Sunday, January 17, 2016
Lent 2 C (February 21): Risking Everything/Shelter/God's Wings
Bible Readings: Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18, Psalm 27, Philippians 3:17-4:1, Luke 13:31-35.
About the Images:
Upper Left and Right: These are both my both my photos, so please feel free to use them for worship and related activities. The left one is of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount as they are today. The right photo lends itself to having one of the pertinent texts from today's readings added to the lower half.
Lower Left: A wordle I made a few years back.
Lower Right: This image comes from the awesome Church Galleries website which was decimated by hackers last year. At present it is possible to buy these images very cheaply - however this particular one is free on the site this week. Well worth the subscription!!! Visit the website at www.churchgalleries.com. And I know, I know...for the purists among you one photo is of Bethlehem but the two place are only a few kilometres apart so......
Listening Song: Why
by Tracey Chapman on her self titles album c. 1998 (pictured at left) This song asks the hard questions that we all think about.
Discussion on the Genesis Reading:
1. What do we learn about God in this reading?
2. What do we learn about Abram?
Drama: Don't You Get It
4: God says: Do not be afraid. I am your shield and your great reward.
1: Yes, but I don’t know if my money is going to out-last me. If I can just do a good job with my investments I know everything will turn out all right.
2: And if we could only get some extra money - the kids will be going off to uni soon and at the moment I can't see how we'll manage. With a little more money I know everything will turn out all right.
4:But God says: Do not be afraid. I am your shield and your great reward.
3: If only I could get my hands on that hotted up Torana everybody's being eyeing off down the street. Everyone would look up to me, envy me ..... then I know everything will turn out all right.
1: And I am so frightened of the future. All my family live a long way away. If I could work out some way to be near them then I know everything will turn out all right.
4: But God says: Do not be afraid. I am your shield and your great reward.
2: Yes, but if only we could get the house paid off and the renovations finished then I know everything will turn out all right.
3: If only I could get the results I really want at school then I know everything will turn out all right.
4: But God says: Do not be afraid. I am your shield and your great reward.
1: Yes, but what if I get sick – what if I can’t look after myself any more. I’m going to find my self the best health specialists in the world… then I know everything will turn out all right.
2: And if I could only make sure than I have the best time possible for as much of the time as possible then I know everything will turn out all right.
3: If only I could convince myself and everybody else that I'm not nearly as much of a dork as I seem to be then I know everything will turn out all right.
4: But God says: Do not be afraid. I am your shield and your great reward ....... You know, I don’t think any of you get it!
Written by Rosemary Broadstock and Ann Scull: Permission granted for use and adaption to your congregation. It is not necessary but we would love to know if you use it.
Discussion on the Drama:
1. How do we stop becoming like persons 1,2 and 3?
2. How do we put our faith in God into action?
Story: The Tightrope Walker and the Wheelbarrow
Found in Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks by Wayne Rice, Youth Specialties, 1994, ISBN 0310402611, page 206 (pictured at right). This story, featuring Blondin the famous tightrope walker, can also be found in numerous illustration books and by Googling. It is also possible to find images. This story goes well with a number of the readings because it is about trust and faith.
Ask someone in your congregation to share a story from their own life where they had to trust God when they did not know what the final outcome was going to be. Ask the person before hand so that they can prepare what they are going to say.
Story: An Antidote for Fear
Found in The Youth Bible, Word Publishing, 1991, ISBN 0849909252, page 497. This story is based on the Psalm. (pictured at left)
Story: Don't Change Channels
Found at http://www.trinityurcvisalia.com/sermons/ac02v42d.html in section II B. This story goes very well with the Genesis reading.
Quote: Darren Beadman, Australian Jockey
"It's all about relationship and what lies within your heart.....Some people are at a stage in their life where they feel secure in their environment and don't want to step out because they don't know what the future holds. But if you've got the relationship with the Lord, and you believe that he is your provider and that this is what he wants you to do, well - do it" This is part of an interview found in Alive Magazine 1998. I can't source the month, sorry.
Quote: Old Scandinavian Proverb
Faith is a bird that feels dawn breaking and sings while it is still dark.
Give everyone a coloured feather (found in craft shops).
While they concentrate on the feather ask:
1. Where in your life at the moment do you need to hear God say; " Do not be afraid. I am your shield and your very great reward"?
2. What situation are you in at present which should make you seek shelter under God's wings?
3. Are you trusting God or are you looking in other places for shelter and reward?
Have a time of silence.
Alternate but slightly the same Response Activity:
Have three stations set up around your worship space and encourage people to visit all three and then return to the one that means the most to them and take something home form that station:
Station 1: Reassurance: Have small copyright free pictures of "Abram and a starry sky", post-it notes shaped as stars (available from post offices in Aus), written instructions and some pencils or pens. Ask people to think about the question "Where in your life at the moment do you need to hear God say; " Do not be afraid. I am your shield and your very great reward"?" and to write their answer on a post-it notes and stick it on the picture of Abram. Encourage them to think about Abram and his relationship with God when he feared for the future. Before they leave the station, ask them to peel of the star, screw it up and place it in a waste paper basket provided.
Station 2: Shelter: Provide everyone with a feather and instructions. Encourage them to spend a few minutes brushing it against the skin on their face or hands as they consider the question: "What situation are you in at present which should make you seek shelter under God's wings?", and then to think about God's shelter and thank God for being a shelter in all sorts of situations - including their own.
Station 3: Trust: Ask people to consider the question: "Are you trusting God or are you looking in other places for shelter and reward?" Provide everyone with a prayer which asks for forgiveness for lack of trust and strength to trust in the future.
When you eventually all sit down together again each person should have a picture of Abram or a feather or the prayer to take home with them.
Found in The Abingdon Worship Annual by Mary J Scifres and B. J. Beu (Eds.), Abingdon Press, Nashville, 2012, ISBN 9781426746796, page 52 (pictured at right). This prayer uses the Genesis, Philippians and psalm readings.
Story: Things Are Not Always What They Seem
Found in Resources for Preaching and Worship - Year C compiled by Hannah Ward and Jennifer Wild, Westminster John Knox Press, 2003, ISBN 066422508X, page 103 (pictured at left). I think this fits well with any of the readings.
Poem: Three Days Found in Dad and Daughter by Ron Gordon and Jennie Gordon, 2012, ISBN 9780646586601, page 144 (pictured at right). This lovely poem connects well with the gospel reading.