Sunday, June 26, 2016

Proper 10 C (July 10): Rescue/Mission Not Quite Impossible/Making a Positive Impact


Readings: Amos 7:7-17, Psalm 82, Colossians 1:1-14, Luke 10:25-35.

About the images:
Upper Left:
This is a free Microsoft clipart image with text from - a great site for an Australian paraphrase (among other things).
Upper Right: I decided this flood photo fitted all three possible titles for the readings this week:-
Rescue: this house is certainly in need of rescue,
Mission Not Quite Impossible: Of all the places it could have come to rest - such as the middle of the river! - the house actually came to rest right beside a road.
Making a Positive Impact: the owner of this house made a very positive impact when he was interviewed - he basically said "it's just a house, not a life, that has been lost".

Lower Left: This is a free Heartlight image. See my link column at left.
Lower Right: This image comes from the awesome Church Galleries website which was decimated by hackers last year. At present it is possible to buy these images very cheaply - however this particular one is free on the site this week.  Well worth the subscription!!! Visit the website at

Listening Song: Grace

By U2 on their album, All That You Can't Leave Behind (pictured at right). The song title says it all.  This is a brilliant and moving song.

Kid's Story: The Good Stranger
Found in Stories Jesus Told: Favourite Stories From the Bible by Nick Butterworth and Mick Inkpen, Zondervan, 2007, ISBN 101859855881 (pictured at left) or in a separate volume under the same title published by Harper Collins, 1995.

Video Clip: Mission Impossible 2
You can relate this clip (one impossible mission after another!) to the Amos reading.

Video Clip: Pay It Forward
(pictured at left) You can connect chapter 31 - when Trevor's Mum forgives her Mum - to the Colossians reading.

Discussion: Pay It Forward
What is grace?
When have you seen an example of grace?

Video Clip: Mr Holland's Opus
 A great clip about how everyone, no matter who they are, has the potential to make a positive impact on the lives of others.

Film Clip: The God Samaritan
This lovely little clip is found at

Drama: The Horticultural Guide  
Found in Let's Make A Scene Too by Verena Johnson, Lutheran Publishing House, 1991, ISBN 085910608X, page 47 (pictured at left). This drama is useful if you are concentrating on the Colossians reading.

Drama: The Christian Inaction
Found in Lets make Another Scene by Verena Johnson, Open Book, 1995, ISBN 0859107620, page 24 (pictured at right). This drama is useful for the Luke reading.

Introduction to the Gospel: Oxymorons
Talk about oxymorons. Give a few examples eg plastic glasses, work party, taped live, peace force. Talk about how "Good Samaritan" was a bit of an oxymoron for Jesus' listeners when he told them the story. This little exercise helps people see the extent of the implications of the story.

Discussion: On Luke
Can church work get in the way of love and compassion?

Discussion: On Amos
In pairs:
1. Discuss a time when you have had to start again - pick a painful restart or a less painful one - it doesn't matter.
2. Share what was hard in the new beginning.
3. Share what was easy.
1. What are some of the good things about starting again?
2. What are some of the more difficult things about starting again?
3. How were the people of Israel asked to start again?
4. What did God and Amos use as an image?
5. Who opposed Amos?
If someone was asked to hold a plumb line against our congregation, how would it hold up?

Quote: Paul Harvey

If you don't live it, you don't believe it".

Story: Practising the Existence of God
By Philip Yancey in Rumours of Another World, Zondervan, 2003, ISBN 0310255244, pages 223-4. This is a series of grace stories set in South Africa at the time when Nelson Mandela was released from prison.

Response Activity: The Good Samaritan
Ask people to consider, at this point of their lives, who do they relate to best:
The lawyer: so busy debating the issue that he cannot see the need,
The people who pass by: so busy with religious duties that he cannot help
The beaten up man: accepting help from somebody he would rather not accept help from
The Good Samaritan: responding to a need even when he knows he is seen as inadequate.

Leave some silence for them to talk to God about it.

Response Activity: Grace
Have A4/letter sized paper (art paper is best but ordinary paper will do), plenty of pencils, paints and crayons available, flat tabletops or whatever to work on ( I use various spaces in the worship area and rooms nearby) and the following instructions either projected or printed on small cards.
1. Take some time in silence to concentrate on God.
2. On the paper, make a drawing of your life so far - it can be a time line, a series of small drawings or symbols, a diagram, a graph - whatever. Take your time and use what you are doing as part of your praying.
3. Take a bright colour you have not used on the paper anywhere and circle or shade the parts of your life where you can see God's grace at work.
4. Somewhere on the paper make a "what next" area and as you do, ask God to show you what's next for you.
Allow about ten minutes for this activity. To conclude, you could ask everybody to place their work in an area accessible to all so that people can wander about enjoying what has been created or you could encourage people to each say a one sentence prayer which thanks God for something they have discovered whilst doing the activity could do both.

Hmmmm who's idea is this? - I think it is mine but let me know if you think it is yours.

Mediative Listening Song: Dies Irae

By Libera on their CD, Libera (pictured in an earlier blog).


Meditation: The Good Samaritan
Found in Meditations from the Iona Community by Ian Reid, Wild Goose Publications, Trowbridge, 1998, ISBN 1901557022, page 75. This goes well with the gospel reading.

Kids: The Good Samaritan
By Andrew McDonough, Lost Sheep Resources, 2006. This goes with the Matthew reading. Absolutely the best story series around for kids and adults. My whole congregation is delighted every time we use one of these wonderful books. 

All Sorts of Useful Stuff: Love Actually
By Ian Birkinshaw in Multi-Sensory Parables, Scripture Union, 2006, ISBN 9781844272310, page 24.  This is based on the Gospel. 

Plumb Line Prayer
By Ruth Burgess and Chris Polhill in Eggs and Ashes, Wild Goose Publications, 2004, page 102. This goes with the Amos reading.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Proper 06 Ordinary 11 C (June 12): God's Generosity


Bible Readings: 1 Kings 21:1-21
a, Psalm 5:1-8, Galatians 2:15-21, Luke 7:36-8:3

About the Images:
Upper Left
: This is free Microsoft clipart with my text.
Upper right
: I used a number of free Microsoft clipart to make this image.
Lower Left: This is a free Heartlight image.  See my link column at left.
Lower Right:  This image comes from the awesome Church Galleries website which was decimated by hackers last year. At present it is possible to buy these images very cheaply - however this particular one is free on the site this week.  Well worth the subscription!!! Visit the website at

Listening Song: His Love Was Reaching
By David Meece on his album,
Odyssey (pictured at right). This goes particularly well with the Old Testament and the Gospel reading.

Listening Song: Dr Jekyll and Mr Christian
by Whiteheart on their album. Souvenirs (pictured at left).

Discussion: Dr Jekyll and Mr Christian
1. What groups in society do we find it hard to accept and love?
2. What groups do we condemn?
3. What groups do we avoid?
4. What is the challenge for us in both the gospel reading and the song?

Listening Song: Gather at the River 
By Point of Grace on their album, Point of Truth (pictured at right) and on WOW 2001. This goes well with the gospel reading and with the adult response below.

Listening Song: Fat Boy
By Jewel on her album, Spirit (pictured  at left).

Discussion: Fat Boy
1. Are we as loving to the outcasts in our society as we are to our friends and family?
2 Who are the outcasts?
3. Who do we include in our circles and who do we leave out?

4. In the song, the fat boy tries to make out everything is OK and that he is not hurt. How does he do that?
5. Why do you think Jewel finishes the song where she does?
6. 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 at right).

Ask the Kids:
1. What did Simon think of the lady?
2. What did Jesus think of the lady?
3. 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. See the subtitled clip below. Lewis says: "I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time - waking and sleeping." 

Ask: 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?

His last line is a ripper and worthy of discussion too.

Film Clip: Sons of Korah Psalm 32
(the alternative Pslam set down for today which goes beautifully with the gospel reading)

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.


1. How do you feel when a prayer does not seem to be answered?
2. What was a Pharisee?
3. Who are most like Pharisees today?

To Think About
1. When do you find yourself acting like Simon in the gospel story?
2. 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, transforming 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 at left).

Story: Barefoot Bill
Found in Rebecca Manley Pippert, Out of the Salt Shaker, Inter Varsity Press. 1979, ISBN 0830822208, page 177. This story goes really well with the gospel reading. It is a story that can be found in more than just this book too - possibly an urban church myth but useful all the same. A story does not have to be real to teach a truth.

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.

Poem: The Sinful Woman
By Ranjini Rebera in The Bible Through Asian Eyes by Maseo Takenaka nad Ron O'Grady, Pace Publishing, ISBN 0959797106, page 102 (pictured at right)

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.

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 wipe) - to illustrate how we need to wash our hands before we get down to servant work not to illustrate the grubbiness of those we serve. Sadly this needs to be explained sometimes.

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.


Sample Service: The Feast of Forgiveness
Found in Party On Together by Beth Barnett and Dr Keith Dyer, Scripture Union, 2010, page 41. This is based on the Gospel reading. This resource is also available in electronic form through the Baptist Union of Victoria website, where it can be copied freely for non-commercial use. 

Hope for the Shameless
Found in Party On Together by Beth Barnett and Dr Keith Dyer, Scripture Union, 2010, page 94. This is based on the Gospel reading. This resource is also available in electronic form through the Baptist Union of Victoria website, where it can be copied freely for non-commercial use. 

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