Sunday, February 26, 2017

Lent 1 A (March 5): Temptations Are Not Sins/ Created to Walk With God

Bible Readings: Genesis 2:15-17, 3:1-7, Psalm 32, Romans 5:12-19, Matthew 4:1-11.

About the Images:
Upper Left: This is a Microsoft free clipart image with my text.
Upper Right: This is  my photo of the remains of the Trumpeting Place - where priests trumpeted the beginning and end of the Sabbath from the Second temple.  It is believed this is where Jesus' second temptation took place. Please feel free to use this image for worship and related activities.

Lower Left:  This is a free image from the Heartlight site.  See my link column at left.
Lower Right: A free Microsoft clipart image with a line from the Susan Aston song You Move Me (see below)

Listening Song: You Move Me
By Susan Ashton from her album, A Distant Call (pictured at left) or on the album, Nothing But Pop. This song goes well with all the readings - I used it with the Romans reading as a call to worship.

Kid's Story: Arabella
By Wendy Orr and Kim Gamble, Angus and Robertson, 1998, ISBN 0207199043 (pictured at right). When you have read the story discuss a few of these questions with the kids:
1.What did Matthew think was the most important thing in Grandpa's life before the storm and during the storm?
2. What did he think might happen if the Arabella was lost?
3. What did he discover was really the most important thing in Grandpa's life?
4. How is the story a bit like us and God?

Have different groups discuss just one of the three temptations (there are a million ways to divide a congregation up to do this) but use the same question for everyone:
What is the need/yearning/desire that is at the heart of this temptation?
Share findings after the discussion.

Clip: City Slickers
(pictured at left) Use the scene of the conversation following Phil's break down in front of his friends when confronting the drunken cow hands. This links in well with the Romans reading (see discussion questions following).

Discussion: City Slicker film clip
Billy Crystal's character tells Phil that his life is a clean slate, a 'do-over", but Phil questions our ability to do this. What do you think?

Bible reading: Romans 5:12-21
In this reading, Paul contrasts our relationship with God (exemplified by Adam) with what a difference Jesus makes to this relationship. To make it clearer I printed out the reading with the Adam (us) bits in plain type and the Jesus making a difference bits in bold type.

Story: Here Comes the Cat
Found in Illustrations, Stories and Quotes to Hang Your Message On by Jim Burns and Greg McKinnon, Gospel Light, 1997, ISBN 0830718834, page 61 (pictured at right). This story links in well with the Romans reading.

Story: The Face on the Puzzle
Found in More Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks by Wayne Rice, Zondervan, 1995, ISBN 0310207681, page 66 (pictured at left). This story links well with the Romans reading.

Adult Response: For the Gospel reading
Ask people to write down a temptation which distracts them from following Jesus. While appropriate music plays, ask people to lay what they have written at the foot of a cross as a representation that they will leave their temptation in Jesus' hands.

Adult Response: For Lent
I am not sure where this first option below comes from. If you know, please let me know so I can give credit where it is due. I gave people two options to choose from as follows:

1. Give everyone a small (two or three inches square) craft box. Give each person a sheet of paper with forty words which are linked to Lent and Easter, eg., truth, grace, love, courage etc. Ask them to cut out the forty words, shuffle them and put them in the box. Encourage them to take out one word a day and follow the instructions they have written onto the box. Lid instructions are as follows: Spend time praying, thinking about, reflecting on, writing down or drawing today's word and how it impinges on your relationship with God.

2. Print off the lectionary readings for Lent and Easter - one Sunday per A5 page. Underneath the readings print the following two questions: What is the Good News in these readings? What is the challenge for me, for my church and for me in my community, in these readings,? Leave the rest of the page blank for responses. Provide some A5 card, a hole punch and some ribbon and ask people to assemble a Lenten Journal. Encourage them to read through the weekly readings and work through the questions as they travel through Lent.


Opening and Closing Responses for Lent
By Ruth Burgess and Chris Polhill in Eggs and Ashes, Wild Goose Publications, 2004, page 74. 

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