Monday, March 15, 2021

Lent 5 B (March 21) : Belonging to God, Being like Jesus


Bible Readings: Jeremiah 31:31-34, Psalm 51:1-12 or Psalm 119:9-16, Hebrews 5:5-20, John 12: 20-27

About the Images:
Upper left: I love this image from the Heartlight site  - see my links column at left. 
Upper Right: I took this photo at Lightning Ridge in New South Wales ( I call it "Church and Manse" and it reminds me that God calls us not only to all kinds of exciting places but that being like Jesus doesn't mean we have to be flash and showy.
Middle Left:  The hyssop mentioned in Psalm 51. Copyright for the image: "Origanum syriacum Nachal Kziv" by Kippi70 - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Middle Right: Another free image from
Lower Left: This is a free gospel illustration from Hermano Leon (see my link column at left). 
Lower RightThis one comes from Don Silva's site, Don's death is a sad loss to the Christian on line community. I used his slide under the words from Jeremiah. 

Call to Worship:
Use the Jeremiah reading as a basis for a call to worship.

Listening Song: Written in My Heart
By Plus One on their album, The Promise, or on WOW 2001 (pictured at left). This song is based on the Jeremiah reading.

Prayer of Confession:
Bits of Psalm 51 make a great prayer of confession - use a modern translation or paraphrase such as the C.E.V, The Message or the New Living Translation. People are not as used to listening as they used to be, so print or project the words along with some relevant pictures. The Bible Gateway site - is a very helpful site for translations and paraphrases.

Prayer of Confession: We Have Spoken to You
From Stages on the Way by The Wild Goose Worship Group, Wild Group Resource Group, 1998,ISBN 1876357363, page 71 (pictured at right).

Prayer of Confes
sion: Create In Us A Clean Heart
By Martha Keys Barker and found in Building Worship Together by Martha Keys Barker and the Fisherfolk, Celebration Services, 1981, ISBN 0906309212, page 87 (pictured at left). This choral reading is based on Psalm 51.

Jeremiah Reading:
This will depend a bit on the size of your group and the amount of energy you and/or your team have. Have enough snazzy envelopes for one per person. The matching paper sealed within should have the Bible reading printed on it OR print the reading onto A4 parchment and roll up and tie with a coloured ribbon – one per each person. Give these out as people are arriving and then ask people to open them/unroll them as the Bible reader comes forward to read.

Kid's Story: The Tale of Three Trees
By Angela Elwell Hunt, Lion Publishing, 1989, ISBN 0745922627 (pictured at right)This beautiful children's story can be used at Christmas or Easter or for any time of the year for that matter. I like using it particularly with the gospel reading for this week because Jesus predicts his own death.

Discussion: What if.....
What if "some Greeks" (based on the John reading) came to your faith community this week and said "We want to see Jesus".
1. Who would they be?
2. What would you do?
3. What would you say?
4. Would they see Jesus?
Discuss these questions in groups of three.

Story: The Right Choice
In Illustrations, Stories and Quotes to Hang Your Message On by Jim Burns and Greg McKinnon, Gospel Light, 1997, ISBN 0830718834, page 147(pictured at left). This story of sacrifice also goes well with the gospel reading.

Story: Conversion
Found in 750 Engaging Illustrations from Craig Brian Larson and leadership Journal, Barker Books, 1993, ISBN 0801091551, Story No. 104 (pictured at right). This is a story about how God works in our hearts and therefore it fits in well with the Jeremiah reading.

Story: Leaving Nothing Undone
By Leonard Sweet and quoted by Peter Kennedy at - this is the John Mark Ministries site set up by Rev Rowland Croucher (referred to in the next resource below). The site is a very useful one - well worth a visit. This story challenges us ro respond to the gospel reading and the meaning of sacrifice in our own lives.

Handy Quote:
"To each one of us Christ is saying: If you want your life and mission to be fruitful like mine, do as I. Be converted into a seed that lets itself be buried. Let yourself be killed. Do not be afraid. Those who shun suffering will remain alone. No one is more alone than the selfish. But if you give your life out of love for others, as I give mine for all, you will reap a great harvest. You will have the deepest satisfactions. Do not fear death or threats; the Lord goes with you." - Oscar Romero, 1 April 1979, a year before he was shot while preaching at Mass. I found this quote in Rivers in the Desert by Rowland Croucher (ed.) Albatross Books,1991, page 398.

Response Activity:
Put in the plate with the offering how you intend to specifically follow and serve Jesus this week. You will need small pieces of paper and a pen or pencil for each person for this. Reassure them that this is between them and God and not to be shared with others.


em/Meditation: The Cheerful Unrepentant Weeds
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 13 (pictured at left). This goes well with the John reading.

Prayer Exercise: Confession
Found in Prayer: Heart of the Pilgrimage by Jenny Youngman, Upper Room Books, Nashville, 2007, ISBN 0835898369, page 46 (pictured at right).  This is based on the Psalm reading.

Creative Ideas: Jeremiah: The Prophet of Hope
Found in Multi-Sensory Prophets by Mike Law, Scripture Union, 2007, ISBN 9781844272587, page 37 (pictured at left). This is based on the Jeremiah reading.

Opening and Closing Responses for Lent
By Ruth Burgess and Chris Polhill in Eggs and Ashes, Wild Goose Publications, 2004, page 86. 

Drama: Born To Die
Found in Mega Drama 1 by Verena Johnson (Ed.), Open Book Publishers, 2001, ISBN 0859109151, page 75. This drama is based on the gospel reading.

Lots of Useful Stuff: Sorry State
Found in Multi-Sensory Together by Ian Birkinshaw, Scripture Union,2005, ISBN 1844271641, page 17.  Based on the Psalm reading.

Drama: James Tells the Story
Found in Mega Drama 3 by Verona Johnson (ed) Openbook, 2002, ISBN 0859109178 (v.3), page 66 . This drama is based on the Hebrews reading. 

Drama: Nobody Man 
Found in Mega Drama 3 by Verona Johnson (ed) Openbook, 2002, ISBN 0859109178 (v.3), page 80. This drama is based on the John reading. 

No comments: