Sunday, July 25, 2021

Proper 13 B (August 1): Come Together

 




























Bible Reading: 2 Samuel 11:26-12:13a, Psalm 51:1-12, Ephesians 4:1-16, John 6:24-35

About the images:
Upper Left: Free clipart from www.heartlight.com - an excellent site for scripture slides which you can access via my link column at left.
Upper Right: This is my image so feel free to use it for worship and related activities.
Middle Left:  This is a Microsoft free clip art with my text.
Middle Right:  A Norfolk island road.  This is my image so feel free to use it for worship and related activities.
Lower Left: Another Heartlight image
Lower right: A free Hermano Leon clipart - see my link column at left. 

Listening Song: Come Together
By Third Day on their album, Come Together (pictured at right). This goes well with the Ephesians reading.

Choral Reading: Create in Us A Clean Heart
By Martha Keys Barker and found in Building Worship Together by Martha Keys Barker and the Fisherfolk, Celebration Services, 1981, ISBN 0906309212, page 87 (pictured iat left). This relates well with Psalm 51.

Kids: The Man Who Loved Boxes
By Stephen Michael King, Scholastic, 2005, ISBN 1865048372 (pictured at right). A man, who most people think is useless, finds a unique way to express his love to his son. This relates well with the Ephesians reading.

Pass the Peace:
Change the words for this morning to - Peace be with you: You are an important part of this church.

Film Clip: Ratatouille
This film  has heaps of good scenes which suit this topic - it is all about teamwork and co-operation and each person discovering what he can do. The scene I will use is the one where Remy (the rat) is talking to the imaginary chef and very proudly identifying all the different roles and jobs of those who work in a kitchen. When the chef asks him what the boy washing the floor does, and what his role is, Remy brushes him off and says the boy does nothing important and is basically useless.


Discussion: Ratatouille
1. Why does Remy think the boy is a nobody?
2. What role do you think the boy has in the kitchen?
3. Is everyone a somebody?
 
Helpful Illustration/Sermon Idea: Life Aboard the Fellow-ship
Chapter 16 in In the Grip of Grace by Max Lucado, Word, 1996, ISBN 0849913241, page 159ff (pictured at right). The comments/questions on Ephesians at the end of the book are also helpful.

Teens: Let Your Bodies Talk
Found in 40 devotions That Work With Youth by Geraldine Anderson (Ed.), JBCE, 1983, ISBN 0858194147, page 42 (pictured at left). This is based on the Ephesians reading and would also work well for a kids talk as long as the kids were older primary school children.

Story: Unity
Found in either
1. Your Point Being by Graham Twelftree, Monarch, 2003, ISBN 1854245929, story 286 (pictured at right), or

2. More Hot Illustrations For Youth Talks by Wayne Rice, Zondervan, 1995, ISBN 0310207681, page 91 (pictured at left) who attributes this story to William Barclay.

This story pops up in so many places it could possibly be an urban myth or something .... but then, when you think about it, does a story have to be fact to portray a truth?

Story: Stewardship
Found in 750 Engaging Illustrations for Preachers Teachers and Writers by Craig Brian Larson and Leadership Journal (Eds.), Barker Books, 1993, ISBN 0801091551, Story No. 686 (pictured at right). This story goes well with the Ephesians reading - if you want more information about this story, visit http://www.stradivarisociety.com

Prayer/Meditation: Growing in Christ
By Tellhard de Chardin and found in Imaging the Word, Volume 3 by Susan A Blain(Ed.), United Church Press, 1996, ISBN 0829810862, page 269 (pictured at left).  I put images with these words on ppt and backed the images with I Hate Kareoke from the soundtrack of the film, Japanese Story.

Response Activity: Jigsaw
There are at least four ways you can do this:
1.This will depend on the size of your congregation, however, if possible give each person a piece of a jigsaw puzzle and then make the puzzle together - you may need a large enough table and jigsaw so that everybody can gather around it - encourage people to see that without all the pieces the jigsaw would be incomplete.
2. Give people a piece of jigsaw as they arrive. Tell them to put it in a prominent place at home to remind them that they are a vital part of the whole church picture. If we were to make the jigsaw and their piece was missing or deliberately witheld, then the picture would not be complete.
3. Make a mosaic (just google "mosaic" if you want a free program which makes such mosaics) of your church with photos of the congregation.
4. Make a homemade jigsaw using a large photo of the congregation.

Also:

Meditation: Bread
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.

Prayer Exercise: Confession
Found in Prayer: Heart of the Pilgrimage by Jenny Youngman, Upper Room Books, Nashville, 2007, ISBN 0835898369, page 46.  This is based on the Psalm reading.

Lots of Useful Stuff: Sorry State
Found in Multi-Sensory Together by Ian Birkinshaw, Scripture Union,2005, ISBN 1844271641, page 17.  Based on the Psalm reading.

Complete Service based on all the readings: The Bread of Eternal Life
Found in In this Hour by Dorothy McRae-McMahon, Desbooks, 2001, ISBN 094982433X, page 91ff. 

Drama: Gifts Anonymous
This links with the Ephesians reading and is found in Mega Drama 4 by Verena Johnson, Open Book, 2002, ISBN 0859109186, page 35.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Proper 12 B (July 25): When Things Get out of Hand/ We all Have Gifts/The Church









































Bible Readings: 2 Samuel 11:1-15, Psalm 14, John 6:1-21, Ephesians 3:14-21

About the Images:

Upper Left: When Things Get out of Hand: Although we checked this river for depth we missed a hole and got out of our depth - in a car without a snorkle! - needless to say it has one now :-) This photo was taken near the eastern edge of the Baw Baw National Park near the Aberfeldy River. For more info on this area, please visit http://www.australianalps.environment.gov.au/parks/baw-baw.html
Upper Right: We All Have Gifts: Church members using their gifts - a toilet is installed/replaced at Seldom Seen in the bushfire ravaged Victorian High country. The work party came from Lara, eight hours drive from Seldom Seen. Both these photos are mine so please feel free to use them for worship or related activities.
Middle Left: This is a free image from the Heartlight site - see my link column at left
Middle Right: This is a wordle I created on Jesus' words in the gospel reading.  Please feel free to use for worship or related activities.
Lower Left: Another free image from Heartlight - see my link column at left
Lower Right: Free powerpoint stock image - dogs always know when things are getting out of hand.

For the Samuel Reading: When things Get Out of Hand

Listening Song: In the Light
By dc Talk on their album, Jesus Freak (pictured at right)

Kids story: When things got out of hand
Tell a story from your own childhood when you tried to cover up what went wrong and things got worse! We all have these stories and kids just love to hear adults tell honest stories about their own childhood. Ask the kids what went wrong and what you could have done to improve your situation. Then link your story to David and the way he tried to cover up what he had done and how each time he tried to cover up, there was more to explain away and cover up.

Film Clip: The Library
Found on The Amazing Adventures of Mr Bean Volume 1, Tiger Television 1990.

Discussion questions: For Mr Bean and David
What went wrong?
What could he have done instead?
How does he let things get out of hand?
How can we avoid the same mistakes?
What do we know that gives us hope?

Drama: No Big Deal
NB I wrote this about ten years ago to fit with the above clip. I notice now that there are lots of "Australianisms"; so, if you come from somewhere other than Australia, please feel free to adapt the script accordingly.
B: Well, g'day, this is Radio Triple B’s Talk-back Help Line and our first caller this morning is….
D: King David.
B: Good morning …. umm, you’ll have to speak up a little. I didn’t quite catch your name. David King was it?
D: Yeah, that’ll do.
B: Well, what’s your topic for discussion this morning?
D: I think I’m in a bit of a mess and I can’t work out just how it happened.
B: Perhaps you’d like to tell us about it.
D: Well, it all started when the army went off without me.
B: Without you? Isn’t that slightly irregular?
D: Well, I just thought I’d hang around home for a few more days. It was no big deal really. They’re very capable, you know. Joab is a fine leader. They can get on without me. Anyway, late one arvo after I’d had a nap, I went out onto the balcony to get a little fresh air…… and that’s when I saw her.
B: Saw who?
D: Bathsheba (though I didn’t know her name then). She was having a bath and she was so beautiful that I couldn’t take my eyes off her.
B: You didn’t think that your peeping Tom behaviour was rather inappropriate?
D: Aw, it was no big deal. I was just having a bit of a look – who was it hurting? Anyway, I sent one of my servants over to find out who she was.
B: Why?
D: I just wanted to find out who she was! It was no big deal. Anyway the servant came back and not only told me who she was but also told me that she was married to one of my soldiers, Uriah Hittite. So, I got my servant to nick back and invite her over.
B: You invited her over when you knew she was married?
D: Yeah, I just wanted to see her close up. It was no big deal. …… She was so beautiful ….. Anyway, one thing led to another and we ….
B: Yes, yes, we can all imagine what happened next.
D: Actually, (sounds puzzled) this is where things seem to start going really haywire because after a few months she arrives on my doorstep to announce that she's pregnant! I couldn’t believe my bad luck! Then I had this brilliant idea. I’d just call her husband, Uriah, back from the war front and nobody would be any the wiser.
B: And Uriah would think the baby was his?
D: Yeah, I just wanted to keep everything nice. It was no big deal. Trouble was that Uriah is so blinking honest – he didn’t want to sleep with her while all his mates were back at the front fighting and risking their lives so he slept down at the barracks. Would you believe it!!!!? Bit odd if you ask me.
B: So…..?
D: So I came up with another even more brilliant idea. I’d invite Uriah over for drinks and dinner and get him so drunk he’d forget all about his mates and be off home like a shot.
B: Wasn’t that rather dishonest?
D: Not really. Think about it! I wasn’t going to do the drinking. I was just being a wonderful host – it’s not my fault if my guests over indulge. It’s no big deal. Anyway (sigh) it didn’t work. He got drunk alright but he still went and slept at the barracks.
B: Hmm. So this is your “bit of a mess” is it?
D: Well, actually that’s not the end of the story. Seeing that all my well-intentioned plans had failed, I decided that the only thing left to do was to actually get rid of Uriah once and for all. So, I arranged for him to take a letter back to Joab instructing Joab to put him where the fighting was thickest. I knew Uriah wouldn’t read it because, as I said, he’s just so blinking honest! I was so tired of it all. I just wanted to be finished with the whole silly business. It was no big deal really. Uriah had been putting his life on the line at the war front for years. We all knew that his luck would run out one day. I just made it sooner rather than later. It’s no big deal.
B: You keep saying that.
D: What?
B: It’s no big deal.
D: Well, it’s not. Uriah has died a hero. I’ve married Bathsheba and we’re very happy …….. (trails off)
B: So why did you ring?
D: Because, because ….. (sort of breaking down) it’s all such a terrible mess. To tell the truth, it’s a nightmare!!
C. Ann Scull

For the John Reading: We all Have Gifts

Listening Song: Day by Day
By dc Talk on their album Jesus Freak (pictured above)

Kid's Story: Little big gifts
Retell the gospel story and ask the kids whether they thought the little boy offered his lunch to Andrew or whether Andrew saw him with it. Discuss how difficult or easy they find it is to offer help to adults. Attach a gift rosette to each child in church to encourage them to see themselves as special gifts to everybody - give them extra rosettes to hand out to those adults they sit near so that they see that we are all gifts to each other.

Interesting Quote:
“It is hard to b be brave” said Piglet, sniffing slightly, “when you’re only a Very Small Animal”.
Rabbit, who had begun to write very busily, looked up and said:
“It is because you are a very small animal that you will be Useful in the adventure before us”
A.A.Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh, Methuen, 1928, page 84 (pictured at right)

For the Ephesians reading: The Church

Kid's Time: Awesome God
In Fun Group Devotions for Children’s Ministry, Group Publishing,1993, page 14 (pictured at left)

Film Clip: We Were Soldiers (2002)
You need a DVD for this because the scene, entitled "The Church" is in the Special Features: Deleted Scenes chapter. It is a compelling scene and links in very well with the reading


Drama: Who Do Say That I Am
Found in Let's Make Another Scene 3 by Verena Johnson, Open Book, 1995, ISBN 0859107620, page 31 (pictured at right).

Story: The Smallest Power Bill
The story web site where I originally got this story from has disappeared and I can no longer source it. If somebody knows where it comes from could they please let me know.
'The story is told of a Welsh woman who lived in a remote valley in Wales. She went to a great deal of trouble to have electrical power installed in her home. They noticed she didn't use very much electricity at all. In fact, her usage was minuscule. They sent a meter reader out to check on the matter. The man came to the door and said, "We've looked at the amount. Don't you use electricity?" "Oh yes" she said. "We turn it on every night to see how to light our lamps and then we switch it off again."'

Story: Power
Found in Your Point Being by Graham H. Twelftree, Monarch, 2003, Story 196 (pictured at left)

Story: Valentine's Day

Found in Illustrations, Stories and Quotes to Hang Your Message On by Jim Burns and Greg McKinnon, Gospel Light, 1997, page 145 (pictured at right)

Story: Jesus is in My Heart
Found in Illustrations, Stories and Quotes to Hang Your Message On by Jim Burns and Greg McKinnon, Gospel Light, 1997, page 77 (pictured at right).

Meditation/Response Activity:
Either ask people to shut their eyes or give each person a piece of self hardening clay and while they work at making a symbol of what their congregation means to them, ask them to think about the following:
Think of a person that you love very much.
Thank God for this person.
Remind yourself that God loves you far more than you love that person.
Thank God for loving you.
Now think of a person, maybe in this congregation, who you find very annoying - maybe to the point where you do not even like them.
Remind yourself that God loves them as much as God loves you.
Pray for this person.

Also:

Prayer Exercise: Sacred Prayer Postures
Found in Prayer: Heart of the Pilgrimage by Jenny Youngman, Upper Room Books, Nashville, 2007, ISBN 0835898369, page 28 (pictured at left).  This is based on the Ephesians reading.

Beautiful Illustrations of John's Gospel  connected to the Australian Outback
Found in The Gospel According to John Illuminated by Fiona Pfennigwerth, Tien Wah Press, Singapore, 2013, ISBN 9780646912462, page 21 (pictured at right).

Complete Service based on all the readings: Add to Our Life
Found in In this Hour by Dorothy McRae-McMahon, Desbooks, 2001, ISBN 094982433X, page 854ff. 

Drama: Fish and Loaves
This links with the Gospel reading and is found in Mega Drama 4 by Verena Johnson, Open Book, 2002, ISBN 0859109186, page 71.

Drama: A Bring and Share Lunch with a Difference
This links with the Gospel reading and is found in Mega Drama 4 by Verena Johnson, Open Book, 2002, ISBN 0859109186, page 73.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Proper 11 B (July 18): Building Bridges/Rest




















Bible Readings:
2 Samuel 7:1-14, Psalm 89:20-37, Ephesians 2:11-22, Mark 6:30-56

About the Images:
Upper Left: Free Microsoft clipart with my text.
Upper Right: Hampden Bridge: This is my photo and you are welcome to use it for worship and related activities. The bridge was built out of sandstone in the 1890's and is Australia's oldest suspension bridge. It is located in the picturesque Kangaroo Valley in New South Wales. For more info about this area, please visit www.kangaroovalleytourist.asn.au/dir/aboutkv
Middle Left: This is the free gospel drawing for the week from the Cerrezo Barrado - see my link column at left
Middle Right: This is a corner of the Singapore Orchid gardens. It reminded me of Jesus' words in the gospel reading to come aside and rest a while.  This is my image so please feel free to use it for worship and related activities.
Lower Left:  This comes from the free Heartlight site - see my link column at left. 
Lower Right:  Free image from Unsplash by Aaron Burden.

Listening Song: Come Together
By Third Day on their Come Together album (pictured at right) This goes well with the Ephesians reading.

Kids: God is Never too Busy
The Gospel reading stands alone as great story to show that God is never too busy. Use a good story teller. It makes all the difference! 

Film Clip: Burst
This is a brilliant short film (total length:7 minutes) about reconciliation, forgiveness and freedom which came second in the Sony Tropfest 2006: The World's Largest Short Film Festival. For copyright details and permission contact www.tropfest.com

Discussion Questions for Burst
2. Who is the peacemaker, reconciler, forgiver?
2. Who does the God things?

Film Clip: One Cross, One Body
This film clip, based on the Ephesians reading, is available from The Work of the People - see my links column at left.

Drama: The Bridge
This links with the Ephesians reading and is found in Mega Drama 4 by Verena Johnson, Open Book, 2002, ISBN 0859109186, page 14 (pictured at left).

Discussion Starter:
Share an experience of being excluded.
Share an experience of being included.

Sermon Ideas and Prayers: Ah, Wilderness. 
Linked to the gospel reading, these can be found in The Abingdon Preaching Annual 2009 edited by David N Mosser, Abingdon Press, 2008, ISBN 9780687651955, page 233 ff (pictured at right)

Story: The President and the Little Boy
Links well with the idea of coming to God through Jesus and is found in More Hot Illustrations by Wayne Rice, Zondervan, 1995, page 140 (pictured at left).

Poem: Mother Teresa
Found in The Two-Way Clock: Poems by Sydney Carter, Stainer and Bell, 1974, page 127.

Response Activity and/or Prayer of Confession: The
Wall
Found in Multi-Sensory Prayer by Sue Wallace, Scripture Union, 2000, ISBN 1859994652, page 51 (pictured at right). This goes well with any of the readings as a confession, but is particularly relevant to the Ephesians reading, in any context.

Meditation:
Ask people to sit comfortably with their eyes shut.
Give them time to relax and then read the following slowly:
Think about God.
Think about the barriers in your life:
maybe a personal relationship which has gone wrong,
maybe it is an injustice you see in the community which alienates some people
maybe it is a division or disagreement within your congregation. Whatever it is, talk to God about it. .....
Ask God what your role is in healing the situation you have talked about.......

Meditation: The Coming of Jesus
Found in Meditations from the Iona Community by Ian Reid, Wild Goose Publications, Trowbridge, 1998, ISBN 1901557022, page 63 (pictured at left). This goes well with the gospel reading.

Also:

Prayer Exercise: Singing our Prayers
Found in Prayer: Heart of the Pilgrimage by Jenny Youngman, Upper Room Books, Nashville, 2007, ISBN 0835898369, page 68 (pictured at right).  This is based on the Psalm reading.
Complete Service based on all the readings: Gathering Together
Found in In this Hour by Dorothy McRae-McMahon, Desbooks, 2001, ISBN 094982433X, page 99ff.