Sunday, November 29, 2015

Advent 2 C (December 6): God's Messengers

































Bible Readings: Luke 1:68-79, Baruch 5:1-9, Malachi 3:1-4, Luke 3:1-6, Philippians 1:3-11

About the images:
Upper Left: This is the Australian version of the annunciation found in the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth in Israel. It is my photo so please feel free to use it for worship and related activities.
Upper Right: This is some of the brilliant clipart from Church Galleries - a site which has had an eventful life recently due to the mindless and vandalistic nature of hackers.  It is back up and running now and well worth the slight expense required to download the excellent slides.
Lower Left: Another slide from Church Galleries - you can access the site via my link column at left.
Lower Right: John Bell says that in many ways we have handed the Nativity story over to children. Using adults for the Nativity plays gives a more realistic and true perception of the story to everyone. Alma (may she rest in peace), a wonderful lady who belonged to a church I once served in, made a fantastic Gabriel. It is my photo.  Alma was, and I am, very happy for you to use this photo for worship and related activities. 

Responsive reading:
T
he Luke 1:68-79 makes a good responsive reading

Film Clip: Sting - The Angel Gabriel
 
 
Film Clip: Little Women
Show the scene from this film (pictured at left) near the beginning where the girls share their breakfast with the poor family and the lady of the house calls them angels (messengers) from God.

 

Drama: Lucky Day
Found in Cloth For the Cradle by Wild Goose Worship Group, Wild Group Publications, 1997, ISBN 1901557014, page 38, (pictured at right).  This drama is a great introduction to the Luke 1 reading.

Discussion and Activity: Bible study
Print the latter four bible readings above onto A4/letter sized paper - a different colour for each reading - and have enough printed so that each person receives one page only, not all four. Project the four questions below or have the questions printed on the bottom of each reading:
1.What is the good news in this reading?
2. How is this message helpful to christians/believers?
3. How is this message helpful to those with little or no knowledge of Jesus?

4. The name "Malachi" (one of the readings) means messenger - do you see yourself or this congregation as a messenger? How?
Get people to sort themselves into same paper colour groups of five or six, maybe more, and encourage them to discuss the questions in the light of their particular reading. Ask each group to present to the congregation the thing that impacted on them the most as they discussed the
questions. Encourage them to present their finding via a homemade poster, a skit, a song, a poem, a diagram, a clay sculpture etc etc. They will be limited only by the resources and spaces you provide for them to work in. Allow at least 20 - 30 minutes for this whole process.

Meditation:
Provide/project some images of the world and your local area. Ask the Bill Easum question from Leadership on the Other Side, Abingdon, 2000, ISBN 0687085888 (pictured at left) :
What is it about your relationship with Jesus that the world cannot live without knowing?
Give people a quiet space to think about this question.

Poem: Zechariah's Pride
Found in Outback Christmas by Pro Hart and Norman Habel, Lutheran
Publishing House, 1990, ISBN 0859105628, page 18 (pictured at right).
 
Poem: Maggie's Poem
Not sure how to acknowledge this poem properly but thank you to a visitor to this site who gave me some background to this lovely poem as follows:
'The poem was apparently written by a member of a group that Lee Strobel was leading or who was part of his church in the US. I heard him read and quote this when he was in the UK some years ago talking about "Building a contagious church". I got the text from him.'
 
Do you know,
do you understand
that you represent
Jesus to me?

Do you know,
do you understand
that when you
treat me with gentleness,
it raises the question in my mind
that maybe he is gentle, too?
Maybe he isn't someone
who laughs when I am hurt.

Do you know,
do you understand
that when you listen to my questions
and you don't laugh,
I think,
"What if Jesus is interested in me, too?"

Do you know,
do you understand
that when I hear you talk about arguments
and conflict and scars from your past
that I think, "Maybe I am just a regular person
instead of a bad, no-good, little girl who deserves abuse?"

If you care,
I think maybe he cares --
and then there's this flame of hope
that burns inside of me,
and for a while,
I am afraid to breathe
because it might go out.

Do you know,
do you understand
that your words are his words?
Your face,
his face
to someone like me?

Please be who you say you are.
Please, God, don't let this be another trick.
Please let this be real.
Please.

Do you know,
do you understand
that you represent
Jesus to me?


Adult Response: Two meditations
Found in Found in Bringing the Word To Life Together: Year C by Andrew Collis and Dorothy McRae-McMahon, Mediacom, Adelaide, 2012, ISBN 9781921945083, page 16 (pictured at right) .   This is based on the gospel reading.

Blessing: Commitment to Each Other
Found in Resources for Preaching and Worship - Year C compiled by Hannah Ward and Jennifer Wild, Westminster John Knox Press, 2003, ISBN 066422508X, page 7 (pictured at left). This is based on the Gospel reading and would be lovely said together and to each other.



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