Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Proper 18 A ( September 06): Extravagant Love/New Beginnings/Second Chances


Bible readings:
 Exodus 12:1-14, Psalm 149, Romans 13:8-14, Matthew 18:15-20

About the Image: 
Upper Left: 
This is a free image from the Hermano Leon site - see my links column at left. 
Upper Right: This is a free Imagebank image from their excellent, although slightly disorganised, site. See my link column at left.
Middle Left and Right: This is a free Heartlight image from their site which you can access through my links column at left.
Lower Left: The Palestinian side of the 8 metre high Separation Wall. This is my image so please feel free to use for worship and related activities. 

Listening Song: Just Like You 
By Keb Mo on his album, Just Like You (pictured a
t left).This goes well with the gospel reading. 

Call to Worship: All God's People 
Found in Crafts For Creative Worship by Jan Brind and Tessa Wilkinson, Canturbury Press, 2009, page 205 (pictured at right). This goes well with the Romans reading.  

Drama: No Thumping Whatsoever 
Found in Mega Drama 2 by Verena Johnson (Ed.), Open Book, 2001, ISBN 085910916Xv2, page 21 (pictured at left). This drama is based on the gospel reading. 

Film Clip: The Day is Near 
This goes really well with the Romans reading - it's from the Work of the People (see more excellent clips from their site which you can find via my links column - the clips cost but they are well worth it) 
Story: Don't Hire a Hit Man 
d in Could Someone Wake Me up Before I Drool on the Desk by Kevin Johnson, Bethany House Publishers, 1995, ISBN 1556614160, page 49 (pictured at right). This is based on the gospel reading. 

After read
ing the Romans reading and the gospel reading, divide into groups to discuss together and make a list together of the means by which a Christian community can live in harmony. 

Quote: Do It Anyway 
Probably written originally by Dr Kent M. Keith and adapted by Mother Teresa. Find the original and the adapted words at

Adult Response: 
Give everybody a piece of spring blossom. Tell everyone that the blossom is a sign of spring, new life and new growth. In the silence, encourage people to think of a broken relationship in their lives and encourage them to ask God to show them how to repair it. 

Adult Response: 
Give everyone a small piece of self hardening modelling clay (1cm cube is big enough for this) and 
1. Ask people to mould their feelings about someone they disagree with in their faith community. 
2. Ask them to mould the clay back into a ball 
3. Ask them to mould the clay into a symbol of Jesus' love for them. 
4. Encourage them to take home their symbol as an example of relationship. 

Response Activity: Love Your Neighbour  Found in Bringing the Word To Life Together: Year A by Andrew Collis and Dorothy McRae-McMahon, Mediacom, Adelaide, 2010, ISBN 9780949656919, page 134ff (pictured at left). This is based on the Gospel reading. 


Poem and prayer: wherever two.
Found in Dad and Daughter by Ron Gordon and Jennie Gordon, 2012, ISBN 9780646586601, page 52 (pictured at right). These are based on the gospel reading.

Lots of Useful Stuff
Found in The Abingdon Creative Preaching Annual by Jenee Woodard (Ed.), Abingdon Press, Nashville, 2013, page 188ff (pictured at left).

Lots of Useful Stuff: The Great Escape
Found in Multi-Sensory Together by Ian Birkinshaw, Scripture Union,2005, ISBN 1844271641, page 7.  Based on the Exodus reading.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Proper 17 A (August 30): Living God's Call


Bible readings
; Exodus 3:1-15, 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. 
Middle left: This is a fee image from the Heartlight collection - see my links at left. 
Middle Right: My image - feel free to use it for worship and related activities.
Lower Left: Mt Horeb and Mt Sinai are most likely the same place.  Here is the view from the top.  This is my image so feel free to use it for worship or 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. 


Meditation: God's Call
Found in Meditations from the Iona Community by Ian Reid, Wild Goose Publications, Trowbridge, 1998, ISBN 1901557022, page 15 (pictured at left) . This is based on the Exodus reading. 

Drama: The Fight
Found in Mega Drama 2 by Verena Johnson (editor), Open Book Publishers, 2001 ISBN 085910916X, page 19.  Based on the Romans reading. 

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) 

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Proper 16 A (August 23): Five Courageous Women/ Who is this Man


Bible Readings
: Exodus 1:8 -2:10 or Isaiah 51:1-6, 
Psalm 124, Romans 12:1-8, Matthew 16:13-20. 

About the Image: 
Upper Left: A free microsoft clip art cropped and offset with my text added. 
Upper Right: This is an image of reeds along the edge of the Nile river in Egypt.It is my photo so please feel free to use it for worship or related activities. 
Middle Left: This is an image of mud brick walls along the edge of the Nile river in Egypt. It is my photo so please feel free to use it for worship or related activities. 
Middle Right: This is a free clipart from Heartlight - see my link column at left.
Lower Left: Another of my photos so please feel free to use it for worship or related activities. 
Introduction to Gospel reading: 
Ask people to turn to the person on their right and say one positive thing about that person; then ask them 
to turn to the person on their left and say one positive thing about themselves. 

Worship Outline: Women at the Water 
By Katherine Low 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 163ff (pictured at right). This is based on the Exodus reading and includes preparation of the worship space, prayers, and scripted readings. Excellent stuff! 

Kids: The Ba
by in the Basket                  
Found in The Picture Strip Bible by Felicity Henderson and Chris Saunderson, Scripture Union, 2001, ISBN 18599964970, page 26 (pictured at left

Film Clip: If You Had not been with us
This comes from the excellent site, The Work of the People and can be accessed via my links column at left. It is based directly on the Psalm.

Drama: Wake Up and Shake Up 
Found in Mega Drama 2 by Verena Johnson (Ed.), Open Book, 2001, ISBN 085910916Xv2, page 44 (pictured at right). This story goes well with the Romans reading. 

Poem/Prayer: Was He Cracked, Crooked or Correct? 
Found in God Thoughts by Dick Williams, Falcon Books, 1969, ISBN 854915214, page 48 (pictured at left). This goes well with the gospel reading. 

Poem/Prayer: Moses 
By Roddy Hamilton and found in his archives under 1st August 2008 on his Mucky Paws site (see my Links column at left). I put images with this poem and backed it with the Lisa Gerrard music mentioned immediately below. 

Listening Music: The Promised Womb 

By Lisa Gerrard on her album, The Best of Lisa Gerrard (pictured at right). 

Quote: CS Lewis 
"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I am ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' This is one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic - on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg - or else He would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God; or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to." From his book Mere Christianity, too many editions to list but the front of my copy is pictured at left!! 

Sermon Ideas: Who Are Our Pharaohs? 
Found in Resources For Preaching and Worship Year A by Hannah Ward and Jennifer Wild (Eds.) Westminster John Knox Press, ISBN 066422507, page 224 (pictured at right).


Film Clip: Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker 
(pictured at left) Show the clip where he escapes from the car crusher. It matches beautifully with the Psalm and goes pretty well with the Exodus reading as well. I found this clip on the Wingclips site - see my links column at left or watch it for yourself: Car Escape - Movie Clip from Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker at 

Poem/Meditation: Remember the Rock from which you were hewn.
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 15 (pictured at left). This goes well with the Isaiah reading.

Poem/Meditation: Pharaoh's Daughter
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 25 (pictured at left). This goes well with the Exodus reading.

Poem/Meditation: Rock and Stumbling Block
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 64 (pictured above at left). This goes well with the Matthew reading and also could be used next week.

Kids: The Pig in the Pond
By Martin Waddell and Jill Barton, Walker Books,  with lots of ideas for a whole worship service found in Worship is For Everyone by Julie Pinazza, Openbook Publishers, 2000, ISBN 0859109259, page 35. This goes well with the Romans reading.

For Australians: Refugee and Migrant Sunday: August 23

Listening Song: I Guess I Get a Little Emotional Sometimes 
By Paul Kelly and can be downloaded from his site- 

TV Series: Go Back to Where You Came From 
Watch one of the episodes of this excellent series instead of a sermon. Talk about it together afterwards.   I would suggest you watch either episode two or three. Please check if there are any copyright issues. 

TV Clip: Clark and Dawe on Asylum Seekers 
Clarke and Dawe have a few of these - I like this one in particular because you can't be accused of siding with a particular major political party if you use it.

Prayer for Others 
Have a large map of the world and tea lights
 or flowers or both. Ask people to place a lit tea light or a flower on a part of the world where there are refugees in need of our help and prayers. In the background, play the Moby song mentioned below. 

Listening Song: Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad 
By Moby on his album Play (pictured at right).

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Proper 15 A (August 16): Getting Along/Building bridges, Not Walls

Bible Readings
: Genesis 45:1-15, Psalm 133, Romans 11:1,2a,29-32, Matthew 15: (10-20)21-28. 

About the Images:

Upper Left: This is a free Microsoft clipart image .
Upper Right: This is also a free Microsoft clipart image. I added the words from Bruce Prewer's version of Psalm 133 which can be found at
Middle  Left: This is a free clipart from Cerezo Barredo  You can find a link to this site at the left in my Links column.
Middle Right: This is a free clip art from the Hermano Leon site. See my link column at left. 
Lower Left: I found this delightful image of a small Jewish boy and a small Palestinian boy in the Creative Commons collection.  It has no other copyright information with it, so please let me know if I should not be using it.  

Introduction: Gathering 
Found in Ideas for Worship, June to July 1996, JBCE, page 16 (pictured at left) . This introduction is based on the gospel reading.

Listening Song: What You Need 
(pictured at right) By Audio Adrenaline on their self titled album. This song goes well with the gospel reading.

Listening Song: Turn 
(pictured at left) By Paul Colman Trio on their album, 
New Map of the World. This goes well with the psalm.

Object Lesson: The Words We Speak: Constructive or Destructive
Found in Fresh Ideas Volume 2 by Jim Burns and Mark Simone, Gospel Light, 1997, ISBN 083718842, page 66. This goes well with the gospel reading.

Kid's Activity During the Service

Give everyone in the congregation a length of streamer and get them to each put their name on the streamer. Ask the kids to collect them and then ask whether the individual streamers are representative of a church community united or not. Ask for ideas as to how this could occur (fish for the "making a chain out of them" answer). Have them make the streamers into a chain during the service and use it as a decoration near the end of the service. This goes well with the idea of family unity and reunion in the Genesis reading.

Activity for Psalm 133
Ask people to complete the sentence "when people get along it is better than....."

 Film Clip: Music of the Heart
(pictured at left) Show the clip where the little disabled girl thinks she is too weak to play and her teacher (Meryl Streep) tells her that she is strong on the inside. Relate it to the Caananite woman in the gospel who, to all appearances, starts off in a weak position.

Film Clip: Men in Black

(pictured at right). Show the clip about 25 minutes in when the recruits begin their exam and finish when all the recruits are sitting staring at Edwards. This is a great clip which shows what happens when we do our own thing instead of building community.

Film ClipTaika Waititi on Racism
Fid this excellent clip at

Drama: Faith

Found in Parable Performing by Kristin Etscheid, Hodder and Stoughton, 1985,ISBN 0340336676, page 36 (pictured at left). This drama is based on the gospel reading.

Drama: Clouded Thinking
Narrator: Reads Psalm 133 and then says "The best part of life is knowing God is loving me and blessing me". Two people standing back to back have the following conversation:

1: Sometimes I don’t feel as good as that….particularly when I remember what happened.

2: I can’t get over it…I’ll never forgive her! I must keep my self-respect. 

1: Sometimes the anger just burns me up.

2: I feel so depressed …… I don’t know what about…just feels like I have a big rock inside me weighing me down.

1: I miss her so much

2: I think I’ll really let her have it. I’ll tell her exactly what I think of her.

1: I know I was right and that’s all that matters to me.

2: What have I got to lose…she doesn’t like me anyway. 
Everything she says hurts me…
1: I’m so lonely.

2: She can do it my way or not at all.

1: Nothing’s going to change until she apologises.

2: If only we were friends again.

1: If only she liked me….(sigh) no wonder she doesn’t like me.

2: I’m an idiot.

1: Now I’m angry with everyone. I’m starting to dislike people on sight. I don’t even know if Jesus is there any more

2: And now it’s finished. Is that what I wanted?
Copyright: Ann Scull

Discussion: Re above drama
1. What is happening in this skit?
2. Do you see a connection with the Genesis story?
3. How could this situation be resolved?

Discussion: On the Matthew reading
1. In what ways does this story confront your traditions and prejudices?
2. When has an outsider challenged or helped your faith?
3. How do we prevent ourselves becoming insular or exclusive as a congregation?

Story: Me Too!
Found in Still More Hot Illustrations For Youth Talks by Wayne Rice, Zondervan, 1999, ISBN 0310224640, page 115  (pictured at right).

Story: Acceptance

Story No. 2 in 750 Engaging Illustrations for Preachers, Teachers and Writers edited by Craig Brian Larson and Leadership Journal, Baker Books, 2002, ISBN 0801091551 (pictured at left) .

Prayer: My Souls Desire
Found in Celtic Prayers by Robert Van de Weyer, Bridgewater Book Company, 1997, ISBN 1856082814, page 37 (pictured at right). This fits well with all the readings. 


Drama: When Two Or More

Found in All-age Sketches for the Christian Year by Peter Shaw, The Bible reading Fellowship, 2006, ISBN 101841014583, page 44 ff (pictured at left). This is based on the psalm reading. 

Meditation: The Peacemakers
Found in Meditations from the Iona Community by Ian Reid, Wild Goose Publications, Trowbridge, 1998, ISBN 1901557022, page 89. This goes well with the Psalm 133 reading.

Drama: Crumbs
Found in Mega Drama 2 by Verena Johnson (editor), Open Book Publishers, 2001 ISBN 085910916X, page 80.  Based on the Matthew reading. 

Brilliant Comments on the Gospel
Found in Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes by Kenneth E. Bailey, SPCK, 2008, ISBN 9780281059751, pages 217-226.