Monday, 22 June 2009
Jesus Calms the Storm/Fathers Day
Yesterday I gave a sermon which combined the lectionary (Mark 4:35-end) with fathers day. I thought I might be pushing it but both were important and I think I managed to pull them together and pull it off. The feedback was really positive, clergy really liked it and so did the congregation (adults). Best of all the kids had fun and were moved by the physical experience and that means it will stay in their minds allowing the holy spirit to do it's work. So here it is in it's written form:
1. gospel reading and acting
Lay a huge blue ground sheet down the church aisle and ask the congregation what they think it repeesents. Get the kids to stand on the sheet as if in a boat. Adults hold the edges of the sheet and are in charge of the waves.
Read a rewrite of the gospel getting the waves to change as the story denotes.
"One day Jesus had been talking to a crowd of people all day near the Sea of Galilee. Jesus and his close friends, the disciples, decided that it had been a long day and that they where all really tired, so they got into a boat to sail to the other side of the lake.
Once in the boat, Jesus fell fast asleep from the rocking of the boat. He might even have been snoring.
It had been a good day and the sea was really still, the waves were gently beating against the side of the boat and the gentle breeze helped it move across the water.
All of a sudden the clouds turned grey, the wind grew stronger and the waves began to toss the boat about in the sea. A real storm was brewing.
The disciples became really frightened and feared they were going to drown. Jesus was still in the back of the boat, snoring his head off, fast asleep when his friends started to shout and tug at his clothes for him to wake up.
When Jesus woke up, he opened his eyes and sat up.
He looked all around him to see the commotion in the storm. He then stood up and to get things to calm down he said to the wind and the waves, 'Peace! Be still. Quiet. Be still.'
After the wind and the waves had calmed down, Jesus turned to the disciples and said, 'You did not need to be frightened of the storm. All you need to do is to trust me!'"
2. Then bring in the fact that today is Father's Day.
When we think about Fathers Day we think of our own dads and grandads; how they love us, guide us, make us laugh, look after us and rescue us when we need it. We thank God for the fathers in our lives and the precious gift that is fatherhood.
3. Remember that God is our father
Of course in this thanking of God, as in the Lord's Prayer opening "Our Father, who art in heaven…"; we are thanking the father of us all; God. The calming of the storm story shows that God, father to each of us, loves us, guides us and when we need it rescues us, even if only from our own fears.
So today we are joyful for the love of our fathers; those here with us, those gone before and the one father who we all share together.
God, who is both a Father and a Mother to us,
we thank you for your love to us from before we were born;
your guidance and protection as we have grown;
your wisdom and strength when we have sought to be parents to others.
We take time today to bring to mind our earthly fathers,
to give thanks to you for all that they have done for us,
all that they have been to us;
to thank you for the good times we have shared together and to thank you for bringing us through hard times together.
There are also those here for whom memories of their fathers are painful, or for whom there are no memories at all.
Heavenly Father, may we find in you a loving embrace that more than makes up for the inadequacies of our earthly fathers.
Gracious Lord, no human father is perfect and we who are fathers today confess our failings.
We pray that you will help us to love our children as you love us, giving generously with wisdom and forgiving freely with justice.
In the name of your Son, our brother Jesus, we pray.