Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Lent 5 C (April 7): Looking to the Future/What Really Matters/There is a Pool in the Desert


Bible readings: Isaiah 43:16-21, Psalm 126, Philippians 3:4b-14, John 12:1-11

About the Images:

Upper Left and Right: I thought these photos went well with the "rivers in a dry land" bit of Isaiah. The top one is Glen Helen Gorge near Alice Springs, Northern Territory and the lower image is the Murchison river near Kalbarri in Western Australia. For more info on Glen Helen Gorge visit http://www.about-australia.com/travel-guides/northern-territory/alice-springs/attractions/natural/glen-helen-gorge/ and for more info on the Murchison River area visit http://en.wikipedia.or/wiki/Murchison_River_(Western_Australia) These images are both mine so please feel free to use them for worship or related church activities. 
Middle Left: This is a free Microsoft clipart which I thought when very well with the Psalm reading about dreaming.
Middle Right: This image comes from the awesome Church Galleries website - this particular one is free on the site this week.  Well worth the subscription!!! Visit the website at www.churchgalleries.com.
Lower Left: A free Microsoft image which goes well with the Psalm.

Worship Space: Decor 
Have lots of incense and aromatic oil lamps burning (as long as there is not a vulnerable asthmatic or two in your congregation - it is worth checking first).

Listening Song: Because You Loved Me

By Celine Dion on her album, All The Way: A Decade of Song, EMI (pictured at left). This goes well with the gospel reading.

Listening Song: Flowing Over Me
by Derri Daugherty on his album, Flap Your Wings, Resolve Records, 2000 (pictured at right). This goes well with the Isaiah reading.

Listening Song: Psalm 126: Men who Dream
By Sons of Korah on their album, Redemption Songs.(pictured at left) 

Prayer of Confession.
Found in Eggs and Ashes by Ruth Burgess and Chris Polhill (Eds.)l, Wild Goose Publications, 2004, ISBN 1901557871, page 107
(pictured at right)

Film Clip: Moulin Rouge
Start approximately one minute in - with the words "Paris 1900". End at approximately at 2:15 minutes as Christian types the words "Moulin Rouge". 

Drama: Get Your Perfumes Here
Found in Mega Drama 1 by Verena Johnson (Ed.), Open Book, 2001, ISBN 0859109151, page 68 (pictured at right). This drama is based on the gospel reading.

Discussion: On Get Your Perfumes Here and Moulin Rouge Film Clip.
What really matters to the people in the drama and in the film clip?
What do you think really matters?

Film Clip: The Legend of Bagger Vance  
(pictured at left) This works well with the Isaiah reading if you are talking about looking backwards and forwards, God doing new things and God making a way for us. The scene is found at the end of Chapter 13 or around 1hr 35 minutes in. In the scene Junuh goes to retrieve a golf ball from a wooded area and ends when his caddie, Bagger, promises to be with him always.

Discussion: The Legend of Bagger Vance.
1. What does Junuh have to do to play good golf?
2. Who does Junuh have to trust?
3. Why do people often tend to look backwards instead of forwards when things get tough?

Film Clip: The Merton Prayer
This comes from The Work of the People site -an excellent site with a relatively cheap subscription rate. See my link column at left.

Drama: What Really Matters.
Word up a few people to be interviewed as one of the other characters in the story. To prepare their part just ask them to read the story and any other gospel story which involves their character. During the service walk to where each character is sitting and ask them what they thought about the whole incident. People to be interviewed: Martha, Lazarus, Judas


When has someone's generous act surprised you? 

Discussion: Philippians Reading.
What really matters to Paul?
What things really matter so much to us that they can shift Jesus our of the centre of our attention?
What did Paul give?
What is the most important thing that we can give?

Story: A Diet For Losers. 

Found in More Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks by Wayne Rice, Zondervan, 1995, ISBN 0310207681, page 21 (pictured at left). This story goes well with the Philippians reading.

Story: Giving

Story No. 238 found in 750 Engaging Illustrations by Craig Brian Larson and Leadership Journal, Baker Books, 2002, ISBN 0801091551 (pictured at right). This story goes well with the gospel reading.

Story: Ragman.

Found in Ragman and Other Cries of Faith by Walter Wangerin Jr, Spire, 1984, ISBN 0340592729, page 3. This is a great Easter story and could really be used any time in the next couple of weeks.

Group Activity:
Divide into six working groups - double up or even triple for a large congregation.
Each of the six groups takes on one character or group of characters
out of the gospel story.
1. Martha: serving
2. Lazarus: listening, being a friend
3. Mary: something extravagant and special
4. Judas: more concerned about money than the action
5. People in verse 9: trying to find out more
6. Chief priests: eradicate the problem.
Ask each group to discuss the following questions:
a. What is/are your subjects doing?
b. What do they think of Jesus?
c. How do they show how they feel about Jesus?
d. What really matters to them?
Ask each group to report back - give them a few alternate ways (and the materials to do so) of doing this - a poster, a short speech, a song etc etc.

Response Activity: Goes with Group Activity Above.

Have a gift box full of small sachets of bath salts and give everyone a sachet. As they hold it, smell it, feel it, ask them which group they fit into. Maybe they are already serving God like Martha, maybe they are hanging around Jesus like Lazarus, maybe they have things they want to give like Mary, maybe, like Judas, other things are getting in the way, maybe like the crowd, they are still searching, maybe like the chief priests, they feel uncomfortable in God's presence. Whatever - encourage them to take the salts home and as they relax and use them, encourage them to have a chat with God about their relationship with God.
NB. I put the kids in the Mary discussion group and they made the sachets while they talked- however the sachets are not hard to make beforehand.
3 parts Epsom salts
2 Baking Soda
1 Table salt or borax
Food dye - as you want - the colour makes it look a bit more spiffy.
Scented oil - as you like - according to your nose.
Mix in a large bowl with your hands - you'll smell good for days!
Each person only needs a few tablespoons of bath salts for a bath (and water, of course :-) ).

Response Activity:

Have a gift box lying open at the foot of a cross. Give everyone a pencil and a piece of paper. Give them some thinking time while they consider and pray about their response to Jesus - project some ideas eg., spending more time with him like Mary, doing something for him like Martha, listening to him like Lazarus, rearranging priorities like Paul. Whatever they discover as they listen to God, encourage them to write it down and put it in the gift box.

Response Activity for the Isaiah reading:
Give everyone a small beach or river pebble - the sort that look pretty dull out of water but have lovely colours show up when they are wet (opal tailings are brilliant for this but other pebbles will do). Have a clear bowl of water out the front. Encourage people to hold their pebble and think of things that are desert like or wilderness like in their lives. Ask them to pray about these things and, when they are ready, bring out their pebble and drop it in to the bowl of water. Just as the water transforms the pebbles so God transforms our deserts and wildernesses and does a new thing.

Prayers and Poems: while you are here
Found in Dad and Daughter by Ron Gordon and Jennie Gordon, 2012, ISBN 9780646586601, page 147.

Response Activity: You have poor people with you always
Found in Bringing the Word To Life Together: Year C by Andrew Collis and Dorothy McRae-McMahon, Mediacom, Adelaide, 2012, ISBN 9781921945083, page 56ff. This works well with all the gospel reading.

Lots of Useful Stuff
Found in The Abingdon Creative Preaching Annual 2016 by Jenee Woodard (Ed.), Abingdon Press, Nashville, 2015, page 51ff. These ideas are based on all of the readings. 

Opening and Closing Responses for Lent
By Ruth Burgess and Chris Polhill in Eggs and Ashes, Wild Goose Publications, 2004, page 86-88 - two to choose from. 

Poem: I Owed Him One  
By Ruth Burgess and Chris Polhill in Eggs and Ashes, Wild Goose Publications, 2004, page 147 (pictured above). 

Meditation or Bones of a sermon: The Judas and Mary in Us  
By Ruth Burgess and Chris Polhill in Eggs and Ashes, Wild Goose Publications, 2004, page 149 (pictured above). 

Lots of Useful Stuff: Fragrant Worship
Found in Multi-Sensory Together by Ian Birkinshaw, Scripture Union,2005, ISBN 1844271641, page 43.  Based on the John reading.

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