Jun 15

4th Sunday after Pentecost [Ordinary 12B] (Year B)

1 Samuel 17:1a, 4-11, 19-23, 32-49
  • We may think that the story of David and Goliath is probably familiar to a lot of folks sitting in church on Sunday, but that (sadly) is not necessarily the case.  Adults who are new to the faith probably didn’t grow up hearing Bible stories, so they may not know this tale.  Likewise, not all children and/or youth have studied this story in their Sunday School classes – it all depends on what curriculum is used.
    • A friend of mine, Rev. John Vest, blogged this week about the need to read Bible stories to our kids.  It made me think of all of the various “Story Bibles” that are available.  My personal favorites are The Spark Story Bible, Read-Aloud Bible Stories (by Ella K. Lindvall), and My First Message.  Any/all of these make great gifts for parents and young children, and they are extremely useful in Sunday School classes (as well as Children’s Moments during worship)!
  • The Common English Bible is – once again – a great translation to use.  The Message is also great to use – Eugene Peterson’s style really helps the story come to life.
  • There is a lot of talk about oversized armor in this passage, so you may want to use armor in your worship display.  If you don’t have any body armor, helmets, and breastplates in your closet, they are actually a pretty good investment – you can use these in worship displays (on more than one occasion), as well as for costumes for a variety of church dramas.
  • The weapon of choice for our hero, David, was a rock sling – a simple, but effective weapon.  There are instructions for how to make your very own rock sling online – though, I would probably want to use leather or some sort of natural-fiber cord (not nylon, to which David wouldn’t have had any access).  You can even find instructions for how to make one on YouTube.  (If you make one, please send some pictures!)
  • David selected five smooth stones to have with him when he went to face Goliath.  What are the five “smooth stones” that you carry with you?
  • If you are pondering the “five smooth stones”, consider having small, smooth stones for people to take home with them.  You may want to have larger, river rocks used in your worship display.
  • A quick search for “Five Smooth Stones” will lead to a number of books that have that reference in the title.  I have read Five Smooth Stones for Pastoral Work (by Eugene Peterson), and I highly recommend it (and it is even available for Kindle).
Psalm 9:9-20
  • The Psalmist reminds us that God always remembers the faithful, the afflicted, and the poor.
  • God doesn’t set the traps – we do.  I have to wonder if God’s “judgment” is as simple as letting us be delivered into our own hands.
  • If you are preaching this text, you may be tempted to set up a variety of “traps” in the front of your worship space.  Of course, this could pose a rather serious safety issue, so you must make sure that you aren’t using anything that can cause serious harm, etc.  If there’s no way to set up things safely, I strongly suggest that you use/project pictures of traps (instead of using actual traps).
1 Samuel 17:57-18:5, 10-16
  • Have you ever loved someone as your own soul?
  • If you are preaching this text, you may want to include one or more of these “props” in your worship display: a robe, armor, a sword, a bow (as in, a bow and arrow), a belt, a lyre, or a spear.
Psalm 133
2 Corinthians 6:1-13
  • I love how easy to read (and easy to understand) this text is in The Message.  That said, what matters even more than which translation you use, is how quickly you read this passage.  Seriously, folks…please don’t rush the reading of this text from Paul.  If you take your time, it is a lot easier to listen to it (and not get lost in all the comparison phrases and whatnot).
  • What restrictions are there in our affections?  What might it look like if we were to truly “open wide our hearts also”?
  • Paul uses words and images that are quite dramatic.  If you project images on a screen or television during worship, consider images that illustrate each of the words Paul uses in this passage.  Projecting images while you are reading this text may help you to read it a bit more slowly, too.
Mark 4:35-41
  • If it is possible to have a wooden rowboat in your worship space, it would be a fantastic prop to use!  Depending on the size of the boat and/or the number of children you have in your worship service, you could have the kids sit in the boat during the Time With Children.
  • Are there times when we think that God/Jesus doesn’t care that we are “perishing”?  In those times, do we need to wake Jesus from his slumber, or do we need to wake up and remember that Jesus is in the same boat as us?
  • Why are we afraid?  Does it seem as though (or, is it actually the case that) we have no faith?

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