Sunday, June 24, 2007

Proper 8 Ordinary 13 Pentecost 5 C (July 1): Freedom, Discipleship, Memory

Bible Readings: 2 Kings 2:1-2, 6-14, Psalm 77:1-2, 11-20, Galatians 5:1, 13-25, Luke 9:51-62
Theme: Freedom, Discipleship, Memory.

Listening Song: Edge of the World
By Iona on their CD, Beyond These Shores (pictured in an earlier blog). A song about discipleship.
Listening Song: Libera
By Libera on their CD,
Libera. A song about God's presence.
Listening Song: Free
By Ginny Owens on Without Condition, 1999 or WOW 2001.

Kid's Story: Wilfred Gordon McDonald
Written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Julie Vivas Omnibus Books, 1984, ISBN 1862913471. (pictured) It is about memory so goes well with Psalm 77.
Video Clip: Home Alone
The scene where Kevin discovers that he is home alone - the freedom he discovers is his and his celebration of that.
Discussion: On "Home Alone".
What does freedom mean to Kevin?
What does freedom mean to you?
Does physical freedom necessarily mean true freedom? Why or why not?

Quote: Karl Barth
To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world.
Quote: John Ruskin
He who offers God second place offers God no place.
Drama: The Robbery
Found in Let's Make A Scene Too by Verena Johnson, Lutheran Publishing House, 1991, ISBN 085910608X, page 44 (pictured in an earlier blog). Based on Galatians 5:22.
Discussion: On Luke reading

What are the things that distract us today from following Jesus?

Poem: When I Became a Christian

Found in Clearing Away the Rubbish by Adrian Plass, Minstral, 1989, ISBN 1854240250, page 175ff. A poem about discipleship.
Story: The Testimony of Wing Commander Edward Howell

Found in Your Point Being? by Graham H. Twelftree, Monarch Books, 2003, ISBN 1854245929, story no. 270 (pictured in an earlier blog).
Adult Response:
Have enough fruit shaped lollies (candy) or stickers with fruit on them for everybody in the congregation to have one. Put them in easy reach of people but do not give them out. Ask everybody to look at the list of the fruit of the Spirit again. Ask them to chose the one from the list that they most need in their life at the moment. Read out the list one more time but with long pauses between each fruit of the Spirit. Ask people to take a fruit lolly or a sticker when you get to the one they want. Ask the rest of the congregation to pray for those people as they eat their lolly or stick their sticker somewhere obvious (lapel? forehead? cheek? whatever?)

Monday, June 11, 2007

Proper 6 C (June 17): God's Generous Love

Bible Readings: 1 Kings 21: 1-21a, Psalm 5:1-8, Galatians 2:15-21, Luke 7:36-8:3
Theme: God's Generous Love

About the image:
Re permission for use: I used Microsoft free clip art to make this image.
Listening Song: His Love Was Reaching
By David Meece on his album, Odyssey.
Listening Song: Gather at the River
By Point of Grace on their album, The Whole Truth and WOW 2001 (pictured)
Listening Song: Dr Jekyll and Mr Christian

By Whiteheart on their album, Souvenirs.
Discussion Questions: For Dr Jekyll and Mr Christian
What groups in society do we find it hard to accept and to love?
Which groups do we condemn?
Which groups do we avoid?
What is the challenge for us in both the gospel reading and this song?
Listening Song: Fat Boy
By Jewel on her album, Spirit (pictured on an earlier blog)
Discussion Questions: For Fat Boy (above).
Are we as loving to the outcasts in our society as we are to our friends and family?
Who are the outcasts?
Who do we include in our circles and who do we leave out?

In the song, the fat boy tries to make out everything is OK and that he is not hurt. How does he do that?
Why do you think Jewel finishes the song where she does?
What do you think she is asking us to consider?
Kid's Story: A Party For Jesus
Found in The Picture Strip Bible by Felicity Henderson and Chris Saunderson, Scripture Union, 2001, ISBN 1859994970, page 72(pictured in an earlier blog).
Ask the Kids:
What did Simon think of the lady?
What did Jesus think of the lady?
What does the story tell us about what Jesus thinks of us?
Kid's Activity: Welcome Gifts

You can often buy very cheap key rings (with little wooden cut out shapes attached) in reject shops and craft shops. Allow the kids to paint or colour these and give them as welcome gifts to new people who come to church.
Film Clip: Shadowlands
Show the part where C.S. Lewis and an anglican priest have a discussion about prayer.
Lewis says: "I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time - waking and sleeping." How hard is it to ask each other for help when we need it and how hard is it to ask God for help when we need it?
Bookmark Prayers:
Give everyone a bookmark with the words of Psalm 5:1-3 printed on it. Read the whole psalm and then invite people to write on the back of the bookmark, two prayers which are close to their hearts at the present time: one a thank you for a recently answered prayer, and one a prayer that is still in need of answer.
How do you feel when a prayer does not seem to be answered?
What was a Pharisee?
Who are most like Pharisees today?
To Think About:
When do you find yourself acting like Simon in the gospel story?
Like Simon, what do we need to ask God to forgive us for?
Quotes: Dietrich Bonhoeffer
1. We must turn our struggle into surrender and then prayer becomes the starting point for action.
2. From the moment we awake until we fall asleep, we must commend other people wholly and unreservedly to God and leave then in his hands, transformming our anxiety for them into prayer on their behalf.
(From Letters From Prison I think)
Dramatic Reading: A Glutton and a Drunkard
Found in Present on Earth by The Wild Goose Worship Group, Wild Goose Publications, 20028, ISBN 0901557642, page 17 (pictured in an earlier blog)
Story: Barefoot Bill
Found in Rebecca Manley Pippert, Out of the Salt Shaker, Inter Varsity Press, 1979, ISBN 0830822208, page 177.
Story: Cruise Control
Index 1002-1005 from Bible Illustrator for Windows Version 1.0d, Parsons Technology Inc., 1990
Story: Christ Knocking
Found in Illustrations, Stories and Quotes to Hang your Message On by Jim Burns and Greg McKinnon, Gospel Light, 1997, ISBN 0830718834, page 81. (pictured in an earlier blog).
Poem: The Sinful Woman
By Ranjini Rebera in The Bible Through Asian Eyes by Maseo Takenaka and Ron O'Grady, Pace Publishing, ISBN 0959797106, page 102 (pictured).
Poem: Anointing
By J. Barrie Shepherd in
Imaging the Word Volume 1 by Kenneth T. Lawrence, Jann Cather Weaver and Roger Wedell (Eds.), United Church Press, 1994, ISBN 0829809716, page 221. (pictured in an earlier blog)
Work of Art: Her Sins Are Forgiven
By Wu Yuen-kwei in The Bible Through Asian Eyes, as above, page 103 or in
Imaging the Word Volume 1 (as above), page 219.
Adult Response:
Have a bowl of salty water, a jar of scented oil and a packet of hand wipes set out at the front of your worship space on three separate tables.
Ask people to think about where they think they best relate to the gospel reading today:-
Is there something you need to ask God for today? (Go to the salty water and
as you pray, trace a cross on your cheek with a finger dipped in the water ).
Is there something you would like to thank God for? (Go to the scented oil and
as you pray, trace a cross on the back of your hand with a finger dipped in the oil ).
Is there some way that God is calling you to serve in the church or in the community? (Go to the hand wipes and as you pray, wipe your hands with a hand wipes.

Brilliant Comments on the Gospel
Found in Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes by Kenneth E. Bailey, SPCK, 2008, ISBN 9780281059751, pages 239-260.

Blessing: A Benediction
By J. Danson Smith and found in High Mountains, Deep Valleys by Rowland Croucher and Grace Thomlinson (Eds.) Albatross, 1990, ISBN 086760090X, page 239.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Proper 5 Ordinary 10 Pentecost 2: Dare to Make a Difference

Bible Readings: 1 Kings 17:8-16,(17-24), Psalm 146, Galatians 1:11-24, Luke 7:11-17 Theme:Dare to Make a Difference

Kids story: Elijah and the Widow of Nain Stories
Make up a number of white posters with dinner plate sized round faces. Make each face a different emotion - sad, happy, confused or puzzled, delighted, amazed, etc. Tell either story and use the faces to help the children reflect or guess the emotions involved in the story.
Kids Story: Elijah
Found in The Picture Strip Bible
by Felicity Henderson and Chris Saunderson, Scripture Union, 2001, ISBN 1859994970, page 48 (pictured)
Drama: Paul Called by God
A monologue by God found in Mega Drama 5 by Verena Johnson (Ed.), Open Book, 2002, ISBN 0859109194, page 68 (pictured in an earlier blog).
Film Clip: Mr Holland's Opus
Show the clip very close to the end where Mr Holland is taken to the gym for his surprise celebration which honours the difference he has made in hundreds of students lives. If you have time run this clip until the credits begin (it is not all that long) but at least make sure you include the speech given by one of his students.
Story: God - His Care
Found in Your Point Being? by Graham H. Twelftree, Monarch Books, 2003, ISBN 1854245929, story no. 99 (pictured in an earlier blog).
Story: No Funerals

Index 2407-2416
from Bible Illustrator for Windows Version 1.0d, Parsons Technology Inc., 1990.
Poem: This Time
by Giles David and found in Resources for Preaching and Worship - Year C compiled by Hannah Ward and Jennifer Wild, Westminster John Knox Press, 2003, ISBN 066422508X, Page 184. This works really well with projected images and music.
Meditation Stations: Elijah and the Widow

This mediation is based very roughly on a suggestion made
on page 35 of a really beaut book called Multi-Sensory Scripture by Sue Wallace, Scripture Union, 2005, ISBN 1844271668.
Have five separate stations around your worship space and some meditative music playing. Each station will be decorated differently (see below) and will have a short reading to contemplate and some suggestions for prayer and action. Arrange stations and people so that not everybody goes to Station 1 first - although the stations are chronological as far as the story goes, they can be visited in any order without losing a sense of what is happening. Allow around 3-5 minutes for each station and encourage people to visit them all at least once. However, also make it clear that they can revisit some if they wish to.
Station 1:
Have a map of the world, a lit candle and enough tea lights for everybody.
On small cards or note paper, print the following:
1 Kings 17:8-9. Note that the woman is not one of God's chosen people, is a widow, a woman (duh!) and has a son. Both she and the boy are marginalised.
To think and pray about:
Who are the marginalised people in our lives?
Who are the people we assume may be outside God's love because of their lifestyle, occupation, beliefs or ethnicity?
How can we make a difference and reflect God's love?
Light a candle and place it on a part of the world that needs Gods transforming love and life?
Station 2:
Have a simple bowl filled to overflowing with small loaves of (if possible, hot) bread
On small cards or note paper, print the following:
1 Kings 17:10-15 (or summary).

The widow gives away
her very last meal to a man she has never met before who she meets at the town gate.
Think of a time when you have mistrusted a request from a stranger.
Think of times when you have been generous to strangers.
What were the results?
Think of the difficulties you face as you try to balance requests for your time and/or money.
As you eat one of the small loaves, pray for the wisdom to know when to say "yes", when to say "no" and how to make a difference.
Station 3:
Have a number of postcards, photos, works of art, mounted magazine pictures of deserts, dry creek beds, angry or hurting faces, dry bones etc - anything that represents hard times, anger, and sadness.
On small cards or note paper, print the following:
1 Kings 17:17-18

Think of a time in your life when you have been fearful, depressed or angry with God.
Choose a picture from the collection that represents your feelings best.
How do you think God can or has make a difference to these feelings.
If you are feeling like this now, tell God about it.
If you know someone who may feel like this, pray for them.
Station 4:
Have a simple bowl filled with tiny bulbs or seeds (depending on the season)
On small cards or note paper, print the following:
1 Kings 17:19-23
Take a seed/bulb.
Look at the seed and think about what your life be like if God was not a part of it?
Imagine the potential of your seed, what it will grow in to, and imagine what God is doing with your potential.
If God is continually transforming you, how can you share that with others?
Station 5:
Have this station near a brightly illuminated pertinent painting, window or banner - I am going to use our pentecost bannner and arrange chairs around it.
On small cards or note paper, print the following:
1 Kings 17:24
Think of a time when God has used somebody to enable you to "see the light".
How has it helped your faith?
Thank God for the people who have made a difference to your faith.
Ask God to enable you share your faith with others - pray for specific people and/or communities.