Bible Readings: 2 Samuel 18: 5-9, 15, 31-33, Psalm 130, Ephesians 4:25-5:2, John 6: 35, 41-51
About the images:
Above Left: This is my photo so feel free to use it for worship and related activities. The sunset is taken from the foreshore of Lake Victoria at Paynesville. For more info on the Gippsland Lakes and Paynesville please visit http://www.visitvictoria.com/Regions/Gippsland/Destinations/Paynesville
Above Right: This is a free Corel image onto which I put the Biblical text.
Lower Left: This is a free Microsoft clipart image with words from the song "Where I Wanna Be" (see below).
Lower Right: This is a free image from the Heartlight site (see my link column at left)
Listening Song: Where I Wanna Be
By V'Enna on their album, Where I Wanna Be (pictured at left) or on WOW 2001 as a bonus track, This song makes a great call to worship.
Listening Song: Thankful
By Caedmon's Call on their album 40 Acres, 1997, (pictured at right) or on WOW 2000. This is a prayer of thanks but it also goes with the Ephesians readings for this whole month or so.
Listening song: Psalm 130: More than a Watchman
by Sons of Korah on their Redemption Songs album. Here is a youtube clip:
Story: Don't Change Channels
You can find this story at https://meetingintheclouds.wordpress.com/2012/05/10/what-a-nightmare/. This story makes a great introduction to the Psalm - the point being that changing frequencies when talking to God is never going to work well. The Psalm also makes a great prayer of confession.
Kids: Weapon or tool?
Based on Ephesians 4:29. Person A comes in and begins to hammer in a nail or saw a piece of wood (or whatever). Do it in such an obvious over-exaggerated way that the kids can see that if Person A continues, they will hurt themselves; eg by having a finger across where they intend to cut. Person B arrives and points out what is going to go wrong. Person B shows person A how to cut the wood or hammer the nail in a safe manner and points out that in Person A's hands the saw/hammer is a weapon whereas in their hands it is a tool. Then have a discussion with the kids as to how our tongues can be weapons or tools.
Drama: We Are A Family
Found in Let's Make A Scene Too by Verena Johnson, Lutheran Publishing, 1991, ISBN 085910608, page 31 (pictured at left). This drama is linked to Ephesians 5:1 and 2.
Drama: We Could Die of Hunger
Found in Let's Make A Scene Too by Verena Johnson, Lutheran Publishing, 1991, ISBN 085910608, page 33 (pictured at left). This drama is linked to the gospel reading.
Film Clip: Bella
Show the scene from the film (pictured at right) where brothers Mannie and Jose argue in the kitchen after Jose quits working in his brother's restaurant. This goes well with the Ephesians reading.
1. What are Mannie and Jose arguing about?
2. How do the brothers differ in their treatment of other people?
3. Who do you think is right?
Story: Why Mark Twain was turned off Christianity
Church leaders were largely to blame for Mark Twain becoming hostile to the Bible and the Christian faith. As he grew up, he knew elders and deacons who owned slaves and abused them. He heard men using foul language and saw them practice dishonesty during the week after speaking piously in church on Sunday. He listened to ministers use the Bible to justify slavery. Although he saw genuine love for the Lord Jesus in some people, including his mother and his wife, he was so disturbed by the bad teaching and poor example of church leaders that he became bitter toward the things of God.
Story: You are playing the notes, but not the music
A post graduate student, studying cello under Pablo Casals, was called upon by the Master to play a certain piece previously set. As he played, the other students listened in raptures, for this was Casals prize student. When he concluded the piece every one of the students stood and clapped and cheered, they were thrilled. Casals rose to his feet, and when the maestro stood, silence fell, for they waited with batted breath for his words on the performance of his star student. Looking directly at the young man he said, "young man, you are playing the notes but not the music."
Source unknown but found all over the net when you google bits of the story.
Found in Multi-Sensory Prayer by Sue Wallace, Scripture Union, 2000, ISBN 1859994652, page 36 (pictured at left). This goes well with any of the readings as a prayer, but is particularly relevant to the Ephesians reading.
1. Give everybody a small blank card.
2. Ask them to write on one side the name of somebody they have known or know who lived/s by love rather than just by good rules.
3. Ask them to share a story (without necessarily identifying the person) about that person.
4. Ask them to write prayerfully on the other side of the card what they intend to do this week to live in God's love and not just by God's rules.
Poem and prayer: come and see.
Found in Dad and Daughter by Ron Gordon and Jennie Gordon, 2012, ISBN 9780646586601, page 108 (pictured at right).These are based on the gospel reading. I am going to give everyone a copy of the poem as a conclusion to my sermon.