Sunday, December 01, 2019

Advent 2 A (December 08): God's Bigger Picture/Transformation

Bible readings: Isaiah 11:1-10, Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19, Romans 15:4-13, Matthew 3:1-12.

About the Images:
Upper left:  This is my photo so please feel free to use this one for worship and related activities also. It is of Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. I liked the way the rainbow is seen through the framework of our world - i.e., there is a bigger picture greater than the one we see.
Upper right: This is also my photo with text. I did some work in one of the areas devastated by the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires (when 173 people lost their lives). This is the amazing regrowth which occurs in the Australian bush weeks after a fire. Trees which seem dead grow leaves close along their trunks - epicormic growth- and ferns pop out of layers of ash. Please feel free to use this photos for worship and related activities. For more information about the fires, wikipedia has a fairly comprehensive and coherent report of what happened at
Middle Left: This illustration is by Cerezo Barredo.  Unless you speak Spanish, the easiest way to access his lovely line drawings is to go through Textweek (see my link at left) and scroll down to the Graphics and Multimedia section. There is a new one each week.
Middle Right: This image comes from the awesome Church Galleries website which is down at present,  however this particular one was free on the site one week.  
Lower Left: Once again this is my image so please feel free to use it for worship and related activities. This image is of a young man in Jerusalem blowing the shofar. One of the reasons a shofar is blown is to call people to repentance and to foreshadow the coming of the Messiah;  consequently the blowing of the shofar is often linked to John the Baptist - you will notice the song below from Godspell is introduced with the blowing of a shofar. 

Listening Song: Prepare ye the Way of the Lord
From the soundtrack of Godspell (pictured at left).

Pass the Peace:
I don't use the Pass the Peace option every week.  I think it becomes a kind of rut we do without seriously thinking about why we do it - and there are also people in every congregation who find it quite confronting ie shy people, some people with Asbergers etc etc.  I try to use it on special occasions when it has some significance or meaning to the rest of the service.  It works in well today with the lighting of the second Advent candle which is often known as the peace candle and in particular it works well with the Isaiah reading for today.

Who Am I?
I was born in 1931.
My father was a school teacher.
I spent three years as a high school teacher before I
was ordained.
I am a small person with a huge laugh.
I bounce into room full of joy and delight.
I can put people at ease easily.
I catch people's attention.
I use my hands when I speak.
My eyes twinkle behind gold rimmed spectacles.
I am passionate about God, Christianity and my country.
I have spent my life fighting against injustice and racism.
I have shared my vision with kings, presidents and all sorts of world leaders.
I believe in a world where black and white can go hand in hand into a glorious future.
I believe each person in the world is a creature of infinite value made in the image of God.
I am confident of the future because I believe in God's faithfulness and p
ower to deliver those who ask for help.
I am Desmond Tutu.

Story: Get a Bigger Frying Pan
Found in Still More Hot Illustrations For Youth Talks by Wayne Rice, Zondervan, 1999, ISBN 0310224640, page 67 (pictured at right). This story goes well with the Isaiah reading.

Discussion Questions:
1. What is God's picture of our church?
2. What is God's picture of our community?
3. What do you think is God's picture of the world?
4. How can we help to make that vision a reality?

Poem: The Stump
Found in In Due Season by Herbert F Brokering, Augsburg Publishing, 1966 (pictured at left) in the Summer section under Isaiah 11:1. I put images with this poem and used backing music. I used UK by Burial on their CD, Untrue (pictured at right).

Poem: Warning
By Jenny Joseph and often know by its first line "when I am an old woman I shall wear purple". Easily found by googling. It is a poem about not being dictated to by the expectations of our society.


Poem/Meditation: John
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 46 (pictured at left). This goes well with the Matthew reading.

Drama: John the Baptist Speaks
Found in Mega Drama 2 by Verena Johnson (Ed.), Open Book, 2001, ISBN 085910916Xv2, page 81. This drama is based on the Matthew reading.

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