Monday, July 21, 2014

'A Bus Called Heaven' Merewether 20.7.14

Here's what we experienced at Merewether UCA on Sunday morning... drawing from the Parables in Matthew and Luke and using the story "A Bus called Heaven" by award winner Bob Graham

“Abandoned. The bus appeared one morning from a sea of traffic –
right outside Stella’s house, where no bus should be.
Tired, old and sick, it had a hand painted sign on it, held down with packing tape.
The sign said, “Heaven”

I’m Rob Hanks,
the Uniting Church Youth Ministry Development Worker in the Hunter…
Visiting with you today!! And offering a total experiment in what we will do together!!

Welcome to worship this morning as we explore this story,
A story about ‘Heaven’…
Not so much heaven after our lives are over, but ‘Heaven’ here and now…
Call it, a world living the way God hopes we would live…
Call it, a community of people sharing God’s love,
Call it, an old bus that appeared on the street one morning and what happened to it
How it became a hub for community, for intergenerational activity,
a space for relationship and celebration…

TODAY in worship we are talking about ‘the Kingdom’… neatly explored in…
SONG “About the Kingdom” + percussion NCYC RED mp3
Written by David Evans from New Lambton Uniting

PRAYER ‘A Sky Full of Stars’ 4min 14 Newtown clip
Prayer Activity writing words, ideas, pictures on the cut out clothes, clipping them to the clothesline
While soundtrack plays… [clothesline, clips, black textas and paper clipart]

The Bus is found and explored

READING #1 Luke 17: 20-21 NRSV or The Message

The Bus is cleaned and decorated

READING #2 Matthew 13: 31-33 NRSV or The Message

SONG “This Little Light of Mine” adapted lyrics + percussion

VIDEO ‘Worlds Fastest Indian’ clip 2min 20
I tossed up between this and Holy Moly "Mustard Seed" video
It would have been better without either...
I chose it to take the adults present, elsewhere in the story, it was a distraction...

REFLECTION and DECORATION lead in to activity/unpack the Scripture parables
Unpacking the parables, the K of H in the here and now
Decorating the BUS as Heaven now and God’s values
Textas on corflute/frame

   Burt Munro had a crazy dream of attempting the land speed record with an ‘Indian’ motorcycle on the Salt Flats in the United States.

   For me Heaven here and now is what happens when a community with a shared story, get behind some kind of action to change and even those who most thought Burt was crazy, got behind him. They saw and respected the way Burt was so convinced of the possibilities.

-        So it is with those who left their day to day lives to follow Jesus
-        So it is with those who heard Jesus stories
-        That hope says if you have the belief of a small seed you might be able to grow a huge tree for shade and to create a community space
[or if some scholars are right, some annoying mustard shrubs whose values and way of life give hope to everyone around them] a bit more like an old broken down bus
-        This K of H is looking for the work of God’s Spirit, hidden like yeast in bread making… that’s either the unseen action or the problem of yeast

-        A world lived how God would hope is like something of great value to the one who needs to hear about it, knows it or sees it, the most…
-        AND it’s about offering love, not judgement, grace, not condemning
-        It’s also the crazy idea that this all comes best from the very edges of the community
-        Like the RATZ painting the bus, like the strange variety of people who found a ‘place’ on the Bus called Heaven

The Kingdom of Heaven is like a community of the people of God who know their need for connection, who seek to share the love and who try to recognise the dangerous and liberating memory and presence of Jesus, when they see it in the most unlikely people and places…

What is Heaven Like

Reading #3 Matthew 13: 44 - 50   NRSV or The Message

Prayers for People/Prayers for the World
Using photos and people’s own thoughts… in groups

The story unfolds

SONG + OFFERING TIS 473 ‘Community of Christ’

Sending Out

The clipart paper clothes prayers and the decorated bus were left behind to feature in the hall space next Tuesday at Merewether's 'Community Meal' where anyone is welcome to volunteer in set up, cooking, serving, meal time conversation & washing up or pack up!! Tuesdays from 6pm!!

READING #1 Luke 17: 20-21 NRSV or The Message
20 Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, “The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; 21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you.”

Matthew 13 NRSV or the Message
The Parable of the Mustard Seed
31 He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; 32 it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

The Parable of the Yeast
33 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with[d] three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”

Matthew 13 NRSV or The Message
Three Parables
44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; 46 on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.

47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; 48 when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. 49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50 and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

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