Saturday, December 24, 2016

Baptism of Jesus A (January 8): Lighting Up the world/The Secret of Life



Readings: Isaiah 42:1-9, Psalm 29, Acts 10:34-43, Matthew 3:13-27

About the Image:

Upper Left: A free Clip Art image from Corel
Upper Right: A free microsoft clipart image with text from the Bible.

Lower Left: A free Heartlight image - see my link column at left.
Lower Right: A free image from Imagebank - see my link column at left.

Decor:
If your Baptismal font is in a prominent position or if you can put it in a prominent position, then high light it in some way - lighting, cascading blue silks, whatever. Alternatively or as well, have a portable water fountain somewhere prominent and place a microphone close by so that the water sounds are particularly audible to the congregation (on second thoughts, if you have an elderly congregation, a very young one or a particularly sleepy one; think seriously about whether this second option may be a good idea or not :).

Listening Song: Go Light Your World
By Kathy Troccoli on her albums Greatest Hits (pictured at left) and Sounds of Heaven or on WOW 1998. This song goes well with the Isaiah reading.

Listening Song: Flowing Over Me
 
by Derri Daugherty on Flap Your Wings, Resolve Records,2000
(pictured at right). This song goes well with the Acts reading and the gospel reading.



Film Clip: City Slickers 
(pictured at left) Use the scene where they are riding along having a discussion about the meaning of life- this clip goes well with the Isaiah and/or Matthew readings.

Discussion: On City Slicker film clip
What do you think is the meaning of life?


Film Clip: Forrest Gump
(pictured at right) Start at around 18 minutes in, when Forrest gets on
the bus in his braces and nobody but Jenny talks to him. This goes particularly well with the Isaiah and Acts readings.

Discussion: On Forrest Gump film clip

What did Jenny risk by sticking up for Forrest?
Why is it difficult sometimes to show kindness to people who are different?

Film Clip: Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring(pictured at left) Use the scene where Galadriel, the elf queen pours water into a basin and talks to Frodo about how the water can show him the things that were, the things that are and the things that are yet to pass.

Discussion: On Lord of the Rings film clip
How does your baptism show you

a) the things that were
b) the things that are

c) the things that are yet to be

Drama: Where Have You Been?
Found in Mega Drama 1 by Verena Johnson (Ed.), Open Book, 2001, ISBN 0859109151v1, page 63 (pictured in an earlier blog). This has been written for the Matthew reading.


Story: The Little Girl and the Piano
In Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks by Wayne Rice, Youth Specialties, 1994, page 143
(pictured in an earlier blog). This story sits well with the Isaiah reading.

Story: The Littlest Candle
Found in Still More Hot Illustrations For Youth Talks by Wayne Rice, Zondervan, 1999, ISBN 0310224640, page 43 (pictured at right). This goes very well with the Matthew reading if you connect baptism with each person's ministry.

Story: Father Daniel Berrigan
Just google his name and you will find all you need to know about this amazing Christian who brings God's light to the world. His story therefore connects with the Isaiah reading and the gospel reading.

Story: Baroness Cox
See this video about this woman who brings God's light to the most oppressed people on earth - she is a real "free the prisoner" lady. She talks here about suffering and grace and the way people bring light to each other.




Story: Hold On
Another amazing story of someone shedding light in a very dark place



Story: Norman the Barking Pig
Found at http://www.meds.com/archive/mol-cancer/1998/10/msg01802.html
This story goes well with both the gospel reading and the Acts reading.

Story: Pull Buddy

In Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks Book 4 by Wayne Rice, Zondervan, 2001, ISBN 0310236193, page 23 (pictured in an earlier blog). This story goes well with the Isaiah and the gospel reading.

Poem: Christmas Poem
By Howard Thurman and found at www.workersforjesus.com/workofchristmas.htm There is another version by Jim Strathdee which is also on the net. I put images and music with this poem via powerpoint.


Discussion:
Find three people and tell them
a) whether you are baptised or not
b) why or why not
c) What you understand about baptism.


 Response Activity:
Have pencils, sticky tape and small paper cut outs of doves and water droplets around your baptismal font. Ask people to think about their ministry. Do they know what it is? Do they think they are doing it? Do they need to find out more? Do they need to take some action?
Ask people to write the action they need to take on one of the cut out symbols (doves or water droplets) and then stick it on the font?

Response Activity:
Ask how people think they can light up the world through their own congregation. Write each suggestion on a separate piece of large paper and then get people to go to the one which excites them the most and write on it the things they intend to do to help make it happen.

Response Activity:
Give people a choice of the following three:
1. Make a "Beloved Child of God" card as a gift for someone.
2. Discuss the following questions together:
What are we doing to serve God?
What can we do to bring justice and compassion to people in need ?
Does God rely on us to do these things?
What blessings and challenges come with God's gift of the Spirit?
3. Sit and meditate on the following quote from Bill Loader: To hold people in high regard so that we want them to know Jesus rather than holding them in low regard until they hear about Jesus."


Epiphany A (January 6): Sharing the Light


















Bible Readings: Isaiah 60:1-6, Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14, Ephesians 3:1-12, Matthew 2:1-12

About the Images:
Upper Left: This is a microsoft free clipart image with text from the Isiaiah via www.laughingbird.net
Upper Right: Found at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Ronja_beam_Prostejov.jpg
Lower Left and Right: These free images both come from www.sundaygraphx.blogspot.com.  See my links column at left.

Listening Song: Wise Man
By David Rob
ertson on his album Soul Embrace (pictured at left).





Reading; Isaiah 60:1-6
I used the words of the www.laughingbird.net paraphrase of this reading on a powerpoint slide show of images of light and backed them with the music of Psalmas Ode by Vangelis on his album Reprise (pictured at left).

Drama: The Gate Keeper
From Cloth for the Cradle by Wild Goose Worship Group, Wild Goose Publications, 1997, ISBN 1901557014, page 127 (pictured at right). This drama is based on the gospel story.

Poem: The Wise Man's Journey
From Cloth for the Cradle by Wild Goose Worship Group, Wild Goose Publications, 1997, ISBN 1901557014, page 125 (pictured at right)

Poem: Isaiah 60:1a
Found in In Due Season by Herbert F Brokering, Augsburg Publishing, 1966 (pictured at left) in the Spring section under Isaiah 60:1a.



Christmas 1 A (January 1): Jesus was a Refugee/ Christmas makes a difference













Bible readings: Isaiah 63:7-9, Psalm 148, Hebrews 2:10-18, Matthew 2:13-23

About the Images:
Upper Left: This is a free image from Hermano Leon clip art. You can find a link to this site in the Links column to the left 
Upper Right : This is a painting by Eastman Johnson - A Ride for Liberty -- The Fugitive Slaves. This image is in the Public Domain and found at http://commons.wikimedia.org.
Lower Left and rightThese free images both come from www.sundaygraphx.blogspot.com.  See my links column at left.

 Call to Worship: Nocturne
Show a variety of images of Jesus' family fleeing to Egypt and present day refugees while playing Nocturne by Secret Garden as a backing. Nocturne can be found on Secret Garden's album, Songs From a Secret Garden or on the compilation album Encore (pictured at left)



Kid's Story: The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey.
By Susam Wojciechowski and P. J. Lynch, Walker Books, 1995, ISBN 0744554020 (pictured at right)

Kid's Story: The legend of the Spider's Web

Found in The Lion Christmas Book compiled by Mary Batchelor, Lion, 1984, ISBN 0745912206, page 81 (pictured at left)

Drama: The Soldiers
From Cloth for the Cradle by Wild Goose Worship Group, Wild Goose Publications, 1997, ISBN 1901557014, page 129 (pictured at right).

Drama: It Happened Again

Found in Mega Drama 2 by Verena Johnson (Ed.), Open Book, 2001, ISBN 085910916Xv2, page 104 (pictured at left).

Story: Christ
Index 677-723 from Bible Illustrator for Windows Version 1.0d, Parsons Technology Inc., 1990. Story about how Turner, the English painter, painted a storm at sea.

Story: The Manger Was Empty
Retold by Cassandra Lindell, in Christmas Stories of the Heart compiled by Alice Gray, Multnomah Books, 1997, ISBN 1576731847, page 17 (pictured at right).

Story: The Ivory and Gold Tablecloth
By Howard C Schade in Christmas Stories of the Heart, as above, page 24 ( pictured at above right)


 Story: The Manger is Empty
By Walter Wangerin in The Manger is Empty: Stories in Time, Spire, 1989, ISBN 0340555548, page 3 (pictured at left).

Poem: Once in Judah's Least Known City

From Cloth for the Cradle by Wild Goose Worship Group, Wild Goose Publications, 1997, ISBN 1901557014, page 113 (pictured above right).

Poem: The Flight
Found in Outback Christmas by Pro Hart and Norman Habel, Lutheran Publishing House, 1990, ISBN 0859105628, page 44 (pictured at right).

Meditation and Response Activity: Women Weeping

From Cloth for the Cradle by Wild Goose Worship Group, Wild Goose Publications, 1997, ISBN 1901557014, page 1183 (pictured above right)

Response Activity: Haiku (or Cinquaine)
If you didn't do this in Advent 4 (see my notes on Advent 4), this activity would also work well for this week.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Christmas Day A: The Big Gift/ The Light Wins



















Bible readings: Isaiah 62:6-12, Psalm 97, Titus 3:4-7, Luke 2:1-20

About the Images:

Upper Left: This is a microsoft free clipart image with my Biblical text
Upper Right: This is a Christian Clipart.com image with Biblical text preceded by a line from the song "Sweet Little Jesus Boy" by Rebecca St James (see below).
Lower Left: This is my image taken of the ancient entrance and wall into Bethlehem. Please feel free to use it for worship and related activities.
Lower Right: This is a slide from Church Galleries - see my link in the column at left.

Listening Song: Sweet Little Jesus Boy
By Rebecca St James on the WOW Christmas album (pictured at right)


 Kid's Story: Chi-Wee's Special Present
Found in The Lion Christmas Book compiled by Mary Batchelor, Lion, 1984, ISBN 0745912206, page 22 (pictured at left). This is a lovely story about what it really means to give a gift.

Kid's Story: One Little Angel
By Ruth Brown, Red Fox, 1998, ISBN 0099404362 (pictured at  right). This story has a delightful surprise ending.

Kid's Story: The Fox's Story
By Nick Butterworth and Mick Inkpen, 1988, ISBN 0551015799 (pictured at left).  This is one of a set of excellently illustrated stories. They have been republished insets of four however I never let mine out of my sight - just in case.

Kid's Stor
y: Great Joy
By Kate DiCamillo and Bagram Ibatoulline, Candlewick Press, 2007, ISBN 9780763629205 (pictured at right).


Kid's Story: Jed and Roy McCoy
by Andrew McDonough, Lost Sheep Resources, 2007 ISBN 9781921229121 (pictured at left). Visit lostshee
p.com.au for downloads of this book in a number of different formats for both Mac and PC.  The site also has free activity sheets and lots of other resources. 




Film Clip: When God was Born



Drama: Angel Space
Found in Lightning Sketches by Paul Burbridge and Murray Wells, Hodder and Stoughton, 1981, ISBN 0340267100, page 28.

Drama: Accept My Gift
 
Found in Mega Drama 2 by Verena Johnson (Ed.), Open Book, 2001, ISBN 085910916Xv2, page 96

Drama: The Shepherd

From Cloth for the Cradle by Wild Goose Worship Group, Wild Goose Publications, 1997, ISBN 1901557014, page 94

Drama: Unto You
Found in Mega Drama 2 by Verena Johnson (Ed.), Open Book, 2001, ISBN 085910916Xv2, page 90 .

Plenary Discussion:
How many people received Christmas cards this year?
How many people received religious ones?
With neighbours: Is the real story gradually being lost?


Story: Chippie's Bad Day
Found in More Hot Illustrations for Youth by Wayne Rice, Zondervan 1995, ISBN 0310207681 page 51.  An illustration of the difference Christmas can make to our lives.

Poems: From Outback Christmas
By
Pro Hart and Norman Habel, Lutheran Publishing House, 1990, ISBN 0859105628, page 32 (pictured in an earlier blog). If you want to give your service a real Australian flavour the following poems and their corresponding artwork go very well with the Luke reading for today: The Ride to Bethlehem (vs1-5), Jesus' Birth (6), The Bethlehem Pub (7), The Stockmens' Story (8-14), Report of the Stockmen (15-20)

Poem and Prayer: defiant light
Found in Dad and Daughter by Ron Gordon and Jennie Gordon, 2012, ISBN 9780646586601, page 6.  I am giving everyone a bookmark copy of this lovely poem to take home and discover at their leisure. This book with poems and prayers for the three year cycle of the lectionary is available from Unichurch Resource Centre (mailto:David.Caldecoat@victas.uca.org.au) and all proceeds go to the Christmas Bowl, the Christmas Appeal of Act for Peace, the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia. The book did cost $25 plus $15 postage to anywhere in the world but the poor showing of the Aussie dollar at the moment may have changed the price a little.

Meditation: The Word
From Cloth for the Cradle by Wild Goose Worship Group, Wild Goose Publications, 1997, ISBN 1901557014, page 98.

Response Activity: Christmas Cards
Give everyone a business sized card as above and a time of silence to pray.


Response Activity: Light in the World
Have a big gift box at the front on the church filled with enough stars for everyone to take one home. Print a prayer about being light in the dark on each star. This idea is roughly based on an idea by Christine Wright in Christmas Wrapped Up! by Scripture Union, 2003 ISBN 9781859997956, page 78. (pictured at right and which is full of brilliant ideas for Christmas).

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Christmas Eve A: Peace on Earth






Bible Readings: Isaiah 9:2-7, Psalm 96, Titus 2:11-14, Luke 2:1-20

About the Images:
Upper Left:
A free microsoft clipart with text from the Bible
Upper Right: Found at http://www.gwpda.org/photos/greatwar.ht It is an actual picture of two soldiers with Christmas trees during the Christmas Truce on the Western Front.
Lower Left: A free clipart with text from the Bible.
Lower Right: This free image comes from www.sundaygraphx.blogspot.com

Call To Worship: This, Tonight, is the Meeting Place
From Cloth for the Cradle by Wild Goose Worship Group, Wild Goose Publications, 1997, ISBN 1901557014, page 83. (pictured below at left).

Listening Song: Christe Elieson
By Michelle Tu
mes on her album, Centre of My Universe (pictured at left).

Listening Song: Emmanuel
By Michael W. Smith on WOW  Christmas or on his album, Christmas Time (pictured at right).

Listening song: I Still Pray
By Casey Chambers on The Spirit of Christmas 2001 (pictured at left)


Listening Song: Blessed is...
By The Cafe of the Gate of Salvation on their album, A Window in Heaven (pictured at right) 


Reading: The Journey of Jesus

From Cloth for the Cradle by Wild Goose Worsh
ip Group, Wild Goose Publications, 1997, ISBN 1901557014, page 84 (pictured at left below).

Film Clip: He Came Down



Drama (Monologue): The Shepherd
From Cloth for the Cradle by Wild Goose Worship Group, Wild Goose Publications, 1997, ISBN 1901557014, page 94 (pictured at left).

Story: Two Babies in the Manger
Author unknown but it can be found in many places on the net by googling the title. It is the story of a little orphan boy called Misha and is set in the early 1990's.


Story: The Christmas Truce on the Western Front
The web has lots of pictures and accounts of this amazing truce which occurred on Christmas Eve 1914. Just google the title. Wikapedia is as good a source as any. However if you are really stuck, The Lion Christmas Book by Mary Batchelor (ed.), Lion Publishing, 1986, ISBN 0745912206, has the story on page 69.

Film Clip: Joyeux Noel
This is the film of the above story.

Film Clip; Christmas Truce

This is a documentary of the same story with lots of useful scenes.


Listening Song: Belleau Wood
By Garth Brooks on his album, Sevens (pictured at left). This is a song about the Christmas truce. I turned the sound off the documentary above and played this song as the backing for silent scenes of the soldiers coming out of their trenches to make their peace with each other.


Film Clip: Belleau Wood
This puts original photos, paintings and modern film stills together with Garth Brooks' song.



Story: The Christmas Troll
By Eugene H Peterson and Will Terry, Navpress,2004, ISBN 1576836819 (pictured at right)

Meditation: The People Who Walked
From Cloth for the Cradle by Wild Goose Worship Group, Wild Goose Publications, 1997, ISBN 1901557014, page 24.

Meditation: How Can I Keep from Singing

Show a series of images of the nativity and play How can I Keep from Singing (by Enya on her singles album, Silent Night) in the background.


Responsive Prayer: A Boy Has Been Born For Us
From Cloth for the Cradle by Wild Goose Worship Group, Wild Goose Publications, 1997, ISBN 1901557014, page 114.

Prayer for Others: When The World Was Dark
From Cloth for the Cradle by Wild Goose Worship Group, Wild Goose Publications, 1997, ISBN 1901557014, page 92.

Proclamation: They Have Heard It on the Hills

From Cloth for the Cradle by Wild Goose Worship Group, Wild Goose Publications, 1997, ISBN 1901557014, page 97.

Response Activity: Candle Lighting and Offering at 12 midnight:

Works as follows:
Our offering tonight is for......fill in the blanks but not your own church - someone else instead. Please come forward and place your offering in the bowl provided and take a taper. If you have not brought anything with you, don't worry, just come and take a taper. Form a large circle around the church instead of returning to your seat. (This can be done with just about any number of people). Jesus said "I am the light of the world". (Light the Christ candle, light your taper off the Christ candle and light the tapers of the people on each side of you. Encourage them to light the taper of the person next to them and so on). As Jesus' light travels around the circle, we pray that God's love will be in everyone's hearts tonight and always.

Response Activity: Jesus the Light of the World
At some point in the service (where it fits) ask people to take a tea light, light it and place it around a small wooden feed box (with or with out baby) to represent Jesus as the light of the world. If your service ends at midnight, turn the lights off completely at this point so that only the manger is highlighted.