Bible Readings: Jeremiah 31:27-34, Psalm 119: 97-104, 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5, Luke 18:1-8
About the Image:
Upper Left: This image comes from the Sunday Graphx site (http://sundaygraphx.blogspot.com/) and makes a good thematic background for your digital slides if you are concentrating on the Jeremiah reading.
Upper Right: The quill is from free Microsoft Clip art so feel free to use this image for worship and related activities.
Lower Left: This image is free from the the Heartlight site - see my link colum at left.
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.
Listening Song: Written on My Heart
By Plus One on their album. The Promise or WOW 2001 (pictured at right). The words of this song are inspired by the Jeremiah reading.
Film Clip: Psalm 121 (an alternative Psalm for the day).
Found at http://www.theworkofthepeople.com/visual-liturgy
Film Clip: It's Not Your Fault
This clip is found in the film Good Will Hunting (pictured at left) and on YouTube under the above heading. I hesitate to suggest this clip because you would have to be very careful where you showed it and how you showed it in the context of worship. It has very many expletives - nevertheless if you have a bleeping system or whatever, maybe it would be a possibility. Be that as it may, I have never seen a clip which so obviously illustrates Jeremiah 31:29-30 and which has the ability to reduce me to tears every time I see it.
Discussion Questions: For the 2 Timothy reading
1. What should we persist with in our own personal faith?
2.What sort of things is Timothy encouraged to persist with?
3. What sort of things should we persist with together?
4. Are people fighting battles we know nothing about?
5. How deep does our commitment to each other go?
6. What scripture do you have written on your heart?
7. What does it mean for our congregation to live in confidence and hope?
Story: The Horse Trader
Found in More Hot Illustrations for Youth by Wayne Rice, Zondervan 1995, ISBN 0310207681, page 86 (pictured at right). I think this is a good introduction or a good youth story for the 2 Timothy reading.
Story:Forgiveness Found as story No 75 in
Your Point Being? by Graham H. Twelftree, Monarch, 2003, ISBN 1854245929 (pictured at left). This story matches up well with the Jeremiah reading.
Story: God, the Recreator.
I have a beautiful clock made by a man who makes all his clocks out of wood from houses which have been pulled down. For God, nothing is too far gone to be restored or recreated into something of beauty - God's promise in the Jeremiah reading.
Quote: Harold Kushner
"I read the Torah as Jews have read it and loved it for centuries. For example, I can tell you what is the middle word in the Torah. I can tell you what is the middle letter in the Torah. Over the generations Jewish scholars have read the Torah not as a novel to see how it ends, but as a love letter. For instance, ‘Why did he use this word instead of that word?’ ‘Why is there a space here?’ ‘Why a comma here instead of a period?’ That’s the way you read a love letter and wonder, ‘What did he or she mean by this word?’ We Jews have seen the Torah as not just a book of stories or law codes, but as a love letter from God." Comment by Rabbi Harold Kushner on VISN TV or in Questions of Faith. Sorry I cannot source this any better as I have neither seen the TV program or read the book. When I procure a copy of the book I may be able to give you more information. Nevertheless, it is a lovely quote to introduce today's Psalm 119 reading.
Give everybody a red heart cut out of paper or cardboard and a pencil. Ask people to write a short prayer about faith and persistence.