Sunday, October 30, 2016

Proper 27 Ordinary 32 C (November 6): Fighting Discouragement/New Life

Bible readings: Haggai 1:15b-2:9, Psalm 145 :1-5, 17-21 or Psalm 98, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 13-17, Luke 20,27-38.

About the Image:
Upper Left: This image comes from I put a line from Josh Groban's song on it.
Upper Right: This image is made with two microsoft free clipart images.

Lower Left: This is a free Microsoft clip art image.
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

Listening Song: Don't Give Up
By Josh Groban on his album, Awake (2006) (pictured at right). You can use this song as a response activity for the Thessalonians reading exactly in the same way as you can use the Susan Aston song (next)  - see the response activity below.

Listening Song: You Move Me
By Susan Ashton from her album, A Distant Call (pictured at left). See below for a way to use this song as a reflective response for the Thessalonians reading.

Kid's Story: The Day It Rained Colours
By Roy Etherton and Leon Baxter, Lion Publishing, ISBN 0856481734 (pictured at right). I us
ed this story with the Haggai reading.

Video Clip: The Trueman Show
(pictured at left) One of the last scenes, where Trueman discovers that the world he had always thought was real was nothing more than an enormous TV set. The scene below, where he discovers the door in the wall at the end of the lake which leads to the real world, relates well to the basic question that the Sadducees ask Jesus in the Luke reading - Is there more to life than just what we see?

Video Clip: Snow Dogs
(pictured at right) Show the scene about an hour in, where Ted meets the grizzly bear and things go from bad to worse. In desperation, he eventually rings the emergency number, but gets a recorded message. You can follow this with a discussion on what sort of measures we take when everything seems to be going wrong , and about what causes discouragement in our lives. This is a good lead in to the Haggai reading or the last verses of the Thessalonians reading.

Discussion Questions: For the Haggai Reading
1. Why are the people in this reading discouraged?

2. How are they encouraged?

3. What is the immediate promise that they are given?

4. What is the long term promise that they are given?

5. What is there in this reading for us?

Poem: Be Like the Bird
By Victor Hugo in Imaging the Word Volume 2 by Susan A. Blain, Sharon Iverson Glouwens, Catherine O'Callaghan, Grant Spradling (Eds.), United Church Press, 1995, ISBN 0829810331, page 66 (pictured at left). This poem fits in well with the Thessalonians reading.

 Response Activity: For the Thessalonians reading
The Josh Groban song is more up to date  but the Susan Ashton song has more than a minute of instrumental music at the end - they both work well so you choose :). Ask people to read 2 Thessalonians 2:13-17 during this time and pinpoint the words or phrases they think God wants them to concentrate on. Alternatively, instead of asking them to read these verses, give each person a business cards with verse 17 printed on it.

Response Activity: The Church of the Future
Through Haggai, God told the people to keep building their temple. Through Paul, God promised the Thessalonians a fresh heart to keep working at their faith and their new Christian community. Have lots of model making materials available eg; pipe cleaners, paper, cardboard, balloons, glue, string, pencils, ribbon, modelling clay, boxes etc etc. Have people get in groups and ask each group to make a model of their church which portrays they way they think God wants their church to be in the future. N.B. I have done this with numerous groups and I have never yet seen a group make a model of their church building and I have never yet seen a model even remotely similar to another. The combined creativity of a bunch of ordinary people is truly inspiring.

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