Bible Readings: Isaiah 61:1-4,8-11, Psalm 126 or Luke 1:47-55, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24, John 1:6-8,19-28.
About the image:
Upper Left: Such a joy filled little face!
Upper Right: From www.wordle.net
Middle Left: Another image from Heartlight (see my links column at the left)
Middle Right: My image - please feel free to use for worship and related activities
Lower Left: A free image from the excellent Heartlight site - see mu link column at left.
Call to worship: Streamers
Have lots of 60cm (2') pieces of very brightly coloured streamer and safety pins at the door as people arrive. Ask them to take a pin and to choose two different coloured streamers to take into church with them. During the start of the service ask people to think of something that gives them great joy. On your count, tell them to shout out their reason for joy and wave their streamers about. Do it a couple of times to get everyone in the mood. After praying, thanking God for all the reasons for joy which we have, encourage people to pin their streamers on to their clothing somewhere as a reminder of the joy that God gives each one of us.
Thought starter: The Blues
20% of teenagers feel emotionally empty
20% feel confused most of the time
61% feel extremely sad or depressed at least ten times during their teenage years
60% admit they worry a lot about all sorts of things: poor school results, death, accident etc.
30% experience moderate to severe depression
(can't remember where I got these stats from other than scribbled on a scrap of paper - if anyone knows, please let us all know via the comment section below this post).
Listening Song: Psalm 126: Men Who Dream
By Sons of Korah on their album, Redemption Songs (pictured at left). I have a little talk before playing this about how this is a literal translation and I slot it into its cultural context so that I can emphasise that women have every right to dream too.
Story: Corrie Ten Boom and Thankfulness
Found at http://www.tagnet.org/clarkston/Illustrations4.htm. Put the word "Corrrie" into your Find to save some time - the page is very long. This story fits well with the Thessalonians reading.
Quote: Alaskan Road Sign (and could easily be Australian too)
"Choose your rut carefully, you'll be in it for the next two hundred miles". This matches up with the Thessalonians verses about discernment.
Adult Input: Based on the Thessalonians Reading
Label four corners of the worship space "Prayer", "Thankfulness", "Listening to the Spirit" and "Discernment". Ask people to move to the corner that interests them the most and then give everyone the same question to talk about:
How do we put this into practice so that we can dare to rejoice - even in the hard times?
Response Activity: Isaiah reading
Read together Isaiah 61:1-3a (projected) but substitute the personal pronouns (I and/or me depending on your translation) with a space. Encourage people to fill the space with their own names as they read and to use the reading as a personal challenge with respect to their ministry.
Prayers: Based on the Isaiah Reading
From Advent, Christmas and Epiphany by Brian Wren, Westminster John Knox Press, 2008, ISBN 978066423309, page 60 (pictured at right).
Prayer of Confession: Based on the Psalm
By Channice E Charles and found in Before the Amen: Creative Resources for Worship by Marin C and Maria I Tirabassi (Eds), The Pilgrim Press, 2007, ISBN 9780829817508, pages 126 (pictured at left).
Response Activity: Bearing Witness
From Bringing the Word to Life Together Year B by Andrew Collis and Dorothy McRae-McMahon, Mediacom, 2011, ISBN 9781921945038, page 18ff (pictured at right)
Poem and prayer: one among you.
Found in Dad and Daughter by Ron Gordon and Jennie Gordon, 2012, ISBN 9780646586601, page 67 (pictured at left). These are based on the gospel reading.
Lots of Useful Stuff
Found in The Abingdon Creative Preaching Annual 2014 by Jenee Woodard (Ed.), Abingdon Press, Nashville, 2013, page 259ff (pictured at right).
Found in Meditations from the Iona Community by Ian Reid, Wild Goose Publications, Trowbridge, 1998, ISBN 1901557022, page 80. This goes well with the gospel reading.
Taize Service: Sing Out My Soul
Found in Worship Feast by Taize, Abingdon Press, 2004, page 32. This is based on the Luke reading.