Friday, August 25, 2017

Proper 17 Ordinary 22 A (September 3): Living God's Call

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

Bible readings; Exodus 3:1-5, Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45c, Romans 12:9-21, Matthew 16:21-28

About the Images:
Upper Left: This is made up of two free microsoft clip art images with my text.
Upper right: This is a free microsoft clip art image with my text.
Lower left: This is a fee image from the Heartlight collection - see my links at left.
Lower Right: My image - feel free to use it for worship and related activities.

Film Clip: The Prince of Egypt
Show the burning bush scene from the film The Prince of Egypt (pictured at left)

Discussion: The Prince of Egypt
Where are some places we may meet God?
What do you think God might say to us as a church?

Quiz: Who Am I?

In line with the Exodus reading which points to God using ordinary people to achieve great things, choose a well known ordinary (and lay) person in your congregation who has a significant ministry, and, with their permission, turn their life and ministry into a game of Who Am I?

Discussion: In pairs or fours

1. How does our relationship with God show up in our relationships

a. with outsiders
b. with those we don't get on with, and
c. with those who suffer?
2. Talk together about dreams for our congregation and how we could put our dreams into practice.

Drama: The Sheep
(dressed very simply as a sheep eg. woolly ears wanders up the centre aisle of the church calling out): Hey, where is everybody? Is this Mt Horeb?

Barbara (dressed similarly, at lectern): Yeah, here we are, Bartholomew. Come over here. Did you get lost coming over the desert again?

Yeah, I stopped too long at that first rest area. I'll never be anything but a straggler. (sighs)

Barbara: My word, you certainly missed out on all the excitement today anyway.

Bartholomew: Why, what ever happened?

Barbara: Well, just as Moses was about to have a bit of a smoko after getting us all here he stopped dead in his tracks because right in front of him was this great big humungous burning bush.

Bartholomew: A bush fire - out here?

Barbara: No, no…. not a bush fire just a bush on fire and it didn't burn away like you'd expect it too and .......(whispered loudly) it had an angel of the Lord in it!

Bartholomew: Fair dinkum - you must have all been scared out of your wits.

Barbara: We all scattered like sheep - but I didn't go too far because I wanted to see what happened.
Bartholomew: What did Moses do?

Barbara: Well, you could see he was interested. He went over to have a closer look and God's voice came out of the bush saying "Moses, Moses.

Bartholomew: Wow (breathed) And then?

Barbara: Moses said " I am..m…m…m

Bartholomew: Huh, he'd be stuttering worse than usual, I bet. I can just imagine!
Barbara: God said " Don’t come any closer. Take off you sandals because the place where you are standing is holy ground." Well, by this stage Moses had both his sandals off and he was face down on the ground. He was just too scared to look at God. Mind you, none of us were looking either but I kept my ears open.

Bartholomew: I dunno if I'd have had the guts to hang around.

Barbara: Well, God spoke again. He said "I‘ve seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I’ve heard them crying out because of their slave drivers and I am very concerned about their suffering. So I’ve come down to rescue them from the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land flowing with milk and honey - So now, go, I am sending you to lead my people out of Egypt."

Bartholomew: Well, that's a bit of a promotion for Moses - from a leader of sheep to a leader of a whole nation of people! (Looks around) Is he still here? Did he go?

Barbara: Well, actually he had a bit of crisis in confidence. His actual words were "W..w..who am I, that I should g..g..go to Pharaoh and b..b..bring the Israelites out of Egypt."

Bartholomew: Wow, that's almost like giving cheek. What happened to him? Did God give him a bit of a zap or something?

Barbara: Nuh. Nothing. God understood and said " I’ll be with you and when you bring the people out of Egypt you will worship me right here. That’ll be the proof that I have sent you."

Bartholomew: So... then what.

Barbara: Well then Moses got a little cheeky. He said, Ok then, who will I say sent me. In other words “what’s ya name?”
Bartholomew: Ooooh. God must’ve got mad then?

Barbara: No, not really. He just told him “I AM” ….but in a pretty big voice as you can well imagine. Now look! Its time we stopped talking and got in to a bit of serious grass eating. I think Moses is starting to keep a journal – he’s calling it Exodus or something. You’ll find the rest of the story there.

Copyright Ann Scull 1999 - please feel free to adapt - it has Australian figures of speech that may not translate well into other cultures.

Story: Unbaptised Arms
Found in Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks by Wayne Rice, Youth Specialties Inc, 1994, ISBN 031040261, page 169 (pictured at right). This story is matched with the Romans reading.

Quote: Brother Roger
In the silence of the heart,
tirelessly God whispers to each of us:

"Do not be afraid. I am here".

Response Activity:
Give everyone a small journal (you can sometimes buy tiny little ones in discount shops very cheaply) and ask them to write a few words to God in the silence (or with quiet music playing) about what they think God has been speaking to them about recently.

Father's Day (Australia - and maybe some other places?) Resources:
Listening song; Butterfly kisses By Bob Carlisle on his album of the same name (pictured at right) 

Meditation: God's Call
Found in Meditations from the Iona Community by Ian Reid, Wild Goose Publications, Trowbridge, 1998, ISBN 1901557022, page 15.