Bible readings: Exodus 17:1-7, Psalm 95, Romans 5:1-11, John 4: 5-42
About the Images:
Left: This is a microsoft free clipart with my text.
Right: This is an image I took while traversing the Simpson Desert last year (for more info on the Simpson please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simpson_Desert). The words are from the psalm. Please feel free to use this image for worship and related activities.
Lower Left: This is a microsoft free clipart with text from The Valley Song below.
Lower Right: This is a free image from Church Galleries - see my links column at left. This site is well worth the small subscription.
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 goes well with the Romans reading.
Listening Song: The Valley Song
By Jars of Clay on their album, Furthermore (pictured at right) or on WOW 2004. This goes well with the Exodus reading.
Listening Song: Lifesongs
By Casting Crowns on their album, Lifesong (pictured at left) or on WOW 2007. This goes very well with psalm 95.
Listening Song: Psalm 95
By Sons of Korah on their album, Resurrection (pictured at right).
Dramatic reading: John 4:5-42
Using the translation you prefer, you can turn this reading into a script very easily by having people speak the words of Jesus, the woman, Disciple 1, Disciple 2, and the crowd (use the whole congregation for the crowd). Any scripture that doesn't fit these characters and groups can be read by a Narrator.
Film Clip: Walk the Line
(pictured at right) The scene where Jonny Cash and his band sing for the record producer and the producer tells him that if he doesn't mean the songs and live the songs then he is never going to be a good gospel singer - great clip for psalm 95.
Discussion: On Walk the Line film clip
What is the point of worship?
Discuss together a definition of worship.
Film Clip: Patch Adams
Show the clip following the death of Patch's fiance where he has a conversation with God while standing on the edge of a cliff. (pictured at right)
Discussion: On Patch Adams film clip
Have you ever questioned God like Patch does?
Did God answer?
What is the significance of the butterfly?
Drama; Coffee Break
Found in Let's Make a Scene For.... by Verena Johnson, Open Book Publishers, 1998, ISBN 0859108937, page 10 (pictured at right). ...Goes well with the psalm.
A young man was having a great deal of trouble developing patience. He had tried everything, but could not develop the habit. Finally, in desperation, he visited the nearby monastary and the wise man who lived there. "Father", said the young man, "Please help me! I am so impatient and nothing I can do seems to help! I would really appreciate it if you could pray and ask God to develop in me some patience!" "Certainly," replied the wise priest, and began to pray. "Heavenly Father, send this young man tribulation. Send him tribulation in the morning, send him tribulation in the evening..." "Stop!" cried the young man. "Tribulation? I asked you to pray for God to develop in me some patience! Why are you you asking Him to send me tribulation? That's the last thing I need!" The wise priest smiled at him. "How else do you think you are going to develop patience unless you get a chance to practice it? Hence the need for tribulation!" This story which fits well with Romans 5:3-5 is one of those emails that is forwarded around the net rather regularly.
Found as story No 298 in Your Point Being? by Graham H. Twelftree, Monarch, 2003, ISBN 1854245929 (pictured at left). Fits well with the psalm reading.
Sermon: Exodus 17:1-7
Tell three stories with similar sub-headings (see below)
1. The story of Exodus 17:1-7
2. The story entitled Urgent Messages in When You Walk by Adrian Plass, The Bible Reading Fellowship, 1997, ISBN 0745935524, page 237. This story is based on the gospel reading.
3. A personal story of your own
Sub-headings: a) the journey, b) a distressing event, c) when God seems absent, d) God IS present.
Allow each member of the congregation to choose one of three different options:
1. Make a rain stick each (there is so much water symbolism in these readings!)
2. Discuss one of the readings.
3. Sit quietly and watch a powerpoint meditation - I put pictures and meditative music to psalm 95 followed by a prayer - I put both the psalm and the prayer up one line per slide and allowed around 15 seconds per slide.
Response Activity: Psalm Consequences
In Multi-Sensory Scripture by Sue Wallace, Scripture Union, 2005, ISBN 1844271668, page 19.
Drama: A Monty Python Version of the John reading
For this to work well the actors need to be Monty Python addicts!
Samaritan woman - with large plastic bucket
Three disciples - wearing tea towels and headbands not quite straight
(Jesus and disciples enter down left aisle - Jesus sits slightly to left of centre, disciples stand in centre half facing him and congregation)
J: Oh good, a well! I'm hot, tired, thirsty and hungry.
D1: What about we go and buy a bit of lunch, then?
D2: Oooh, what a good idea!
D3: Can I come too?
(Start up centre aisle of church - make sure conversation finishes before door)
D1: Ham and salad sandwiches would be nice!
D2 : Freshly baked rolls would be the thing!
D3: Um.... I can't really see ham being on the menu, can you?
D1: Well, anyway, I think I should pay!
D2 : No, No, No.... I'm sure it's my turn!
D3: I really do think one of you should do it?
D2: What is ham anyway?
D3: Pig.......... Hang on a minute, now. We can't eat pig, can we? It's against all the rules.
D1: Are you quite sure its pig?
D2: Pig: a hoofed domestic animal, reared for its flesh...... or an oblong mass of melted metal as in pig iron: ....... and to follow on : piggish: pertaining to or like pigs, dirty, greedy, stubborn; pig tail: the tail of a pig, a braid of hair hanging from the back of the head.........(on 'head' all three leave the church).
(Samaritan woman comes down right aisle to draw water from the well)
J: Excuse me, would you mind giving me a drink, please?
W: What? Are you asking me? You're a Jew!..... (pause) And I'm a Samaritan, in case you haven't noticed. (pause)...And we're not supposed to talk to each other, are we now?
J: You don't know what God wants to give you. If you knew me you'd be asking me for the water that gives life.
W: But, you've got no bucket!!! This is a deep well, you know.... Or have you got a better well somewhere else?
J: If you drink the water I give you, then you will never be thirsty again.
W: What! Are you saying that I can just throw this bucket away? A perfectly good bucket! J: Go and bring your husband.
W: Um....well now....actually...er...in actual fact.....ah, to put it bluntly .......... I have no husband.
J: That's nicely put. You have hit the nail on the head. You've already had five husbands and the man you're living with now isn't even your husband.
W: Oh ho! So you're a prophet, are you. You know what ? The Messiah's coming. When he arrives we'll get the whole story from him!
J: Well, you're speaking to him!
(Disciples enter and stop halfway down the church centre aisle laden with shopping bags or with a filled supermarket trolley)
D1: Well, would you look at that! A Samaritan woman! At the well! In the middle of the day!
D2: My goodness! Jesus is talking to her!
D3: And what's more - she's a Samaritan!
D2: And another thing - she's a woman!
D1: And , wink, wink, nudge, nudge, - she's obviously not your most popular lassy around town if she's here at lunch time.!
W: (to Jesus) I want to tell everyone about you!
(She runs off down right aisle leaving her bucket at Jesus' feet)
D3: Look she's leaving!
(All shoosh each other and tell each other to pretend not to have noticed that Jesus was talking to the woman as they shuffle up to Jesus).
D1: Mmmmm, lovely bucket!
D2: No holes - a good sound one, isn't it?
D3: Very comely shade of um.... er ......
D2: Bucket! Vessel for drawing or carrying water; piston of pump; scoop of dredging machine or grain elevator, socket for whip carbine or wooden leg etc.; and to follow on - kick the bucket: slang term for die or perhaps obsolete form of......
D1: (obviously changing topic) My goodness. I'm hungry! Teacher, you must be starved. What about a bite to eat?
J: I have food that you don't know anything about
D1: What's this, then? Who bought food out here?
D2: What are we going to do with this lot then?
D3: (sarcastically) Hark, do I hear a street vendor's dulcet tones in the distance.
D1: Well, this is just not good enough, is it? Undermines our responsibilities!
D2: Dulcet: adjective, sweet, soothing especially of sounds; dulcify: sweeten, make gentle, hence dulcification, dulcimer: 15th century musical instrument.......
J: (shaking his head and breaking in gently) Stop a minute, you lot. Listen.
(Disciples sit at Jesus' feet to listen) My food is to do what God wants! He is the one who sent me, and I must finish the work that he gave me to do.c. Rosemary Broadstock and Ann Scull
Poem and prayer: woman at the well.
Found in Dad and Daughter by Ron Gordon and Jennie Gordon, 2012, ISBN 9780646586601, page 22. These are based on the gospel reading.
Response Activity: Around noon
Found in Bringing the Word To Life Together: Year A by Andrew Collis and Dorothy McRae-McMahon, Mediacom, Adelaide, 2010, ISBN 9780949656919, page 57ff. This is based on the Gospel reading and the old Testament reading.
Lots of Useful Stuff
Found in The Abingdon Creative Preaching Annual by Jenee Woodard (Ed.), Abingdon Press, Nashville, 2013, page 70ff.