THERE IS A 2021 UPDATED VERSION OF THIS POST WITH LOTS MORE STUFF. SEE MY ARCHIVE COLUMN AT LEFT.
Bible Readings: Song of Songs 2:8-11, Psalm 45:1-2, 6-9, James 1:17-27, Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23. About the image: Upper: This is the image I used on the cards mentioned in the response activity - I took it at Mt Hotham in the Australian high country. Please feel free to use it. If you want to know more about Mt Hotham, please visit http://www.mthotham.com.au/ Lower: These are candlestick banksias common to south eastern Australia - they grow up to a foot in length (30cms) and either grow straight up or at odd angles to their branches. My photo, my neighbour's candlesticks - so please feel free to use the image. Just a note: The reading I have chosen today probably works best here Down Under in areas where winter is coming to a close and where we are surrounded by the many beautiful signs of spring - however in many parts of the world where there are no seasons or the seasons are in reverse, this still seems to be a time of the year where particular things (like holidays) are finishing and new beginnings are happening (like the school year etc) so it won't take much to use the following resources either as analogies or to creatively adapt them to your particular situation. Have fun, anyway! Kids Story: Any story will work this week that relates to being loved by a parent - why not tell them a story from your own life. Relate it to the fatherhood of God. Kid's/Youth: The Spell Begins to Break This is the chapter in the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, 1950 (pictured at right) where the witch's power begins to weaken in the face of the mighty Aslan and winter finally begins to give way to spring. In the preceding chapter, What Happened After Dinner, is the verse: Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight, At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more, When he bears his teeth, winter meets its death, And when he shakes his mane, we will have spring again. Film Clip: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. As above - use the film, instead of the book. Discussion Questions: What are examples of the winter times in our lives?, in our church?, in our community?, in our world? How can we be part of God's activity in turning these winters into springs? Listening Song: Bring Me To Life By Evanescence on their album Fallen (pictured at left). Response Activity: Give out a card while thinking music plays in the background. On one side of the card have the words from Song of Songs printed: “Arise, my darling. I love you. Winter is past, the rain has stopped; flowers cover the earth, it’s time to sing”. On the other side of the card print a small bare branch with room enough to also write about their own personal winter. Give people time to write and then encourage them to come out and staple a sprig of blossom over the top of their winter as a sign of God’s promise to them.