Saturday, March 28, 2015

Easter Day B (April 5)

Bible Readings: Acts 10:34-43, Isaiah 25:6-9, Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24, 1 Corinthians 15:1-11, John 20:1-18, Mark 16:1-8

About the Images:

Upper Left: This is The Angel of the Lord painted in 1990 by Jacek Andrzej Rossakiewicz (b.1956). I love it! I obtained it from Wikimedia Commons, The permission for use of this work has been verified and archived in the Wikimedia OTRS system.
Upper Right: It never ceases to amaze me how new life arises from the devastation of an Australian bushfire. Because of the nature of our trees and the dense undergrowth, our fires can be amazingly hot and many cases even the dirt seems to be burnt - an absolute wasteland ensues. Yet before too long, the bush begins to regenerate. Life out of death! This photo shows first growth leaves in a burnt out area of the Australian High country.
Lower Left: This is a free image from Imagebank - please see my link column to the left.
Lower Right: This is a free image from Hermano Leon - please see my link column at left.  This is a great image for Easter for those who use colouring as an aid to prayer. 

Decor and Preparation
As for Good Friday - black cloth over communion table and unlit Christ candle. Get enough musical instruments eg bells, shakers, clackers etc etc for everyone - or at least for all your kids. Cheap toys are fine.

Call to Worship: We Will Unfold
By Roddy Hamilton, April 2006, available via his site -see Mucky Paws link at left (he will send you out monthly liturgies if you freely subscribe). Awesome stuff!!!

Call to Worship
Project a series of pictures about Good Friday whilst playing Grac
e by Moby from his album Songs (pictured at left). Move straight into the following....

Opening Drama: The Three Woman
Found in Stages on the Way by Wild Goose Worship Group, Wild Goose Publications, 1998 ISBN 1876357363 pages 192-4(pictured at right). As the three woman say their final lines together, "He is Risen" , project their words. Woman 1 then removes the black cloth, woman 2 lights the candle and woman 3 gives out the musical instruments and announces the first song. Then make enthusiastic music!!


Opening Drama: The Message
In Let's Make Another Scene by Verena Johnson, Open Book, 1995, ISBN 0859107620, page 66 (pictured at left). This is based on the gospels.

Listening Song: Beautiful Day
By U2 on their album, All That You Can't Leave Behind (pictured at right).

Easter Celebration: Easter is......
Another ripper from Roddy Hamilton (as above).

Absolution for Prayer of confession and/or passing of the Peace: This is the Good News
Found in Stages on the Way (see above)

Kid's Talk: Cut the Tie
Found at
I used this one three years ago and people still talk about it. They were astounded and the elderly gentleman who had his tie cut was just wonderful!

Kid's Talk: Faith and Belief
Found at

Drama: Easter Eggcitement
Found in Mega Drama 1 by Verena Johnson (ed), Open Book, 2001, ISBN 0859109151, page 94 (pictured at left). This drama is based on the John reading.

Pew and Plenary Discussion
Tell your neighbour what your best celebration ever was.
Share with the congregation the age you were for this event.
Just as birthdays can become a little more ordinary as we grow older, I wonder if we can sometimes lose the intense meaning and significance of Easter as each year adds another celebration.
Share as a congregation: What is the significance of Easter?
Tell your neighbour how you think Easter will make a difference to your week.

Story: On The River of Death
Found at
A story about the significance of Jesus' death.

Sermon Idea: The Visit

Found in The Final Boundary by Adrian Plass, Minstrel, 1987, ISBN 1854240935. Too long to use completely but a lovely story that modernises the Easter story beautifully.

Response Activity: Christ Has Died, Christ Has Risen
Found in Stages on the Way (again!!!), page 196.

Benediction: Here Are your Disciples
Found in Stages on the Way (you can tell I like this book!!), page 198.


Easter Dawn Service B (5 April)

Bible Reading: John 21:1-23

About the Image:
Upper Left
: Dawn on the Gippsland Lakes - taken from my front yard actually. Feel free to use this image and if you want to see more of the area, visit Paynesville is my closest town.
Upper Right: our dawn service cooking. Please feel free to use either of these images for worship or related activities.

Lower Left: A free image from church galleries - see my links column at left
Lower Right: a free image from Imagebank -see my links column at left.

Most of the resources here come from services from other years. This is such an intimate service linked so much to what we are seeing and experiencing around us that I feel it is unnecessary to change much from year to year. I usually only change the bible reading, the meditation and the reflection - the rest stays as is.

Have this service near a lake or beach if possible - if you live inland, then choose a high point - if you live inland on a plain then find a nice river - if you live inland on a plain in a desert (much of Australia) then you will have plenty of beautiful places to choose from.

Easter candle:Have a camp fire or a fire pot instead.
Prayer: Jesus We Greet You
Found in Stages on the Way by The Wild Goose Worship Group, Wild Goose Publications, 1998, ISBN 1876357363, page 188 (pictured at right).Prayer: Lord God, Early in the MorningFound in Stages on the Way, as above, page 184.

Poem/Meditation: Come Share a Damper With Me
Found in A Bloke called Jesus by Pro Hart and Norman Habel, Rigby, 1982, ISBN 0727017586, page 46 (pictured at left)

Response Activity: Cook enough fish and damper or middle eastern flat bread for everyone over your open fire .

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Good friday B (April 3)

Bible readings: Isaiah 52:13-53:12, Psalm 22, Hebrews 10:16-25 or Hebrews 4:14-16,5:7-9, John 18:1 -19:42

About the Images:
Upper Left:
This is my photo of an evening in the Victorian High country. The cross is a digital addition. If you want to see more of our beautiful high country, then visit  Please feel free to use this image for worship and related activities.
Upper Right: This image comes from This site no longer updates (you will see the sad reason why when you visit) however the artist, Don da Silva, has left a legacy of wonderful images and templates via the site archives.
Lower Left: This is my photo of the Garden of Gethsemane as it is today.  Please feel free to use this image for worship and related activities.
Lower Right: This is my photo of a painting inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.  Please feel free to use this image for worship and related activities.

N.B. Good Friday needs to be treated rather differently from many services. It is a special time. I usually divide the Easter story up (i.e. some of the stations of the cross) and separate each section with the solemn sound of a gong that has the capacity to reverberate through the silence of the worship space. I use a home made tubular bell which is excellent. At the very least I use a Bible reading, an image either projected or placed in a prominent position and a symbol for each section of the story. A responsive song such as "Jesus, remember me" works well too at the end of each section. Have a large wooden cross at the front of the church.

This year:
I might place the cross in the middle of the church where the coffin usually sits at a funeral. I will place the Christ candle on it and people will be encouraged to come out and light a candle as a response to any of the stations/sections.

Various options specific to each section are as follows:

1. Jesus is arrested.
Symbol: Chains or rope
Prayer: What do You Say?
By Dom Helder Camara
and found in Resources For Preaching and Worship Year B compiled by Hannah Ward and Jennifer Wild, Westminster John Knox Press, 2002, ISBN 100664224776, page 115 (pictured at left).

2. Jesus is Questioned
Symbol: Gavel
Biblical Reflection: The Pharisee
From Eggs and Ashes by Ruth Burgess and Chris Polhill, Wild Goose Publications, 2004, ISBN 1901557871, page 193 (pictured at right).
Biblical Reflection: The Priest
From Eggs and Ashes (as above) page 192.

3. Peter denies Jesus
Smashed alarm clock or feathers.
Listening Song: I Can't Take the PainBy Third Day on their album, Time (pictured at left).
Story: Crucifix
By G. A. Studdert-Kennedy and found in Resources For Preaching and Worship Year B, as above, page 114.

4. Pilate
Symbol: whip or bowl of water
Meditation: Stations of the Cross (part of it)
From Eggs and Ashes (as above), page 166. All fifteen stations are dealt with in this book and can be used as a whole, however can also be used in "stand alone" situations; for example, I used the meditation and prayer from Station 1 for this part of my service.
Sermon based on The Death of Innocence
Found in The Song of Jesus: Reflections on the Life of Jesus of Nazareth by Ron O'Grady, JBCE, Melbourne, 1984, page 70 (pictured at right).

5. The Death Sentence
Crown of Thorns or a scarlet/purple robe.

Reading: Why is he Getting Wrong?
By Ruth Burgess and Kirsty Langlands (aged 10) in Eggs and Ashes (as above), page 166
Silent Responsive Prayer:
Based on section 5 of The Easter Labyrinth in Multi- Sensory Church by Sue Wallace, Scripture Union, 2002, ISBN 1859996671, page 53 (pictured at left). Sue Wallace has at least seven of these multi-sensory books and they are excellent.

6. Jesus is nailed to the Cross
Symbols: hammer and nails, dice, sponge.
Listening Song: Our God Who Weeps
By Kate Scull on the compilation album, Tune In (pictured at right). Hear this song at This album can be ordered from and is well worth getting with the song book. There are some really new, refreshing and wonderful congregational songs in this book and on this CD.
Meditation: When Jesus Died
In Stages on the Way by Wild Goose Worship Group, 1998 (pictured in an earlier blog) page 168. This is quite long but can be broken up or only used in part.

Symbolic prayer:
Touch the items as you pray.
Here are dice, Lord, to remind us that you lost everything for us. Help us to be generous with our lives as well as with our belongings. Help us to see need.

Here is a sponge, Lord, to remind us of your thirst. Help us to thirst for justice and peace and freedom and for your kingdom here in earth.
Here are nails, Lord, to remind us of your forgiveness given to the men who nailed you to the cross. Help us to forgive those who hurt us as generously as you forgave them.

7. The Death of Christ
: Blow out the Christ candle

Film clip:

Play the crucifixion scene from any good quality film about Jesus, however turn off the sound and instead play Everything I Do, I Do It For You b
y Bryan Adams on his album, The Best of Me (pictured at left).

8. Jesus is buried
Symbol: cover communion table with a black cloth.
Symbolic action:
Place one very small but exquisite flower on the black cloth and say:
This flower is not a symbol of grief or death,
it is not part of a funeral wreath.

It is a symbol of hope.
This story is not yet over.
It is indeed Friday today
But Sunday is coming.
This small beautiful flower will stay here as a symbol of hope
until we return.

Not sure where I got this idea - if somebody owns it, please let me know so I can acknowledge you. You can do the same thing with a tiny candle and talk about the darkness never putting out the light.

9. Conclusion
Drama and Response Activity:
Guilty as Sin
Found in Mega Drama 3 by Verena Johnnson, Open Book, 2002 (pictured in an earlier blog). Use as a lead in to everyone coming forward and hammering a nail into the large wooden cross. Permission is given in this book to adapt the dramas to fit the circumstances and so I left out the narrator at the beginning and had the people in the drama say their words from their seats, come forward to hammer in their nail and then return to their seats. This gave the rest of the people permission to come forward when they were asked to do so.

Listening Song: Barber's Adagio for String
By William Orbit on the
Open Space album (pictured at right).

Response Activity: Yes and No
From Bringing the Word to Life Together Year B by Andrew Collis and Dorothy McRae-McMahon, Mediacom, 2011, ISBN 9781921945038, page 68ff (pictured at left). This activity is based on the gospel reading and the Psalm.

Poem and prayer: why.
Found in Dad and Daughter by Ron Gordon and Jennie Gordon, 2012, ISBN 9780646586601, page 88 .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 63ff. These ideas are based on all of the readings.

Maundy Thursday B (April 2):


Bible Readings: Exodus 12:1-4, (5-10), 11-14, Psalm 116: 1-2, 12-19, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26,  John 13: 1-7, 31b-35

Upper Left and Right:  These are free images from the Heartlight site.  See my links column at left.
Lower Left and Right: These are free images from the Imagebank site. See my links column at left.

The Bible readings set down for Maundy Thursday are the same each year so you can look in Year A or Year C archives (to the left) for any resources I have used.

This year I am going to use Seasons of the spirit SeasonsFusion resources for 2015 which are based on Mark 14:1-50.  We have been studying Mark in our Lenten reflections so it just seemed right to keep to the same gospel for a change.

I will let you know if I find anything useful that combines with this resource as I prepare for this service.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Palm Sunday B (March 29)

Bible readings: Isaiah 50:4-9a, Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29, Philippians 2:5-11,Mark 11:1-11 or John 12:12-16

About the Images:

Upper Left: This image comes from Hermanoleum Clipart ( and has my text added.
Upper Right:
This photo is mine and taken at Cable Beach, Broome, Western Australia. If you want to find out more about Broome visit . Please feel free to use for worship and related activities.
Lower Left: This is a free image from Imagebank - see my links column at left
Lower Right: This is a free image from Heartlight - see my links column at left

Skit/ Call to Worship: After the Cheering Has Stopped...
A group of people come into the church waving palm branches and coats, yelling and cheering a generally making a racket. As they reach the front of the church one of the group notices the cross, becomes subdued and very still, lays his or her branch or coat at the foot of the cross, and quietly sits down in the body of the congregation. One by one the others catch on and follow suit until there is just a pile of branches and coats at the foot of the cross. After a short silence, the worship leader says "...and after the cheering has stopped....what?" I cannot remember if I half-inched this idea from someone or somewhere else or whether it is my own. Let me know if if you know of another source for this idea and I will gladly make due acknowledgement.

Song: Chorus of Faith
By Michael Card on his album, Joy in the Journey, Birdwing Music, 1994 (pictured at left).

Listening Song: Talk About It
By Nicole C. Mullen on her album Talk About It (pictured at right) or on WOW 2003.

Film Clip: John 12:12-16
From The Gospel of John by The Visual Bible Society (pictured at left).

Film Clips: Jesus Christ Superstar
The musical film version of Jesus Christ Superstar (pictured at right) has two useful song clips for this week - because it is a musical, an audio effort could be made instead if you cannot show film clips. The two songs are Hossanna and Christ, You Know How I Love You.

Film Clip: Horton Hears a Who
(pictured at left) There are plenty of clips in this film about Horton going to extreme lengths to save the Who. At one point when he is warmed of the dire consequences of doing so, he reiterates that he is faithful. Very like Jesus who knew that the his entry into Jerusalem was leading him ever closer to his death - but he remained faithful and ever determined to be our Saviour. Watch it here:

Discussion: Horton Hears a Who
1. Why won't Horton give up on the Who even when he is threatened?
2. How are Jesus and Horton similar?

Skit: The Extraordinary Event
Found in Mega Drama 3 by Verona Johnson (Ed.) Openbook, 2002, ISBN 0859109178 (v.3), page 60, (pictured at right) It is based on the Mark reading.

Story: The Visit
By Adrian Plass in The Final Boundary, Minstral, 1987, ISBN 1854240935, page 149ff. This brilliant modern day parable is too long for a service but the first section has a great scene which challenges us to think about how we would celebrate Jesus' arrival in our midst.

Prayer/Confession: Going Up to Jerusalem
Found in Eggs and Ashes by Ruth Burgess and Chris Polhill, Wild Goose Publications, 2004, ISBN 1901557871, page 127

Prayer: Headline Prayers
Project some news items. Pray together for those who make the headlines this week.

Response Activity: Palm Crosses
While gentle music plays, encourage everyone to make a palm cross. Have the instructions printed out on A5 sheets for everyone and make sure a few people can already confidently make them so that they can guide others who may have difficulties. Clear instructions are available from www.king At the conclusion of the activity encourage people to lay their cross at the foot of the cross as you pray about the implications of the Easter week.

Response Activity: If You Were In the Crowd
This idea is found in Worship Ideas For Group Ministry, Group Publishing, 1997, ISBN 076442002X, page 50 (pictured at right).
Based on the gospel readings.

To Take Home: Business cards or bookmarks
Print with the following readings to lead into Easter:
Today: The Parade: Mark 11:1-11
Monday:The Temple: Mark 11:12-19
Tuesday: The Conflict: Mark 11:20-13:27
Wednesday: The Preparation: Mark 14:1-10.
Thursday: The Farewell: Mark 14:12-31
Friday: The Death: Mark 14:32-15:47
Saturday: The Silence: Mark 16:1
Sunday: The Winner: Mark 16:2-20. 

Lent 5 B (March 22): 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: 20-26

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.
Lower 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
Lower Right: Another free image from

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.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Lent 4 B (March 15): Unconditional Love

Bible readings: Numbers 21:4-9, Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22, John 3: 14-21, Ephesians 2:1-10

About the images:
Upper Right: Mediacom free clipart with my text.
Upper Left: My photo - feel free to use it for worship and related activities.
Lower Left and Right: Free images from the Heartlight galleries (please see my links column at left)

Listening Song:: Speechless
By Steven Curtis Chapman on his album, Speechless, or on WOW 2000 (pictured at left). This goes well with the Ephesians reading.

Listening Song: Call My Name
By Third Day on their album, Revelation, or on WOW 2009 (pictured at right). This song matches well with the Gospel reading.

Prayer of Confession: In this World
Found in Stages on the Way by The Wild Goose Worship Group, Wild Goose Resource Group, 1998, ISBN 1876357363, page 55 (pictured at left).

Kid's Time: Learning John 3:16
Put the individual (or pairs or phrases) words of john 3:16 on big red hearts and distribute these to various members of the congregation before the service. Ask them to hold the hearts in front of their faces at the start of the kid's time. Ask the kids to come out and look at the congregation and see if they can see anything odd. Tell them it is a secret message from God to them and ask then to find all the people with hearts, bring them forward and then try to arrange them so that the message makes sense. The adults always help out if it gets a little difficult :)

Kid's Story: The Sneeches
The first story in The Sneeches and Other Stories by Dr Seuss, Dr Suess Enterprises, 1957, ISBN 0007158505 (pictured at right). This story can lead to a discussion about whether we need to do anything to be loved by God.

Kids Story: I Love You, Stinky Face
By Lisa McCourt, illustrations by Cyd Moore, Hinckler Books, 2002. (pictured at left) Previously published by BridgeWater Paperback, 1998 Thanks to Marion Latham for this suggestion. Marion says it is a great  illustration of God's grace.

Film Clip: Les Miserables
From the end of the credits (the first scene)  and ending with the priest blessing him and giving him a second chance

Film Clip: Walking Across Egypt
(pictured at left).Show the clip where Mattie argues with her children about when she should stop loving and caring for Wesley. I got this clip from in their "unconditional love" section. This site is well worth the subscription.

Discussion: Walking Across Egypt
1. When does God stop loving us?
2. When should we stop loving others?

Film Clip: Aladdin
Show one of the clips where Aladdin tries to impress Princess Jasmine by pretending he is some thing that he is not - there is one particularly useful clip where his friends encourage him to tell her the truth but he can't do it.

Discussion: Aladdin
1. Why was Aladdin pretending to be someone he was not?

2. Who was Aladdin trying to impress?
3. How do we sometimes try to find favour with God and with each other?

Drama: The Tune
Based on a puppet play (but no longer using as many people or puppets) found in Drama Resources One from the South Australian Lutheran Youth Office. My version makes use of a fairly astute musician. I do hope I have not offended copyright but the book is no longer in print - if an Adelaide Lutheran reads and recognises this beautiful little play please email me so that I can give credit where is is due.
More: Thanks to Kevin (see comment below) I now have more information on the history of this drama. Kevin says that "The Tune" is by Larry Norman (now deceased) and can be viewed at : Interestingly, I think that the Drama Resource version predates the Norman version. .....And so, the mystery thickens!!!???
Tune is played twice brightly…. Third time harsh at the end and stops bluntly.

Narrator: Once there was a tune and everyone knew how it went. However as time went by people began to forget it, until at last nobody could remember it.
And there was sadness…. Tune differs
And war… tune differs
And death… tune changes and fades out.
And then someone said: How did that tune go?
And the scoffers said:

Scoffer: (loudly) There is no tune, there never was. It’s just a fairy story! (Harsh chord)

N. And the people said: What!? No tune at all??
And the religious people said:

Religious person: Well now, it doesn’t really matter what tune you play as long as you play something and don’t hurt anybody. (Harsh Chord)

N. So the world just played on and on. (Tune played out of tune).
And there was sadness…. And hatred…. And war… and death. (Tune gets louder and bolder and more out of key)
And one day the world became tired of it (tune fades)
(Long pause)
Suddenly they heard a strange … noise. (Tune begins again slowly)
And someone said, “What is that?”
It was then that they saw the kind man. His name was Jesus. He had a smile on his face … and a kind of sad look too. They all started to listen but they were a little puzzled… Suddenly the scoffers and the religious people shouted:

Scoffer: (loudly) There is no tune, there never was, and there never will be. It’s just a fairy story!

Religious person: Well now, it doesn’t really matter what tune you play as long as you play something and don’t hurt anybody.

N: Jesus just looked at them … rather sadly … when some of them began to sing.

Scoffer and religious person: la la la la la la la la la la la (badly and out of tune)

N: Then they began to fight and argue. Those who didn’t like Jesus decided to kill him … and they did (Tense chord and then silence for a few seconds)
(Tune begins again)
But he came back (Tune played joyfully)
They wondered how to stop him but he disappeared. (Tune is played dreamily)
Instead there are just a lot of people smiling, and enjoying being with their friends…. And these people knew the tune (tune is loud and happy)
Not only that, but they noticed that there was something different. When the people made a mistake, they stopped (tune stops, pause, begins again)
That’s how they knew the tune. They listened.
If you stop and listen, you will hear the tune too (tune continues)
But you have to listen quietly … and you have to listen every day
(Tune played confidently as intro to congregation sing in the song)
Drama: That's Not Fair
Based on John 3:16-17 and written by Rosemary Broadstock and Ann Scull.

A: 'For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everybody who believes in him may not die but have eternal life'.
B: But that's not fair!!! What about the likes of Hitler and Stalin - the people who start terrible wars and cause the death of millions of innocent people and cause the destruction of whole countries which take decades to rebuild.
A: But God has shown us how much he loves us - it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us.
B: But that's not fair either!!! Does that include the people who dominate powerless people? What about those who rip off the system and make us all pay more? What about people who are cruel?
A: This is what love is: it is not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the means by which our sins are forgiven.
B: Hey, come on, this really isn't fair!! That can't possibly include the thieves and the murderers, the people in our jails, the criminals, the liars and the cheats, the ones who abandon and mistreat their children and families, the ones who fight and drink too much.
A: Absolutely nothing will ever be able to separate us from the love of God which is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord.
B: But its still not fair!!!! What about the people who are self satisfied and thoughtless? What about those who gossip and are jealous, the ones who are selfish and lack compassion, the ones who break promises, the ones who are always critical, the ones who carelessly hurt other people's feelings..... Come to think of it - it's all of us really, isn't it?
A: This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.

Story: Too Late
Based on the Ephesians reading this story is found at You need to scroll down the page to find it.

Story: The Kiss
In Hot Illustrations For Youth Talks by Wayne Rice, Youth Specialties, 1194, ISBN 0310402611, page 131 . This links well with the Gospel reading.

Story: The First Shall be Last
In Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks Book 4 by Wayne Rice, Zondervan, 2001, ISBN 0310236193, page 160. This links well to the Ephesians reading.

Response Activity: Unity
In 40 Devotions that Work with Youth, by Geraldine Anderson (ed).,JBCE, 1983, ISBN 0858194147, page 58. In the book this was intended to be a youth group devotion for the Ephesians reading however it can be quite easily adapted to suit a congregation and used as part of the sermon or as a conclusion. Try using post-it notes and a small portable cross instead of paper and the floor.

Response Activity: Loving as God Loves

Hand out pencils and A5 sheets or business cards (it's better to do this bit when people are arriving for the service) with the following words: God loved me and ………………. so much that he gave his one and only Son so that everyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life. God did not sent Jesus into the world to condemn me or ………….. God sent Jesus to save us. John 3:16-17. Give everyone a minute or two to talk to God and to fill in the blanks.

Response Activity: Forgiven by God
Found in Multi-Sensory Scripture by Sue Wallace, Scripture Union, 2005, ISBN 1844271668, page 73 (pictured in an earlier blog).

Response Activity: John 3:14-21
In response to this reading, I used three of the above activities:
vv. 14-15: Forgiven By God
vv. 16-17: Loving as God Loves
vv. 18-21 The Tune

Closing Prayer: You Call your Disciples
Found in Stages on the Way, as above, page 59.

Response Activity: Walk in the Light
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 and the Ephesians reading.

Poem and prayer: into life.
Found in Dad and Daughter by Ron Gordon and Jennie Gordon, 2012, ISBN 9780646586601, page 85 .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 46ff. These ideas are based on all of the readings.