to share their water.
Lower Left: This is a free image from the Heartlight site - see my link column at left.
Lower Right: This is a free image from the Hermano Leon site - see my link column at left.

Kids Story: Who Are You?
By Pamala Egan, Benjamin Books, ISBN 0715103490 (pictured at right).A lovely little story about crossing boundaries.


Introduction to the Gospel: Who Am I Game
Read one clue at a time and wait a second after each clue in case somebody has worked out the answer and is prepared to have a go at identifying the person:
When I was born, I was named Agnes.
I was the youngest of three children
I was born in Macedonia.
At the age of 18 I went to Ireland to further my education.
I left Ireland and in 1928 I began to teach at a school for girls.
In 1946, on a long train ride on the way to a retreat and to recover from suspected tuberculosis, I had a life-changing encounter with the Living God.
I realized that I had the call to take care of the sick and the dying, the hungry, the naked, the homeless - to be God's love in action to the poorest of the poor.
In 1952 I received permission from city officials to use a portion of the abandoned temple to Kali, the Hindu goddess of transition and destroyer of demons.
It was here that I established a Home for the Dying.
I and my fellow workers gathered dying people off the streets and brought them to this home to care for them during the days before they died.
In 1953 I opened our first orphanage.
In 1957 I and my workers began working with lepers.
Ever since then, more that 42,000 have been taken from the streets.
Approximately 19,000 of those have had the opportunity to die in an environment of kindness and love could feel that they also were children of God.
For those who didn't die, we tried to find jobs for them or they were sent to homes where they could live happily some more years in a caring home.
My homes (I called them "tabernacles") have been established in hundreds of locations in the world.
My main centre is still in Calcutta, India.
I am Mother Teresa.
Rearrange the clues to make it harder if you want to. After the Who Am I is solved read out the remainder of the clues and conclude by saying that Mother Teresa is a 20th C example/picture of this week's gospel reading.

Discussion Question
What do the stories of Jesus and the woman from Syria, Jesus and the deaf man from Tyre and Mother Teresa and the poor and dying in India have in common?


Listening Song: Psalm 125: Like Mt Zion
By Sons of Korah on their album, Resurrection.

Drama: Racist or Redeemer
Found in Present on Earth by Wild Goose Worship Group, Wild Goose Publications, 2002, ISBN 0901557642, page 99 (pictured at left). This drama is based on the gospel reading.
Story: Who's Who?
Found in When You Walk by Adrian Plass, The Bible Fellowship, 1997, ISBN 0745935524, page 56 (pictured at right).This story is based on the James reading.

Sermon interruption: In Pairs
To get everybody going I found that it was easiest for me to share my most enbarrassing moment first - a traumatic incident with a wrap around skirt, a farm gate and three car loads of picnickers :-) - however I acknowledge that in some cultures the first question may not work at all or may be inappropriate - it works very well in Australian congregations:
1. Share your most embarrassing moment with the person sitting next to you?
2. Now share the most exciting thing to you about being a Christian.
3. Now talk about which was the easier thing to talk about.

Poem: And You Said
by Jan L. Richardson, In Wisdom's Path, Pilgrim Press, 2000, ISBN 0829813241 page 41.This goes well with both the James reading and the gospel.

Poem: Ephphatha

By Wayne Saffon in Imaging the Word Volume 1, United Church Press, 1994, ISBN 0829809716, page 23 (pictured at left). This is based on the gospel reading.

Prayer/Listening Song: Sorrowing Song
By Robin and Dorothy Mann on their album, Let's Sing It Again (pictured at right). This can be easily used as a community song for your congregation but it is lovely to just listen to while projecting a few relevant images.

Response Activity:
Silence.
In the silence read last verse of the above song out loud and ask people to pray, thinking about the following:
Think of a boundary you need to cross, a group or a person who God is calling you to reach out to.
Ask God to show you the way to cross this boundary.
Ask God to be with you .
Ask God to help you to be open to his leading.
Silence for prayer.

Response Activity:
Give everyone a Publisher classic paper aeroplane plan (or equivilent)on a sheet of A4 (decals replaced with world globes and the words on one wing saying “The thing that excites me about Jesus is……. “ and the words on the other wing saying “What is it about my relationship with Jesus that my community cannot live without?”) Ask the congregation to fill in their answers and then make the aeroplane. When everybody is finished, altogether, on the count of three, encourage everybody to launch their aeroplane. Ask everyone to retrieve one areoplane - but not their own. Ask them to have a look at the thing which excites people on their new aeroplane and the thing that the community cannot live without. Explain that these words and beliefs shared now in this church, can be shared again and again.

Benediction:
Lord, take our lips and speak through them;
take our minds and think through them;
take our hearts and set them on fire. Amen.
 
by W.H. Aitken in Little Book of Prayers (I can't source this benediction any further than the information above - if I had the book, I have lost it! I would appreciate any help or comment.)

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