Jul 30

10th Sunday after Pentecost [Ordinary 18B] (Year B)

2 Samuel 11:26-12:13a
  • Continuing the narrative that we’ve been exploring for the last few weeks, we get to read about Nathan’s (and God’s) thoughts regarding David’s indiscretions.  To put it simply: God isn’t happy.
  • Nathan brings David to the point of confession through the use of a parable.  Are there stories/scriptures that “read us” as we read them?
  • In his telling the story of the rich man and the poor man, Nathan holds up a mirror to David and his behavior.  So… why not use a mirror (or two or three) in your worship display?  A variety of mirrors at different angles could help create a dramatic display that you could even interact with in the sermon or time with children.
Psalm 51:1-12
  • This Psalm was also part of the lectionary readings for Ash Wednesday (Year B), so you may want to check out the suggestions that I offered then.  Even though several of the ideas are “specific” to Ash Wednesday, many/most can be adapted for use this Sunday.
  • If you do not already have a large bowl/basin and a pitcher for water (perhaps to use for baptisms or foot washings), I urge you to get one of each.  Summer is a great time to find heavy-duty plastic bowls and pitchers that look like glass (but are a lot easier to lift), as well as ceramic sets with interesting designs (water-like swirls, etc) — and if you play your cards right, you can probably find them on sale.
  • Items for your worship display: basin/bowl of water, pitcher (of water), towels, and hyssop (or ezov).
Ephesians 4:1-16
  • These words from Paul should cut us to the core – since we may (I hope) strive for these things, but we don’t always “lead a life worthy of the calling”.
  • Paul says that “each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift.”  Have you ever stopped to think about “the measure of Christ’s gift”?  I mean, just what is the measure of unconditional love, complete forgiveness, and eternal life?  And then we get another gift — grace — according to the measure of that?  Wow.
  • It is interesting to hear Paul belittle the ways of children, when Jesus is constantly lifting them up as the example we should follow (faith like a child).  But, it is important to recognize the difference between being “child-like” and “childish”.
  • Preaching on the “building up” of the body of Christ?  You may want to include/involve building blocks in your worship display.  You could even “label” the blocks with the many gifts that are named in this passage.
  • The word “ONE” is repeated several times in this passage, so you may be drawn to those phrases as a sermon focus.  If so, you may want to use cardboard or wooden letters to spell “ONE” and have it displayed in the front of the worship space.  You can find cut-out letters at most craft stores – and most can be painted or decorated in a wide variety of ways.
  • The last sentence of this passage speaks of our being “knit together”, so you may want to use knitting supplies in your worship display.  If your congregation has a knitting ministry (prayer shawls, etc), then you could consider dedicating those materials for that use (or commissioning the people who participate in that ministry, or recognizing the ministry in another special way).
John 6:24-35
  • Why do we seek the Christ?  Are we looking for signs?  Are we looking for an “easy fix” to our problems (hungers, etc)?
  • Jesus says (in regards to the Son of Man / himself) that “God…has set his seal”.  While there are some folks who will understand what that means (what a “seal” is in this context), there are likely a lot of folks who won’t have a clue.  You could use the children’s moment to talk about the use of wax or clay seals.  You can find materials to use to demonstrate at most craft stores or specialty stationary (paper) stores.
  • Once again, Jesus refers to himself in terms of bread.  So…bread is an obvious choice for your worship display (especially if you are preaching on the second half of this passage).

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