Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Palm Sunday B (March 25)

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 (http://www.cruzblanca.org/hermanoleon) 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 http://www.broomevisitorcentre.com.au . Please feel free to use for worship and related activities.
Middle Left: This is a free image from Imagebank - see my links column at left
Middle Right: This is a free image from Heartlight - see my links column at left
Lower Left: This a free image from Scripturepics - a now defunct free web site.

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: https://youtu.be/-cxHvPAvzg4

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?

Kids: Dave the Donkey
by Andrew McDonough, Lost Sheep Resources, Unley, 2008 (pictured at left). Another absolutely brilliant book in this series. 

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 (pictured at left) . 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 (pictured at right).

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 ofpeace.org/palmcrosses/. 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. 

Story Plus Other Stuff: Roxsanne Makes Good
Found in Wally the Dodgy Trolley and other Stories of Faith and Humour by Ian Johnson, Scripture Union Australia, Lidcombe, 2000, ISBN 0949720984, page 37.

Lent 5 B (March 18): 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 (http://www.lightningridge.net.au/index.htm) 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 Heartlight.com
Lower Left: This is a free gospel illustration from Hermano Leon (see my link column at left). 

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 -www.biblegateway.com - 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 http://jmm.aaa.net.au/articles/4547.htm - 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.


Poem/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.