Sunday, January 10, 2021

Epiphany 2 B (January 17): Called by God/Known by God

Bible readings: 1 Samuel 3:1-20, Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18, I Corinthians 6:12-20, John 1:43-51

About the images:
Upper Left: Old northern Tasmanian jetty - my photo so feel free to use it for worship and related activities. For more info about this part of Australia, visit
Upper Right: My photo so please feel free to use it for worship and related activities. This is part of Ninety Mile Beach. For more info on this part of Australia, please visit
Middle  Left and Lower left: These are free images from the Heartlight site (see my links column at left)
Middle Right: Infant Samuel by Joshua Reynolds found is a faithful photographic reproduction of a two-dimensional, public domain work of art. The official position taken by the Wikimedia Foundation is that "faithful reproductions of two-dimensional public domain works of art are public domain.
Lower RightA copyright free image from Bing with the St Bernard quote from below.

Listening Song: 
I've always loved You
By Third Day from their album, Time (pictured at left). This song is particularly appropriate for the psalm.

Listening song: Psalm 139
By Sons of Korah on their album, Rain (pictured at right).

Kid's Talk: How Does God Know the Future
Found in Quick Children's Sermons 2: Why Did God make Mosquitoes?, Group Publishing, 1998, ISBN 0764420526, page 22 (pictured at left). This talk is very much based on the Psalm.

Kid's Talk
Give five kids a simply drawn face each, one happy (for Samuel), one sad (for Eli), one sleepy (for Samuel when he is asleep), one exhausted (for all the times Samuel runs) and one awestruck (for when God is mentioned). Then tell the story from the Samuel reading and get kids to hold aloft the face appr
opriate to the part of the story they hear.

Congregational Voice Drama: Samuel's Call
Tell or read the story based on the 1 Samuel read
ing for the day. Have the congregation respond to various words in the story. For example every time they hear the word "Samuel" have them shout "Yes, Lord!". Other responses to include might be: for the word "God" - Woah!; for the word "run" - puff, puff, puff; for the word "sleep" get them to snore and for the word "Eli" have them all say "I can't control my kids!" This is obviously a kid's talk when it is done like this, but the rest of the congregation really enjoys the activity and they seem to have almost more fun than the kids.

Film Clip: Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Show the clip below where Frodo accepts the call to destroy the ring.

Discussion: Lord of the Rings
How is this film clip an analogy of Samuel's story.

Film Clip
: Simon Birch.
(pictured at left)The readings this week are about being called by God. In this film, Simon struggles with his sense of call, he has issues with the difficulty of his call (he has a disability) and tries to determine exactly what God wants him to do and be. He is not helped by his minister when he goes to him for advice. There is a great scene in his minister's office - the scene asks all the right questions without providing neat answers and therefore provides lots of opportunity for discussion and reflection. This film is based on the book, A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. This film clip goes particularly well with the Gospel reading. 

Film Clip: Psalm 139 by Leigh Newton

Drama: A Hearing Problem
Found in Mega Drama 3 by Verena Johnson (Ed.), Open Book, 2002, ISBN 0859109178 (v.3), page 48-49 (pictured at right). This drama matches up very well with the Samuel reading.

Drama: Yes, Lord, I Believe
Found in Drama Resources 2 prepared by the Commission for Worship, Lutheran Church of Australia, 1986 (pictured at left). This is a good introduction to Psalm 139.

Voice Drama: Called as God's
Found at the Mucky Paws site (see my links column at left) under epiphany 2 B 13th January 2006. This fits very well with all the readings.

Quote: St Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153)
If you wish to see: listen. Hearing is a step towards vision.

Quote: Soren Kierkegaard
To pray does not mean to listen to oneself speaking. Prayer involves becoming silent, and being silent, and waiting until God is heard.

Artwork: Psalm 139
Found in The Psalms: An Artist's Impression by Anneke Kaai, Piquant, 1999, ISBN 0953575705 (pictured at right). This is a breathtakingly beautiful book.
Story: Have We Heard
By Helmust Thielicke and found in Resources For Preaching and Worship Year B compiled by Hannah Ward and Jennifer Wild, Westminster John Knox Press, 2002, ISBN 10 0664224776, pp51 (pictured at left). This story goes very well with the Corinthians reading.

Story: She knows Her Own
Found in Illustrations, Stories and Quotes to Hang Your Message On by Jim Burns and Greg McKinnon, Gospel Light, 1997, ISBN 0830718834, page 33 (pictured in an earlier post). This story exemplifies how God knows us and is therefore a good match with the psalm.

Story: Do You Know Me
In Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks Book 4 by Wayne Rice, Zondervan, 2001, ISBN 0310236193,page 68 (pictured in an earlier blog).  This story goes very well with the Psalm.

Story: Where Did I Come From
Found in Still More Hot Illustrations For Youth Talks by Wayne Rice, Zondervan, 1999, ISBN 0310224640, page 46 (pictured in an earlier blog). This story also goes well with the Psalm. 

Testimonies: A Sense of Call
Ask one or two members of the congregation to share how they feel called to the particular ministry they are involved in.

Response Activity: 
Give everyone a card with the following three options printed on it
1. I am not sure about God's call to me
a) I would like to talk to somebody about this 
b) I would be interested in finding out more about my spiritual gifts, talents and abilities
c)I need some encouragement

2. I have an idea of what God's call to me is but for various reasons I am a little hesitant about it all.
a) I would like to talk to somebody about this
b) I would be interested in finding out more about my spiritual gifts, talents and abilities
c) I would appreciate some training in this area 
d)I need some encouragement

3. I know what God has called me to do
a) I would like to talk to somebody about this 
I would appreciate some training in this area
)I need some encouragement

Tell people they have a choice whether to keep this activity to themselves or to share it. Ask people to consider the three options and to circle the one that is most like where they are at. After a time, tell them to consider carefully the three or four options in the section which they have chosen and to tick the one that speaks to them the most. If they would like to think more about it, suggest they take it home with them. If they would like some follow up on what they have ticked, suggest that they put their name on their card and put it in the offering plate when it comes around.

Response Activity: Offering More
Ask people: What message about your faith and what it means to you might you like to pass on to the groups who use the church building each week.
Have them write their answer down on a scrap of paper and put it in with their offering. After worship, collate all the messages on to a bulletin 
sized sheet and have enough to share with all those who come in contact with your church in the following week.


Meditation: Listening
Found in Meditations from the Iona Community by Ian Reid, Wild Goose Publications, Trowbridge, 1998, ISBN 1901557022, page 34.

Kids: Jesse
By Tim Winton, Penguin Books Australia,  with lots of ideas for a whole worship service found in Worship is For Everyone by Julie Pinazza, Openbook Publishers, 2000, ISBN 0859109259, page 49. This goes well with the Psalm reading.

Taize Service: Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
Found in Worship Feast by Taize, Abingdon Press, 2004, page 16. This is based on the Psalm reading.

Prayer Exercise: Prayer as Listening to God
Found in Prayer: Heart of the Pilgrimage by Jenny Youngman,Upper Room Books, Nashville, 2007, ISBN 0835898369, page 14, Thisis based on the Old Testament reading.

Prayer Exercise: Silence and Solitude
Found in Prayer: Heart of the Pilgrimage by Jenny Youngman, Upper Room Books, Nashville, 2007, ISBN 0835898369, page 52.  This is based on the Psalm reading.

Creative Ideas: Samuel: The Listening Prophet
Found in Multi-Sensory Prophets by Mike Law, Scripture Union, 2007, ISBN 9781844272587, page 11. This is based on the 1 Samuel reading.

For Children and Families: God is Forever
Found in Rewind by Beth Barnett, SUVictoria, 2011, ISBN987098710035, navigate from page 5. This is based on the Psalm reading. 

Sermon ideas: Come and Meet the Messiah
Found in Life on the Road by Athol Gill, Herald Press, 1992, page 43.  This is based on the Gospel reading. 


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