Sunday, April 05, 2009

Easter Day B (April 12): Jesus is the One!


Bible Readings: Acts 10:34-43, Isaiah 25:6-9, Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24, 1 Corinthians 15:1-11, John 20:1-18, Mark 16:1-8 About the Images: Top: This is The Angel of the Lord painted in 1990 by Jacek Andrzej Rossakiewicz (b.1956). I love it! I obtained it from Wikimedia Commons, The permission for use of this work has been verified and archived in the Wikimedia OTRS system. Bottom: It never ceases to amaze me how new life arises from the devastation of an Australian bushfire. Because of the nature of our trees and the dense undergrowth, our fires can be amazingly hot and many cases even the dirt seems to be burnt - an absolute wasteland ensues. Yet before too long, the bush begins to regenerate. Life out of death! This photo shows first growth leaves in a burnt out area of the Australian High country. Decor and Preparation As for Good Friday - black cloth over communion table and unlit Christ candle. Get enough musical instruments eg bells, shakers, clackers etc etc for everyone - or at least for all your kids. Cheap toys are fine. Call to Worship: We Will Unfold By Roddy Hamilton, April 2006, available via his site -see Mucky Paws link at left (he will send you out monthly liturgies if you freely subscribe). Awesome stuff!!!

Call to Worship Project a series of pictures about Good Friday whilst playing Grace by Moby from his album Songs (pictured at left). Move straight into the following.... Opening Drama: The Three Woman Found in Stages on the Way by Wild Goose Worship Group, Wild Goose Publications, 1998 ISBN 1876357363 (pictured in an earlier blog). As the three woman say their final lines together, "He is Risen" , project their words. Woman 1 then removes the black cloth, woman 2 lights the candle and woman 3 gives out the musical instruments and announces the first song. Then make enthusiastic music!! or Opening Drama: The Message In Let's Make Another Scene by Verena Johnson, Open Book, 1995, ISBN 0859107620, page 66 (pictured at right). This is based on the gospels. Easter Celebration: Easter is...... Another ripper from Roddy Hamilton (as above). Absolution for Prayer of confession and/or passing of the Peace: This is the Good News Found in Stages on the Way (see above) Drama: Easter Eggcitement Found in Mega Drama 1 by Verena Johnson (ed), Open Book, 2001, ISBN 0859109151, page 94 (pictured at left). This drama is based on the John reading. Kid's Talk: Cut the Tie Found at I used this one three years ago and people still talk about it. It's a ripper! Kid's Talk: Faith and Belief Found at Pew and Plenary Discussion Tell your neighbour what your best celebration ever was. Share with the congregation the age you were for this event. Just as birthdays can become a little more ordinary as we grow older, I wonder if we can sometimes lose the intense meaning and significance of Easter as each year adds another celebration. Share as a congregation: What is the significance of Easter? Tell your neighbour how you think Easter will make a difference to your week. Story: On The River of Death Found at Sermon Idea: The Visit Found in The Final Boundary by Adrian Plass, Minstrel, 1987, ISBN 1854240935 (pictured at right). Listening Song: Beautiful Day By U2 on their album, All That You Can't Leave Behind. Response Activity: Christ Has Died, Christ Has Risen Found in Stages on the Way (again!!!), page 196. Benediction: Here Are your Disciples Found in Stages on the Way (you can tell I like this book!!), page 198.

Good Friday B (April10)


Bible readings: Isaiah 52:13-53:12, Psalm 22, Hebrews 10:16-25 or Hebrews 4:14-16,5:7-9, John 18:1 -19:42 About the Images: Above: This image comes from This site no longer updates (you will see the sad reason why when you visit) however the artist, Don da Silva, has left a legacy of wonderful images and templates via the site archives. Below: This is is my photo of an evening in the Victorian High country. The cross is a digital addition. If you want to see more of our beautiful high country, then visit N.B. Good Friday needs to be treated rather differently from many services. It is a special time. I usually divide the Easter story up (i.e. some of the stations of the cross) and separate each section with the solemn sound of a gong that has the capacity to reverberate through the silence of the worship space. I use a home made tubular bell which is excellent (email me if you would like instructions on how to make one). At the very least I use a Bible reading, an image either projected or placed in a prominent position and a symbol for each section of the story. A responsive song such as "Jesus, remember me" works well too at the end of each section. Have a large wooden cross at the front of the church. This year: I am going to place the cross in the middle of the church where the coffin usually sits at a funeral. I will place the Christ candle on it and people will be encouraged to come out and light a candle as a response to any of the stations/sections. Various options specific to each section are as follows: 1. Jesus is arrested. Symbol: Chains or rope Prayer: What do You Say? By Dom Helder Camara and found in Resources For Preaching and Worship Year B compiled by Hannah Ward and Jennifer Wild, Westminster John Knox Press, 2002, ISBN 100664224776, page 115. 2. Jesus is Questioned Symbol: Gavel Biblical Reflection: The Pharisee From Eggs and Ashes by Ruth Burgess and Chris Polhill, Wild Goose Publications, 2004, ISBN 1901557871, page 193 (pictured in and earlier blog). Biblical Reflection: The Priest From Eggs and Ashes (as above) page 192. 3. Peter denies Jesus Symbol: Smashed alarm clock or feathers. Listening Song: I Can't Take the Pain By Third Day on their album, Time (pictured at left). Story: Crucifix By G. A. Studdert-Kennedy and found in Resources For Preaching and Worship Year B, as above, page 114. 4. Peter Denies Jesus Symbol: whip or bowl of water Meditation: Stations of the Cross (part of it) From Eggs and Ashes (as above), page 166. All fifteen stations are dealt with in this book and can be used as a whole, however can also be used in "stand alone" situations; for example, I used the meditation and prayer from Station 1 for this part of my service. Sermon based on The Death of Innocence Found in The Song of Jesus: Reflections on the Life of Jesus of Nazareth by Ron O'Grady, JBCE, Melbourne, 1984, page 70. 5. The Death Sentence Symbol: Crown of Thorns or a scarlet/purple robe. Reading: Why is he Getting Wrong? By Ruth Burgess and Kirsty Langlands (aged 10) in Eggs and Ashes (as above), page 166 Silent Responsive Prayer: Based on section 5 of The Easter Labyrinth in Multi- Sensory Church by Sue Wallace, Scripture Union, 2002, ISBN 1859996671, page 53 (pictured at right). Sue Wallace has at least seven of these multi-sensory books and they are excellent. 6. Jesus is nailed to the Cross Symbols: hammer and nails, dice, sponge. Listening Song: Our God Who Weeps By Kate Scull on the compilation album, Tune In. Meditation: When Jesus Died In Stages on the Way by Wild Goose Worship Group, 1998 (pictured in an earlier blog) page 168. This is quite long but can be broken up or only used in part. Symbolic prayer: Touch the items as you pray. Here are dice,Lord, to remind us that you lost everything for us. Help us to be generous with our lives as well as with our belongings. Help us to see need. Here is a sponge, Lord, to remind us of your thirst. Help us to thirst for justice and peace and freedom and for your kingdom here in earth. Here are nails, Lord, to remind us of your forgiveness given to the men who nailed you to the cross. Help us to forgive those who hurt us as generously as you forgave them. Amen. 7. The Death of Christ Symbol: Blow out the Christ candle Film clip: Play the crucifixion scene from any good quality film about Jesus, however turn off the sound and instead play Everything I Do, I Do It For You by Bryan Adams on his album, The Best of Me (pictured at left). 8. Jesus is buried Symbol: cover communion table with a black cloth. Symbolic action: Place one very small but exquisite flower on the black cloth and say: This flower is not a symbol of grief or death, it is not part of a funeral wreath. It is a symbol of hope. This story is not yet over. It is indeed Friday today But Sunday is coming. This small beautiful flower will stay here as a symbol of hope until we return. Not sure where I got this idea - if somebody owns it, please let me know so I can acknowledge you. You can do the same thing with a tiny candle and talk about the darkness never putting out the light. 9. Conclusion Drama and Response Activity: Guilty as Sin Found in Mega Drama 3 by Verena Johnnson, Open Book, 2002 (pictured in an earlier blog). Use as a lead in to everyone coming forward and hammering a nail into the large wooden cross. Permission is given in this book to adapt the dramas to fit the circumstances and so I left out the narrator at the beginning and had the people in the drama say their words from their seats, come forward to hammer in their nail and then return to their seats. This gave the rest of the people permission to come forward when they were asked to do so. Listening Song: Barber's Adagio for String By William Orbit on the Open Space album (pictured at right).