Thursday, May 18, 2017

Proper 8 A (July 2): Discipleship = Hospitality/ Restoring the sparkle in our eyes

Bible Readings: Genesis 22:1-14, Psalm 13, Romans 6:12-23, Matthew 10:40-42

About the images:
Upper Left: This is a free image from Hermano Leon Art with my text - see my links column at left.
Upper Right: This is a free image from Image Bank with my text - see my links column at left.
Lower left: This is a free Bing image with text from Psalm 13
Lower Right: This is a free image from Heartlight - see my link column at left

Kid's story
: Nobody's Granny
By Tess Brady and Kay Stewart, Ashton Scholastic, 1989, ISBN 0868964344 (pictured at l
eft). This story goes beautifuly with the Matthew reading - it is about all kinds of hospitality and about how hospitality grows hospitality in others.

Film Clip: Chocolat
(pictured at right) Show the priest's sermon right at the end of the film .

Discussion: On Chocolat

1. What should we be embracing?
2. What should we be creating?
3. Who should we be in

Response Activity: Chocolat

After singing a serving song, give everybody a disposable white cup (or some other symbol of hospitality) and something to write with. Ask them to write their personal answers to the three Chocolat questions.

Film Clip: Babette's Feast
(pictured at left) Heaps of clips from this film fit the bill for today's readings - in fact I have shown the whole thing interspersed with time for discussion, prayer, bible readings and dinner - that was the service.

Introductory Activity for The Psalm: Fried Eggs
Found in 40 devotions That Work With Youth by Geraldine Anderson (Ed.), JBCE, 1983, ISBN 0858194147, page 12 (pictured at right). This works just as well for adults as for teens and children.

Story: Whose Duty is It
Found in Illustrations, Stories and Quotes to Hang Your Message On by Jim Burns and Greg McKinnon, Gospel Light, 1997, ISBN 0830718834, page 155 (pictured at left). This story links in well with the gospel reading.

Poem: Old Gaelic Rune
Found in Imaging the Word Volume 2 by Susan A. Blain Sharon Iverson Glouwens, Catherine O'Callaghan, Grant Spradling (Eds.), United Church Press, 1995, ISBN 0829810331, page 233 (pictured at right). This poem fits well with the gospel reading. I found A Million Stars by Iona on their album, Open Sky (pictured at left), made great backing for this poem.

NB: About using poetry in worship
Reading poetry, unless done very well, does not go down well in this day and age. I always project the words with images and matching music and basically turn the poems into meditations. If there are copyright issues with the words, then still project images and play the music but read the words as a voice over. People respond well to these poem/meditations and they are often the most requested and talked about part of my services. They are the "worship of choice" for the young people in our congregations.

Meditation: Meeting God

Found in He Was in the World by John L. Bell, Wild Goose Publications, 1995, ISBN 094798870X, page 64 (pict . This goes with the Genesis reading and I will probably use just the bit that is relevant and save the whole meditation for another time.

Reflect/Pray/Act: Lament on God's Steadfast Love
You will find useful ideas for reflecting, praying, and acting based on Psalm 13 which can be easily incorporated into a worship service on page 48 of Prayer: Heart of the Pilgrimage - Participants Book (part of the The Way of Pilgrimage series) by Jenny Youngman, Upper Room Books, 2007, ISBN 9780835898362.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Proper 7 A (June 25): Deserts and Wells/ Fear Not

Bible Readings: Genesis 21:8-21, Psalm 86:1-10, Romans 6:1b -11, Matthew 10: 24-39.

About the Images:
Upper Left: This is my photo with words from The Little Prince (see below). Please feel free to use this image for worship and related activities.
Upper right: This is an Imagebank image (see my links column at left) with words from The Little Prince.
Lower Left: This is a microsoft free clipart background with my text.
Lower Right: This is a free heartlight image - see my link column at left

Listening Song: God is In Control
By Twila Paris on her album, Beyond a Dream  (pictured at left) or on WOW 1996. This song goes very well with the Genesis reading.

Listening Song: You're Here
By Sixpence None the Richer on the album, City on a Hill, 2000 (pictured at right). This song goes very well with either the Genesis reading or the Gospel reading.

Kid's Story: The Very Worried Sparrow
By Meryl Doney, Anzea Publishers or Lion Publishing, 1978, ISBN 858920948 (pictured at left). This story is based on the Gospel reading.

Film Clip: The Incredibles
(pictured at right) Show the scene contained in the first 15 minutes where Mr Incredible is blamed for doing good. This fits in very well with the Gospel reading.

Discussion: On The Incredibles
1. When was Jesus treated in a similar way?
2. When were the disciples treated in a similar way?
3. When do we, as Christians, have to put up with similar treatment and what can/should we do about it?

Story: Names or Numbers

Marvin Rosenthal  tells about a mother who was asked by a census taker how may children she had. She said, "Well, there's Billy and Harry and Martha and--" "Never mind the names," the man interrupted. "Just give me the number!" The mother indignantly replied, "They haven't got numbers, they've all got names." Sorry, can't source this other than I think it may come from a magazine.

Story: Bonhoeffer
The story of Bonoeffer's imprisonment and death fits very well with the cost of discipleship mentioned in the gospel.

Quote: The Little Prince
(pictured at left but there are so, so many editions of this wonderful little book that you will have not trouble finding it) "What makes the desert beautiful", said the Little Prince, is that somewhere it hides a well..." .... The Little Prince added: "But the eyes are blind. One must look with the heart".

Brainstorm desert experiences and wells.
How do we find wells in our desert experiences?

Poem: The Candle
Found in The Electric Bible by Peter Dainty, Kevin Mayhew, 2003, ISBN 1844170441, page 78 (pictured at right).  The poem goes really well with the gospel reading.  I matched it with images and backed it with Dark Night of the Soul by Loreena McKennitt on her CD, Mask and Mirror.

Response Activity:
Give each person a small card with a desert and a well pictured on it. Ask people to write down a situation that can make their life a bit of a desert on the desert picture and then on the picture of the well, ask them to write something God has provided to help them survive. This links in with the Genesis reading.

Response Activity:
Give everyone a key tag and a choice of three pictures which you have pre-made to fit the key tags - I linked this with the Matthew reading so I had pictures of hair, candles and sparrows.  On the back I encouraged people to to write: God cares for me. I encouraged people to attach these to personal items so as to remind themselves of God’s love and care.  I got the key tag idea for this from a children's activity in the Mediacom Whole people of God Beginners notes for 2002.  

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Proper 6 A (June 18): Take the Plunge!

Bible Readings: Genesis 18:1-15, 21:1-7, Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19, Romans 5:1-8, Matthew 9:35 - 10:8, 9-23.

About the images:
Upper Left: A combination of two microsoft free clip art and my text.
Upper Right:  A free heartlight image - see my link column at left.
Lower Left: A free Cerezo Barredo image - see my link column at left.
Lower Right: A free Hermano Leon image - see my link column at left.

Listening Song: You Move Me
By Susan A
shton on A Distant Call and Nothing But Pop (pictured at right)Kid's Story: Abraham
Found in The Picture Strip Bible by Felicity Henderson and Chris Saunderson, Scripture Union, 2001, ISBN 1859994970, page 12 (pictured at right)

Drama: Sarah

By Judy Gattis Smith and found
in Imaging the Word Volume 2 by Susan A. Blain, Sharon Iverson Glouwens, Catherine O'Callaghan, Grant Spradling (Eds.), United Church Press, 1995, ISBN 0829810331, page 224, (pictured at left).

Film Clip: The Princess Diaries
Show the clip where Mia is quite obviously nearly invisible to everyone. Finish the clip when she says "someone sat on me again".

Discussion: On The Princess Diaries

1. Who are the invisible people in our community who feel like Mia or are like the people Jesus saw in Matthew 9:36?
2. How can we help?

Story: Save the Starfish

Found in More Hot Illustrations for Youth by Wayne Rice, Zondervan 1995, ISBN 0310207681, page 151 (pictured at left).

Story: Shipwreck

Found , I think, in Robert E Coleman's The Heartbeat of Evangelism, NavPress, 1985,
ISBN-10: 0891094008.
An artist, seeking to depict on canvas the meaning of evangelism,painted a storm at sea.
Black clouds filled the sky. Illuminated by a flash of lightning, a little boat could be seen
disintegrating under the pounding of the ocean.  People were struggling in the swirling
waters, their anguished faces crying out for help.  The only glimmer of hope appeared in the
foreground of the painting, where a large rock protruded out of the water.  There, clutching
desperately with both hands, was one lone seaman. It was a moving scene.  Looking at the
painting, one could see in the tempest a symbol of humankind's hopeless condition.  And,
true to the Gospel, the only hope of salvation was "the Rock ofAges", a shelter in the time of
storm. But as the artist reflected upon his work, he realized that the painting did not
accurately portray his subject.  So he discarded the canvas, and painted another.  It was
very similar to the first:  the black clouds, the flashing lightning, the angry waters, the little
boat crushed by the pounding waves, and the crew vainly struggling in the water.  In the
foreground the seaman was clutching the large rock for salvation.  But the artist made one
change:  the survivor was holding on with only one hand, and with the other hand he was
reaching down to pull up a drowning friend. 


Poem and prayer: summoned and sent.
Found in Dad and Daughter by Ron Gordon and Jennie Gordon, 2012, ISBN 9780646586601, page 40 (pictured at left). These are based on the gospel reading.

Response Activity: The Lost Sheep
Found in Bringing the Word To Life Together: Year A by Andrew Collis and Dorothy McRae-McMahon, Mediacom, Adelaide, 2010, ISBN 9780949656919, page 106-7 (pictured at right). This is based on the Gospel reading .

Trinity Sunday A (June 11): Revenge versus Forgiveness/ Three in One

Bible readings: Genesis 1 1-2:4a, Psalm 8, 2 Corinthians 13:11-13, Matthew 28:16-20

About the images:
Upper Left: From
Upper Right: Trinity found at
Lower Left: This is an Imagebank free image - see my link column at left.

Lower Right: This is a free Heartlight image - see my link column at left.

Call to W
Ask everyone to go outside or bring something in which reminds them of God's creation to place on the communion table.

Listening Song: Creation Calls
By Brian Doerksen on the album, Light the Fire
(pictured at right). Illustrate this song with images from your own local area for greatest impact.

Film Clip: Antz
Show the clip at the very beginning straight after the credits and finish when Z says "I'm insignificant with attitude". (see below).  This clip includes the credits and a minute or so after Z's statement but it work best if you edit it to stop at his statement.

Discussion: on the film clip of Antz.
1. Why does Z feel insignificant?
2. In what sort of situations can we feel like this?
3. Matthe
w 28:19 says: "Go to the people of all nations and make them my disciples". What do you think of this verse? How does it make you feel?
4. What reassures you that this is not too big an ask of us ...or is it?

Kids story: The Blind Men and the Elephant
This old, old story makes a good lead in to a discussion on God, three in one, not only for children but for adults as well.

Drama: In the Beginning

Found in Let's Make a Scene Too by Verena Johnson, Lutheran Publishing House, 1991, ISBN 085910608X, Page 7 (pictured at right). This is based on the Genesis reading.

Trinity Illustration: Threesome
Found in When You Walk by Adrian Plass, The Bible Reading Fellowship, 1997, ISBN 0745935524, page 321 (pictured at left). This is a lovely analogy of the Trinity and I once used it as the basis of my service and sermon.  

Story: The Life Saving Station
Found in Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks by Wayne Rice, Youth Specialties Inc, 1994, ISBN 031040261, page 140 (pictured at right. This story is based on the
gospel reading.

Story: The Skier
Story 155
in 1500 Illustrations for Biblical Preaching by Michael P Green, Baker Books, 1989, ISBN 0801063302 (pictured at left). This illustration shows us the different ways the Holy Spirit can act in our lives.

Story: Through Thick and Thin

Found in Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks Book 4 by Wayne Rice, Zondervan, 2001, ISBN 0310236193, page 39 (pictured at right).

Story: Rivalry
Found as story No 226 in Your Point Being? by Graham H. Twelftree, Monarch, 2003, ISBN 1854245929. This story matches up well with the 2 Corinthians reading.

Prayer For Others: Circles
Found in Multi-sensory Prayer by Sue Wallace, Scripture Union, 2001, ISBN 1859994652, page 33. This goes quite well with the 1 Corinthians reading.

Response Activity:
I gave people a choice of three responses (see below). I used the words of 2 Corinthians 13:13, Matthew 28:19 and "Our God is complex, dynamic, relational, ever-reaching, ever seeking, ever creating, ever loving, and ever speaking" (William Willamon: Preaching Resources, Trinity Sunday, 2005) as the basis for all three responses. The choices were
1. Meditation: I used the words as a visual meditation with a powerpoint presentation and music by Moby from his album, Play. I used two tracks: "Inside" and "Guitar, Flute and String".
2. Discussion: I gave people the words on a handout and asked them to discuss the words.
3. Modelling: I gave people the words on a handout together with a small piece of self hardening clay and asked them to model a response to the words.

Response Activity: Relationships
Found in Bringing the Word to Life Together by Andrew Collis and Dorothy McRae-McMahon, MediaCom, 2010, ISBN 9780949656919, page 94. This response is based on the Corinthians reading. There are also some great sermon notes to be found here as well.

Reflect/Pray/Act: Psalm 8
You will find useful ideas for reflecting, praying, and acting which can be easily incorporated into a worshhip service on page 42 of Prayer: Heart of the Pilgrimage - Participants Book (part of the The Way of Pilgrmage series) by Jenny Youngman, Upper Room Books, 2007, ISBN 9780835898362.