Sunday, February 03, 2019

Epiphany 5 C (February 10): No Experience Necessary/Surprise, Surprise

Bible Readings: Isaiah 6:1-8, Psalm 138, 1 Corinthians 15:1-11, Luke 5:1-11

About the Images
Upper Left: God takes all sorts of ordinary people by surprise in these readings. I thought a surprise slide would be appropriate so I took a Microsoft free clip art to pieces and put it back together again.
Upper Right: This photo is of fishing boats at dawn in Duck Arm as seen from our jetty, Gippsland Lakes, Victoria, Australia. For more info on this area (considered the centre of the universe for those of us who live here :-) ) please visit
Middle Left: A Hermano Leon graphic - please see my link column at left.
Middle RightA Heartlight graphic - please see my link column at left.
Lower Left: Another Heartlight graphic - please see my link column at left.

Prayer: Syriac Prayer 
Found in  2000 Years of Prayers by Michael Counsell, Canterbury Press, Norwich, 1999, page 57 (pictured at right).
Thanks to Diane Wookey for sourcing this for me. 

To God: be glory.
To the angels: honour.
To Satan: confusion.
To the cross: reverence.
To the church: exultation.
To those who confess: forgiveness.
To the sick and the hurting: recovery and healing
To all the corners of the earth: peace and tranquility
On us who are weak and sinful: may Go
d's mercy come and overshadow us forever!

Prayer: Brighten My Heart
Found in Celtic Prayers by Robert Van De Weyer, Hunt and Thorpe, 1997, ISBN 1856082814, page 43 (pictured at left). This is a great call to worship and/or opening prayer not just for this particular week but for any week.

Choral Reading: Isaiah 6:1-8
Found in Building Worship Together by Martha Keys Barker and the Fisherfolk, Celebration,1983, ISBN 0906309212, page 38 (pictured at right).

Film Clip: Psalm 138
By the Work of the People - see my link column at left.

Kids: Peter the Fisherman 
This is another brilliant book  by Andrew McDonough, Lost Sheep Resources, 2006 (pictured at right). This goes with the Luke reading.  The great thing about these books is that they only around $A5 and for a further $A10 (or instead of) you can buy on line the story in any format you need to project the pictures in church.  There are also free activity sheets and for a cost activity books for both teachers and children.  Visit to check out all the excellent resources.

Story: Understanding God's Heart
Found in The Youth Bible, Word Publishing, 1991, ISBN 0849909252, page 623 (pictured at left)

What was it that first impressed you about God?
What is it now
that impresses you most about God?

Film Clip Stations: Engaging with the Luke Reading
You will need three separate areas all with the capability of showing a film clip and the relevant questions printed out for everyone. You may also need a little info printed out about the context of each film clip. Divide the congregation in to three groups and allow each group ten minutes at each station:

Station 1:Simon Birch: (pictured at right)
Show the clip where Simon talks with his minister about his call.
How does both the Luke reading and the film clip affirm that God can use each one of us? How does Jesus' response to Peter differ from that of Simon's minister to Simon.
What can we learn from the two responses?
Why is a deepening
relationship with God important for determining God's plan for us?

Station 2: The Matrix (pictured at left)
Start the clip where Neo's call comes via his phone and stop the clip when he is caught just after his inability to take a great leap (of faith?).
Both Neo and the disciples are called while at work. Share some personal experiences of call. Neo messes up his call; how does following Jesus out in to the deep water feel to you?

Station 3: The Truman Show (pictured at right)
Show the clip where Truman Burbank escapes. Questions: Truman leaves everything behind; the disciples drop everything to follow Jesus. Do we do have to do the same? How hard is it topush out into the deep water like Peter, or go through the door like truman? Peter got fish, Truman got a new life. What will we get?

Response Activity:
To think about:
Where is God asking you to go?
What is God asking you to do?
Have you been meeting God face to face lately?
Is their a gap between God and you at the moment?
How do you think God could bridge this gap for you.
One option here is to give everyone a paper cut out of a fish and have them write their answers on the fish and then place their fish in a fishing net.
Another option is to give everyone a piece of self hardening clay to mould into a fish whie they are thinking of the above questions and their responses to them.

Response Activity: What shall we say to you, our God -
By Huub Oosterhuis and found in Imaging the Word Volume 1  by Kenneth T. Lawrence (ed.), United Church Press, 1994, ISBN 0829809716, page 165. 

For those Starting/Returning/to Kinder/School/Uni/Work

A southern hemisphere event - it is around the time of the new school year here - if you leave it until after school has started you can easily include the Uni students as well.

Kids' Story: The Rainbow Fish
By Marcus Pfister, 1992, ISBN 1558580093 (pictured at left). This book is basically about sharing but can also be about the fact that even if you feel like the little stripy fish at school, you will always belong to God and the church - and the church is full of rainbow fish.

Response Activity: Remembering Where You Belong:
Have a candle mould and small containers of various coloured pieces of candle wax. Encourage each starting/returning/ leaving for another place student of any age to select a piece of candle wax in their favourite colour. Encourage everybody else to also select a piece of candle wax. Ask students to come forward with their family and friendship groups so that they can all drop their pieces of candle wax into the mould. Don't forget those who have finished school and are starting new jobs. Pray for each group as they drop in their candle pieces. When the whole church has participated, pour plain melted candle wax over all the pieces. You should end up with a beautiful multi-coloured
candle in which
the coloured pieces will remain relatively whole. Thanks to Rev. Rosalind Terry for showing me this moving and memorable activity.


Creative Ideas: Isaiah: The Royal Prophet
Found in Multi-Sensory Prophets by Mike Law, Scripture Union, 2007, ISBN 9781844272587, page 23. This is based on the Isaiah reading.

Lots of Useful Stuff: Gone Fishing
Found in Multi-Sensory Together by Ian Birkinshaw, Scripture Union,2005, ISBN 1844271641, page 36.  Based on the Luke reading.

Brilliant Comments on the Gospel
Found in Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes by Kenneth E. Bailey, SPCK, 2008, ISBN 9780281059751, pages 135-146.

Poem: Grow
Found in In Due Season by Herbert F Brokering, Augsburg Publishing, 1966 (pictured at right) in the Summer section.

Sermon ideas: The Left Everything
Found in Life on the Road by Athol Gill, Herald Press, 1992, page 23ff.  This is based on the Gospel reading. 

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