Sunday, February 28, 2021

Lent 3 B (March 07): The "Take a Gander" Psalm, Turning the World Upside Down


Bible readings: Exodus 20:1-17, Psalm 19, 1 Corinthians 1:18-23, John 2:13-22

About the images:
Upper Left: This one is mine so use as you wish for worship and related activities.
Upper Right: This one comes from Cerezo Barredo's weekly gospel illustrations which are always well embedded into our modern lives as you can see from this one. You can find Cerezo Barredo's illustrations matching up to the weekly lectionary via or via
Middle Left: This is a free image from the Heartlight site - see my links column to the left
Middle Right: This is my image with text from the New Living Translation.  The image is of Chambers Pillar and Castle Rock ( Please feel free to use the image for worship and related activities. 
Lower Left: This is my image of the Temple model found at the Jerusalem Museum.  This image is useful for the conversation about the Temple in John 2:19-22. Please feel free to use this image for worship and related activities.  
Lower Right: This is a another free image from the Heartlight site - see my links column to the left.

Try upsetting everything at the front of your worship space before people arrive. Scatter a few coins around and a few broken wooden crates as well. A word of warning though: we had a member of the congregation arrive early - we only just managed to stop her ringing the police because she thought vandals had entered during the night. It is a confronting sight and brings home to the congregation the enormity of what Jesus did.

Kid's Story
Have four large card faces - a happy one, a sad one, an angry one and a shocked one. Tell the kids and the congregation that they have a response to make for each card - for the happy one they are to shout "hurray", for the sad one they are to say "Oh no!", for the angry one they are to growl and for the shocked one they are to say "what!?". Then have someone either read or tell the gospel story for today and as you hold up the appropriate face cards for the different parts of the story the congregation and the kids will respond with the appropriate expression. (Hope this makes sense - it was a bit hard to explain :-) )

Film Clip: John 2:13-22
Found in the Gospel of John by the Visual Bible Society (pictured at left). A word for word version on John in the Good News translation . It is excellent!!!!

Psalm 19
This psalm particularly lends itself to a series of projected images as it is read.

Ask people to shut their eyes and think about Jesus.
What does he look like?
What colour are his eyes? What colour is his hair?
How does he look?
Ask people to describe their picture of Jesus to the person sitting next to them. 
Then show them the image: The Angry Christ by Lino Pontebon. This image can be found in The Bible through Asian Eyes by Masao Takenaka and Ron O'Grady,Pace, 1991 (pictured at right).
Ask them to discuss what they think of this picture with the person beside them?
How do you feel about this picture?
N.B. If you can't get hold of this image (which is excellent), any image of an angry Jesus in the temple will work almost as well. The Pontebon image works so well because t is only of Jesus' face.

Meditation Question (accompanied with thinking music):
Where do you think Jesus might like to overturn the tables in
A) your life,
B) your church, and
C) your community?

Response Activity/Meditation: I Believe
Have a Christ candle burning, a heap of tapers and a bowl of sand for lit tapers. Give everyone an A5 copy (use parchment paper if possible so they have a nice keepsake copy) of I Believe by Roddy Hamilton, 1999. This is a beautiful creed which can be found at Allow people time to read it. Ask them to note the part they like best and then, as it is read out aloud, to light a taper at the front of the worship space when the reader gets to their favourite phrase or sentence.

Response Activity: Which Room?
I think I based this activity on a tiny little book I was given about 30 years ago which I have long since lost - I think it was called My Heart, Christ's Home.
If you compare your spiritual life to the rooms in a house, in which room of your house do you think Jesus might like to overturn the tables:
1. The kitchen - your appetites and desires
2. The veranda - the place you relax and hang out in
3. The bedroom wardrobe - your secret hangups
4. The study - your reading material
5. The garage - your gifts, skills and talents
6. The lounge room - your relationships
Seeing houses vary all over the world, you may have to change this to suit your culture and housing style.


Kids: Gabriella's Song
By Candace Fleming and Giselle Potter, Simon and Schuster,  with lots of ideas for a whole worship service found in Worship is For Everyone by Julie Pinazza, Openbook Publishers, 2000, ISBN 0859109259, page 25 (pictured at left). This goes well with the Psalm reading.

Prayer Exercise: Praying in Nature
Found in Prayer: Heart of the Pilgrimage by Jenny Youngman, Upper Room Books, Nashville, 2007, ISBN 0835898369, page 56 (pictured at right).  This is based on the Psalm reading.

Opening and Closing Responses for Lent
By Ruth Burgess and Chris Polhill in Eggs and Ashes, Wild Goose Publications, 2004, page 81 (pictured at left). 

Reading: Bird's Eye View
By Ruth Burgess and Chris Polhill in Eggs and Ashes, Wild Goose Publications, 2004, page 145 (pictured at left). This is linked with the gospel reading.

Reflection: Fair Exchange
By Ruth Burgess in Fire and Bread, Wild Goose Publications, 2006, ISBN 9781905010301, page 306 (pictured at right). This is linked to the Gospel reading.
Lots of Useful Stuff:
 Legally Binding
Found in Multi-Sensory Together by Ian Birkinshaw, Scripture Union,2005, ISBN 1844271641, page 11 (pictured at left).  Based on the Exodus reading.

Drama: S*M*A*S*H
Found in Mega Drama 3 by Verona Johnson (ed) Openbook, 2002, ISBN 0859109178 (v.3), page 25 . This drama is based on the Exodus reading. 

Monday, February 15, 2021

Lent 2 B (February 28): Discipleship


Bible readings: Genesis 17:1-7,15-16, Psalm 22:23-31, Romans 4:13-25, Mark 8:31-38

About the images:
Upper LeftA smoky sunset Lake Tyers Beach ( Looking out across an empty ocean is a good reminder that discipleship does not always have a perceived outcome. We must faithfully step out not always knowing what is to come or where we will end up. It is my photo so please feel free to use it for worship and related activities.
Upper Right: I just love this verse. The image is from Microsoft free clipart.
Middle Left: Another beach scene from the same area as the one above it but on a misty morning (,_Victoria). The quote is from the Edge of the World song below. This is my photo so please feel free to use it for worship and related activities.
Middle Right: Another line from the song below - this time the photo has been taken from behind a small waterfall in Morton National Park near Kangaroo Valley in New South Wales ( This is my photo so please feel free to use it for worship and related activities.
Lower Left: Another edge of the world image.  This one is taken from the West Coast Wilderness rack and pinion railway in Tasmania of the King River Gorge ( This is my photo so please feel free to use it for worship and related activities.
Lower Right: This is another free image from the excellent Heartlight site - see my link column at left.

Listening Song: Let Every Breath 
by Jars of Clay.  This goes very well with the Psalm. 

Listening Song: Edge of the World
On Beyond These Shores by Iona, 1993 (pictured at left) The cover insert has some good info on St Brendon, who sailed away across the sea trusting that God would lead him into new places. This song is about discipleship.

Story: The Chicken and the Pig
Found in Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks by Wayne Rice (ed.) Youth Specialities, 1994, ISBN 0310402611, page 63 (pictured at right). This story illustrates the cost of true discipleship.

Story: Life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Go to to find an amazing story of discipleship.

Story: Life of St Brendan
See and for more info on St Brendan.

Discussion Questions:
What scares you most about being a disciple?
What are the characteristics of a disciple?

Useful Quote: 
tians in the west have largely neglected what it means to be a disciple of Christ. The vast majority of Western Christians are church members, pew fillers, hymn singers, sermon tasters, Bible readers, even born again believers or spirit filled charismatics - but not true disciples of Jesus". Found in Discipleship by David Watson, Hodder and Stoughton, 1981, ISBN 0340265728, page 16 (pictured at left).

Another Useful Quote:
"For countless Christians in the West 'Discipleship' means little more than going to church regularly, giving a proportion of one's income -usually at best one tenth and often below that figure - and getting involved in a limited number of church activities". Also found in Discipleship by David Watson.

N.B. A BIG thank you to Karen from California for replacing my lost copy of this book :)

Poem/Prayer: When I Became a Christian
Found in Cleaning Away the Rubbish by Adrian Plass, Minstral, 1988, ISBN 1854240250, page 173 (pictured at right). A great modern poem about discipleship. 

Poem/Prayer: St Brendan's Prayer
Found at


Response Activity: The Good Fight
From Bringing the Word to Life Together Year B by Andrew Collis and Dorothy McRae-McMahon, Mediacom, 2011, ISBN 9781921945038, page 51ff (pictured at left). This activity is based on the gospel reading.

Poem and prayer: get back.
Found in Dad and Daughter by Ron Gordon and Jennie Gordon, 2012, ISBN 9780646586601, page 83 (pictured at right). These are based on the gospel reading.

Lots of Useful Stuff
Found in The Abingdon Creative Preaching Annual 2015 by Jenee Woodard (Ed.), Abingdon Press, Nashville, 2014, page 38ff (pictured at left). These ideas are based on all of the readings. 

Meditation: Bearing the Cross II
Found in Meditations from the Iona Community by Ian Reid, Wild Goose Publications, Trowbridge, 1998, ISBN 1901557022, page 92 (pictured at right). This goes well with the gospel reading.
Taize Service: Losing  Your Life
Found in Worship Feast by Taize, Abingdon Press, 2004 (pictured at left). This is based on the Mark reading.

Worship Activity: The Presence of God
By Jim Burns and Robin Dugall in Worship Experiences, Gospel Light, 1999, ISBN, 0830724044, page 83 (pictured at right).  This is based on the Psalm.

Opening and Closing Responses for Lent
By Ruth Burgess and Chris Polhill in Eggs and Ashes, Wild Goose Publications, 2004, page 77-79 - two to choose from. 

Drama: All or Nothing
Found in Mega Drama 3 by Verona Johnson (ed) Openbook, 2002, ISBN 0859109178 (v.3), page 23 . This drama is based on the Gospel reading.