Saturday, November 18, 2017

Advent 1 B (December 3): Waiting/Hoping/Anticipation





There is an 2020 updated version of this post - see archive at left.

Bible Readings: Isaiah 64:1-9, Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19, 1 Corinthians 1:3-9, Mark 13:24-37

About the Images:
Upper Left: This is a free Microsoft clipart image with text.
Upper Right:This is my photo of Southern Cross Station in Melbourne, Australia (for more info visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SouthernCrossrailwaystation,Melbourne). Please feel free to use this image for worship and related activities.
Middle left: This free clipart with my text comes from http://www.scripturepics.org - a useful site which seems to have been in recess for some time.
Middle Right: I am very careful to save copyright info for everything on my blog but I have slipped up badly on this one.  I am pretty sure it comes from the same site as the lower left image but I cannot access the site at the moment.  I have just spent a considerable time coasting around all my free image sites and  cannot find it anywhere else.  If somebody can verify where this image comes from I would very much appreciate it. 
Lower Left:  A free image from the Heartlight site - see my link column at left. 


Candle Lighting Liturgy
Found in Ideas For Worship, July to December 1996, JBCE (pictured at left).


Kids' Talk
One enjoyable thing to do for the four Sundays of Advent is to turn the whole Christmas story into a serial telling a small part of the story each week - or act it out (see below). Start this week with the story of Mary and the Angel.

Drama: Mary and the Angel
From Cloth From the Cradle by Wild Goose Worship Group, Wild Goose Publications, 1997, ISBN 1901557014, page 42ff (pictured at right)

Discussion: On the Isaiah reading
1. What was Isaiah hoping and waiting for?
2. What are you hoping and waiting for: for yourself? for your church? for the community in which you live? for the world?

Story: God's Answer
There is a story told about a faithful old deacon whose oft repeated prayer expression was, "O Lord, touch the unsaved with Thy finger." One prayer meeting night he was leading in prayer when as he intoned this petition, as he so often did, he abruptly stopped praying. Supposing he had been taken suddenly ill, someone went to him and asked if there was anything wrong, if he were ill. "No," he replied, "I’m not ill. But something seemed to say to me, ’Thou art the finger’."
I cannot find a specific copyright for this story (please let me know if you know) but if you google the first line it pops up all over the place on the net and can be found in the now out of print Bible Illustrator under the above title.

Meditation: Waiting
From Cloth From the Cradle by Wild Goose Worship Group, Wild Goose Publications, 1997, ISBN 1901557014, page 20ff (pictured above)


Adult Response:
Give everyone a marking pen (or access to one) and a 2" (5cm) wide strip of green cloth,. Ask them to write on the strip one of the things that they hope for. These can be displayed in any number of ways. If you do a similar activity each week of advent (connecting the writing and the colour with the theme of each week), you will have the resources to finish in Advent 4 with the symbolic action Cloth for the Cradle found in Cloth for the Cradle by Wild Goose Worship Group, Wild Goose Publications, 1997, ISBN 1901557014, page 74ff (pictured above).

Adult Response: Wilderness and Return
From Bring
ing the Word to Life Together Year B by Andrew Collis and Dorothy McRae-McMahon, Mediacom, 2011, ISBN 9781921945038, page 13ff (pictured at left).

Blessing: One Day at a Time
From Advent, Christmas and Epiphany by Brian Wren, Westminster John Knox Press, 2008, ISBN 978066423309, page 56 (pictured at right).

Also:

Poem/Meditation: The Cup
By Ruth Burgess in Dandelions and Thistles: Biblical Meditations from the Iona Community by Jan Sutch Pickard (ed.) Wild Goose Publications, 1999, ISBN 1901557146, page 38(pictured at left). This goes well with the Isaiah reading.







Christ the King A (November 26): How Shall We Live?























There is an 2020 updated version of this post - see archive at left.

Bible Readings: Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24, Psalm 100, Ephesians 1:15-23, Matthew 25:31-46 

About the Images:

Upper Left: This is my photo taken near Chambers Pillar in Central Australia (for more info on this area please visit http://www.nt.gov.au/nreta/parks/find/chamberspillar.html) with Nathan Nettleton's translation of Psalm 100:4a.
Upper Right: This is my photo of the walkway beside the railway line at Sawtell in New South Wales, Australia (for more info on this area please visit http://www.sawtellnsw.com.au/).
You may use either of these images for worship and related activities.

Lower Left and Right : These are free Heartlight images - see my link column at left.

Listening Song: Above All
By Michael W. Smith on his album, The Second Decade, or on WOW 2003 (pictured at left). This goes well with the Ephesians reading.


Kid's Story: Popa Panov
By Leo Tostoy - a classic and found in innumerable publications.

Story: Kindness
Based on the Matthew reading; Story No. 355 in 750 Engaging Illustrations for Preachers, Teachers and Writers edited by Craig Brian Larson and Leadership Journal, Baker Books, 2002, ISBN 0801091551 (pictured at right).

Story:
The legend is told of a desert wanderer who found a crystal spring of unsurpassed freshness. The water was so pure he decided to bring some to his king. Barely satisfying his own thirst, he filled a leather bottle with the clear liquid and carried it many days beneath the desert sun before he reached the palace. When he finally laid his offering at the feet of his sovereign, the water had become stale and rank due to the old container in which it had been stored. But the king would not let his faithful subject even imagine that it was unfit for use. He tasted it with expressions of gratitude and delight, and sent away the loyal heart filled with gladness. After he had gone, others sampled it and expressed their surprise that the king had even pretended to enjoy it. "Ah!" said he, "it was not the water I tasted, but the love that prompted the offering." Many times our service is marked by multiple imperfections, but the Master looks at our motives and says "It is good."
This story is found at http://associate.com/library/www.christianlibrary.org/authors/Grady_Scott/makemeservant.htm
Co
pyright 2000 by Grady Scott may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others. 

Meditation/Prayer: As You Did to the Least of These, My Brethren
by Robert W Castle in Imaging the Word Volume 3 by Susan A Blain, Sharon Iverson Gouwens, Catherine O'Callagan and Grant Spradling, (Eds.), United Church Press, 1996, ISBN 0829801862, page 66ff (pictured at left). I put images with these words and backed the powerpoint with Pie Jesu by Sarah Brightman and Paul Miles-Kingston on Andrew Llyod Webber's album, Gold (pictured at right )

Mediation: How Was I To Know?                               Based on the Matthew reading and found in Ideas for Worship, July - December 1996, JBCE, page 44 (pictured at left).

Also:

Meditation: Worship
Found in Meditations from the Iona Community by Ian Reid, Wild Goose Publications, Trowbridge, 1998, ISBN 1901557022, page 19.This goes well with the Psalm. 

Meditation: The Shepherd and the Sheep 
Found in Meditations from the Iona Community by Ian Reid, Wild Goose Publications, Trowbridge, 1998, ISBN 1901557022, page 66. This goes well with the Ezekiel reading.


Kids: Oi Get Off Our Train


By John Burningham, Random House,  with lots of ideas for a whole worship service found in Worship is For Everyone by Julie Pinazza, Openbook Publishers, 2000, ISBN 0859109259, page 42. This goes well with the Matthew reading.


Taize Service: Loving the Least

Found in Worship Feast by Taize, Abingdon Press, 2004, page 14. This is based on the Matthew reading.


Worship Activity: On Your Knees
By Jim Burns and Robin Dugall in Worship Experiences, Gospel Light, 1999, ISBN, 0830724044, page 38.  This is based on the Psalm.


Worship Activity: Power Praying
By Jim Burns and Robin Dugall in Worship Experiences, Gospel Light, 1999, ISBN, 0830724044, page 42.  This is based on the Ephesians reading.











Saturday, November 04, 2017

Proper 27 Ordinary 32 A (November 12): Choose/Be Prepared














There is an 2020 updated version of this post - see archive at left.

Bible Readings: Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25, Psalm 78:1-7, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Matthew 25:1-13.

About the Images:

Upper Left: This is a free microsoft clipart image with my text.
Upper Right: This is my photo taken in a Byzantine cave church in Avdat, Israel. Please feel free to use this image for worship and related activities.
Lower Left: This is a free clipart image from the wonderful Hermano Leon site - see my links column at left.
Lower Right: This is a free image from the brilliant Heartlight site - see  my link column at left

Listening Song: Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning
By Jim Fisher and the White Pointers on the compilation album, Tim Winton: Dirt Music: Music For a Novel, 2001 (pictured at left). This song is based on the Matthew reading.

Listening Song: Got To Serve Somebody
By Bob Dylan and found on various CD's and on line. This goes very well with the Joshua reading and with the gospel reading.


Discussion: Based on the Psalm
What is one thing about God you think the kids (in Sunday School, Youth Group, your family, whatever is appropriate in your congregation) should know above all else. It might be a Bible verse, a Bible story, a personal story, a verse from a song, a prayer or ......... When people have had a bit of time to talk it through, ask them to individually write down what they each think is the most important thing that they want the kids to know about God. I collected all of these, printed them on to A4's folded as A5 cards and gave them to the kids in our kid's club the following week. It was like a gift from the adults to the children and everybody enjoyed the experience.

Discussion: On Joshua reading
1. What sort of things in our past can hinder our relationship with God?
2. What sort of things in our culture hinder our relationship with God?
NB: I divided the congregation into age groups for this discussion becau
se the answers differ between generations more so than usual.

Drama: What should I Do?
Found in Let's Make Another Scene by Verena Johnson (Ed.), Open Book Publishers, 1995, ISBN 0859107620, page 26 (pictured at right). This drama is based on the Joshua reading.

Story: Testimony
Index 4173 from Bible Illustrator for Windows Version 1.0d, Parsons Technology Inc., 1990. This story makes a good introduction to the psalm.

Quote: Tho
mas Bandy and Bill Easum from their book Growing Spiritual Redwoods.
(Nashville, Abingdon Press, 1997, ISBN-10: 0687336007; pictured at left)
"It is a pre Christian world.
It is a world similar to the first century after Jesus.
It is a world of technalogical change and population migration;
a world of systemic injustice and apocalyptic longing;
it is a world of excessive materialism and spiritual yearning;
it is a world of deep anxiety and utter cynicism towards the religious institutions of the past."
Ask people to suggest examples for each of these and then link these examples of modern society with the Matthew reading concentrating on the "be prepared" aspects of the parable more than the "keep watch" aspects.
.

Poem: The Zode
Found in Illustrations, Stories and Quotes to Hang Your Message On by Jim Burns and Greg McKinnon, Gospel Light, 1997, ISBN 0830718834, page 75 (pictured at right).   This is a Dr Seuss poem which fits with the choice issue in the Joshua reading.

Poems, Prayers and Images: Choose This Day.
All the resources (which include the words to the Dylan song above) set down for the Joshua reading in Imaging the Word Volume 3 by Susan A Blain, Sharon Iverson Gouwens, Catherine O'Callagan and Grant Spradling, (Eds.), United Church Press, 1996, ISBN 0829801862, page 66ff (pictured at left) are absolutely brilliant!!!!

Adult Response:
When the people decided to choose God, Joshua put a stone in the meeting place to be a witness to the people's intentions. Ask the congregation to write down on a piece of paper one of the things that hinders their relationship with God. Collect them all in a dish or a basket and bury them under a big stone (literally or figuratively).

Also:


All Sorts of Useful Stuff: Ready or Not
By Ian Birkinshaw in Multi-Sensory Parables, Scripture Union, 2006, ISBN 9781844272310, page 60.  This is based on the Gospel. 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Proper 25 Ordinary 30 (October 29): Being at Home with God











There is an 2020 updated version of this post - see archive at left.

Bible readings: Deuteronomy 34:1-12, Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17, 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8, Matthew 22:34-46

About the Images:
Upper Left: This is a microsoft free clipart background with the Biblical text.
Upper Right: This is my image taken from the summit of Mt Nebo (biblical Moab, present day Jordan) with the Biblical text. Please feel free to use this image for worship and related activities.
Lower left and right: These are free cliparts from Heartlight (see my links column at left).

Listening Song: Gather At The River
By Point of Grace on their album, The Whole Truth (pictured at left) or on the WOW 2001 album. This song is about loving
one another.

Film Clip: Liar Liar
This clip can be found at the excellent Wingclips site - see my links column at left or go to the following address:
Grown Ups Lie - Movie Clip from Liar Liar at WingClips.com



Discussion: Liar Liar
1. Do you agree that adults have to lie sometimes to be kind?
2. How transparent should we be to those around us?
3. Where does God fit into this discussion?

Drama: We are a Family
Found in Let's Make a Scene Too by Verena Johnson, Lutheran Publishing House, 1991, ISBN 085910608X, page 31 (pictured at left). A drama about not being at home with God.

Story: Sharing the Gospel
Found at the following address:
http://pieti
st.blogspot.com/2005_07_01_archive.html
Type the name of the author, Cecil Northcott, in to find the story.


Poem: The Real Problem
By Ad
rian Plass in Clearing Away the Rubbish, Minstral, 1988, ISBN 1854240250, page 142 (pictured at right). A poem about not being at home with each other.

Quote: Robert Frost
"Home is where
when you go there they have to take you in." Found in Death of a Hired Man.

Prayer for Others: Based on the Gospel reading
Found in Bringing the Word To Life Together by Andrew Collis and Dorothy McRae-McMahon, Mediacom, 2010, ISBN 9780949656911, page 152 (pictured at left). This is a beautiful "hands on" prayer.

Sermon: DIY
Have three stations for people to visit in any order - each with input and response activities as follows
Station 1:
Have the poem, The Real Problem (above), printed on the other side of the adult response frames (below). Ask people to read the poem first and then respond with the frames in the same way as I have described in the Response Activity below. Provide pens or pencils so that they can do this.
Station 2:
Have a poster of the story, Sharing the Gospel (above), pinned up and in large print - it is a small story so it will be easy to do this. Ask people to read the story and then respond as per the prayer for others (above).

Station 3:
Have pens or pencils and a pile of A5 sheets of paper with 1 Thessalonians 2: 1-8 on the B side with the question
"How does your list compare with Paul's?" beneath the reading. On the A side, which they will look at first, have the following:
1. Write a list, in order of priority, of those you wish to please the most.
2. Turn the sheet over and read the other side.


Response Activity:
Give each person a small folded card (three fitted on an A4 for me) with two empty frames printed on the inside. Reassure everybody that this is an activity between themselves and God - that no one will see what they write or draw. Ask people to write or draw their public image in the left hand frame,
and the real person in the right hand frame. Play some nice thinking music while they are doing this. To conclude, either pray a prayer about committing/giving all of ourselves to God and/or challenge people to put their cards in with their offering as an act of commitment.

Also:
Kids Talk: The Greatest Commandment
Found in Saving the Ants by Ruth Gilmore, Augsburg, 2001, ISBN 0806640804, page 116 (pictured at right). This is based on the gospel reading.

Prayer of Confession: Based on Psalm 90
By Rachel C. Hackenburg and found in Before the Amen: Creative Resources for Worship by Marin C and Maria I Tirabassi (Eds), The Pilgrim Press, 2007, ISBN 9780829817508, pages 200 (pictured at left).


Meditation: Two Visions of the Future
Found in Meditations from the Iona Community by Ian Reid, Wild Goose Publications, Trowbridge, 1998, ISBN 1901557022, page 59. This goes well with the Old Testament reading.











Sunday, October 15, 2017

Proper 24 Ordinary 29 A (October 22): On Being the Message






There is an 2020 updated version of this post - see archive at left.

Bible Readings: Exodus 33, 12-23, Psalm 99, 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10, Matthew 22:15-22

About the Images:
Upper Left: A copyright free wikimedia commons image on to which I put the text.
Upper Right: My photo, so please feel free to use it for worship and related activities.
Lower Left: A Microsoft free clipart image with words from Bill Easum's book, Leadership on the Other Side (see Adult Response below).
Lower Right: A Microsoft free clipart with my text

Listening Song: The Message
By 4 Him on their album, The Message (pictured at left) or on WOW 1997 or on Nothing But Pop. This song is a great introduction for the Thessalonians reading.

Kid's Story: An Important Message

Tell the kids about Paul - about how he left the Thessalonians an important message. Have 1 Thessalonians 1:4 printed out on a large sheet of cardboard and then cut it up as a jigsaw puzzle and have the kids help you put the message back together again.

Psalm 99
Divide it up to be read in four or five sections and sing the Taize response: The Lord is my Song in between as a response.


Discussion: Matthew reading

What are some of the things which can make us afraid?


Drama: Church? What Church?
Interviewer: Tell me what you think of the church?
1: I think it's just a money making concern.
2: People who go are just hypocrites. They should practice what they preach.
3: Teaches you good morals, I suppose, but I've got a business to run.
4: It helps us Christians look after each other.
Interviewer: What sort of Christian do you think you are?
1: I've got a Bible at home and I'll use it if I have to!
3: Pretty good actually - I never miss going to church at Christmas and Easter.
2: I think it's fun to go to church but don't tell my friends that. They'll think I am a loser.
4: I'm the sort of Christian who is sure that God loves me.
Interviewer: Why do you go to church?
3; Oh, that's easy....to check out the girls/boys.
2: My family make me!
1: To pick up the latest gossip around town.
4; To tell God he's terrific.
Interviewer: What do you do in church?
1: Count the bricks.
2: Read who wrote the hymns and work out how old they are.
3: Check out what everyone's wearing.
4; Get involved!
Interviewer: Why do you belong to church?

Copyright: Ann Scull

Discussion: For
the drama: Church? What Church?
1. Why do you belong to a church?
2. Why do you belong to this church?
3. The Thessalonians reading tells us that faith, loving work and hope are all gifts from God. Which gift do you want most at the moment?
4. What is it about our relationship with Jesus that the world cannot live without knowing.


Drama: Caesar

A; Did you see the paper today?
B: (hopelessly) I know, Jesus on the front page again
A: Did you read what he said?
B: Some rubbish about how you shouldn’t worry about what anybody thinks of you! What kind of person says that!
A: Someone stuck in the 70’s man!
B: Well we know he doesn’t care what anyone thinks of him – you can tell that by his fashion sense…… and his friends.
A: Hippy fishermen!
B: and how only what God wants, counts!
A: What sort of citizen says that? What about what the Prime minister wants!
B; What about what the Queen wants!
A: What about what the taxman wants!
B: He’s a traitor!
A: He should be arrested
B: Yes! I tried to make him admit that he’s a traitor
A: DID you!
B: I got a HUGE crowd together and I said “OK Jesus, should we use everything we have for God, or should we pay it all in taxes to the government?
A: I thought - If he says “give everything to God” we can arrest him for telling people to be naughty to the government. If he says “we should pay our taxes” then all his followers will see that he doesn’t give everything to God at all!
B: Brilliant! What did he say?
A: Well, first I THINK he called me an idiot, and then he asked me for a coin. Then he said “whose face is on it? I said “The King’s! Then he said Well, it must belong to him then – give him what belongs to him, but give God what belongs to God…you know the difference don’t you? He said.
B: That was a good answer – a very good answer.
Copyright: Rosie Broadstock (free use for worship and related activities).
Story: Sermons versus Witness
Index 4173 from Bible Illustrator for Windows Version 1.0d, Parsons Technology Inc., 1990. Based on 1 Thessalonians 1:8. This story can also be found at
http://www.stjohnskirkland.org/clergy.html


Story: Tested by the Lord.

Index 2149 from Bible Illustrator for Windows Version 1.0d, Parsons Technology Inc., 1990. Based on 1 Thessalonians 1:8. This story can also be found at
http://www.thecorner-stone.org/zLf-Li.aspx
. Scroll down or search the site for the author: G. Campbell Morgan

 
Story: Belonging
Found in Stories From the Heart by Alice Gray (compiler), Vision House, 1996, ISBN 1885305419, page 25 (pictured at right).This story fits in really well with gospel reading.

Quote: Jim Elliot (one of the five missionaries killed in south America in the 1950's)

God is on his throne and man is on his footstool. But there is only a knee's distance between.
Adult Response: Handout
Give everyone a business card ((pictured at top) with the question "What is it about my relationship with Jesus that the world cannot live without knowing?" This is a Bill Easum question found in his book Leadership On The Other Side, Abingdon Press 2000, ISBN  0687085888.  Encourage people to take the card home and think about their answer and how they could share their answer with others. 


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.  This is based on the Psalm reading.

Prayer: What should we render Ceasar
By Ruth Burgess and Chris Polhill in Eggs and Ashes, Wild Goose Publications, 2004, page 121.