Bible Readings: Exodus 14:19-31, Psalm 114, Exodus 15: 1b-11,20-21, Romans 14:1-12, Matthew 18:21-35.
About the Images:
Upper Left: Sign seen in a Lygon Street coffee house in Melbourne, Australia. It says to me that it is not so hard to work with differences - everybody just needs to have a bit of a go.
Upper Right: This is a mediacom free clipart with text from the Matthew West song below.
Lower Left: This is a Bing image - see the copyright details lower left in the image - with my text.
Lower Right: This is a free Microsoft image with a line from the song Only Grace (see below).
Listening Song: What If I Stumble
By dc Talk on their album, Jesus Freak (pictured at left) This song goes well with the Romans reading and to a lesser extent with the Exodus reading.
Listening Song: Only Grace
By Matthew West on his album, History or on WOW 2007 (pictured at right). This goes very well with the Gospel reading.
Kid's Story; Soundscape
This can be done with a heap of Bible stories but it works very well with this one. It is an old , old idea that has been about in Sunday school and beach mission resources for years and years but it is an oldie that's a goodie! Tell the story of the Exodus using a bucket of water and a wooden spoon or hands to make the sound of the sea, a saucepan and a wooden spoon or a drum or banging feet for the Egyptians, the congregation or a group of children for the crowd and complaining voices, sand in a large flat tin dish and a pair of hands in sneakers or hands patting thighs for marching feet, and a tin whistle or flute played softly or any sort of God noise you can think of for God. Give out the sound effects to a few kids and tell them to use their sound effect every time they hear their key word eg sea, Egyptian, marching, complaining, God. Then tell the story! Make sure you emphasis the key word so that you give the sound effects kids a good warning as to when they are to employ their particular sound effect. It's great fun. Adults like it too!
Kid's Story: Rescue
Found in The Lion's Book of Bible Stories and Prayers by Mary Batchelor, Lion, 1980, ISBN 0867602058, page 8 (pictured at left). This is a lovely kid's version of the Exodus story and it has two prayers for kids as well. I used it with the above soundscape.
Film Clip: Changing Lanes
(pictured at right). This clip fits in nicely with the gospel reading. You will have to give a quick summary of this film because the clip comes from quite near the end when Gavin's boss explains how he has justified an injustice and Gavin then finds Doyle waiting for him in his office. The two men discuss what the day has taught them.
Discussion: Changing LanesGavin and Doyle tell each other that they are sorry for their actions that day.
1. Why can we say sorry for the little things but find it really difficult to say sorry for the things which effect us and others deeply? 2. What is the relationship between our experiences of being forgiven by God and our ability to let go of what others owe us?
Film Clip: End of the Spear
If you are able to remember the 60's and 70's (all power to you if you can!) you will remember the book and film Through the Gates of Splendour about the five American missionaries who were killed in South America by the indigenous inhabitants. This film (pictured at left) is about the wives and children of the missionaries. They return to evangelise these same indians. I found the clip at www.wingclips.com (a brilliant site - see my links column at left) under the heading forgiveness.
Drama ; You Call That Prayer?
Leader: Thank you for all coming today. We welcome you (looks at 2) to your first meeting with us today. We will now close in prayer. Just jump in if you feel like it and I’ll close at the end.
1: Dear God, thanks for bringing us here today and learning more about you.
2. Yes, Lord!
3: Help us to spread the Good News in Bairnsdale (or wherever you live). Help us to know what to say and do.
2; Oh Yes Lord. Be with us Lord!
4: Help us to grow closer to you. ….
2: Hallelujah!! Yes, Lord.
4. AND (slightly frustrated) to grow closer to one another.
2: Yes Lord, Yes Lord, Amen, Thank you Lord for this group. Thank you Lord that I am able to worship in your holy name. Father, here in this place. Lord, send your Spirit to be with us and guide us. Open our hearts to the leading of your Spirit as we share together. Father, in Jesus wonderful name we praise you. Thank you Lord, Amen.
Leader: (after awkward pause) Um, hear all our prayers spoken and unspoken. Amen . Thanks everyone. Before we go any further (looks at 2) I think you should know a few things about our group
1: We don’t go in for all that weird superspiritual stuff.
3: If you are going to fit in with us you’d better learn a few things.
As each person disagrees in the following dialogue have them step away from the group – by the end they should be against the walls and shouting at each other.
4: Yeah, and we don’t believe in dancing! It leads to all kinds of sinful thoughts and lewd behaviour.
1: That’s funny! I don’t have a problem with dancing. Its R rated movies we don’t agree with.
3: Excuse me? R rated movies? There’s some great R rated’s around at the moment. The censors are just a little over careful. What we really don’t like is people who believe in all that healing miracle stuff.
4: Of course we believe in miracles. My Nana was healed by a miracle. She’s a living, breathing example! But if you speak in tongues – now that’s another story.
1: Hang on a minute. I speak in tongues. (Sharp intake of breath from other two) You know, you are most likely not going to fit in with us unless you like pop music. We do not believe in COUNTRY music!!!!!
3: He means techno.
4. No… dubstep!
1: The main thing is opposition to R Rated movies.
4: No!!!! It’s the tongues thing
3: It’s the healing miracle stuff
1: R Rated movies!
Leader: Welcome to our church!
Copyright Rosemary Broadstock and Ann Scull ( I am pretty sure this is ours :-) Somebody let me know if you have seen something like it somewhere else).
Drama: The Unforgiving Servant
Found in Lets Make a Scene Too by Verena Johnson, Lutheran Publishing House, 1991, ISBN 085910608X, page 27 (pictured at right). This is a sort of mine/dramatic reading of the gospel with a chorus. I am going to make the whole congregation the chorus because I think it will be more fun that way and easier to organise.
Drama: What Seems to Be the Problem?
Found in Lets Make Another Scene by Verena Johnson, Open Book Publishers, 1995, ISBN 0859107620, page 19 (pictured at left). This is a funny modern-day take on the gospel.
1. Why is it important to concentrate on the basics of faith rather than on those things which separate us?
2. What are some practical ways we can reach out to people who express themselves differently than we do?
Quote: Meister Eckhardt
"God does not ask anything of you other than for you to let yourself go and let God be God in you".
Response Activity: Pass It OnFound in Multi-Sensory Parables by Ian Birkinshaw, Scripture Union, 2006, ISBN 9781844272310, page 20. This book is really written for small groups but plenty of the activities translate well into worship services. Under this heading there is a brilliant introduction to the gospel and a response that could be used after watching either of the above film clips or after a sermon.
Multi Age Resources: Take a Load Off
Found in Welcome Mat by Beth Barnett, Scripture Union (pictured at left). The whole of session 3 - teaching, activities for children, discussion questions, drama and photocopyable resources - is devoted to the gospel reading. Each session is easily adaptable to worship. Welcome Mat is available from www.suvic.org.au and is worth buying as the other eight sessions are also based on Matthew readings.