Children’s Church: I AM the light of the world

Activity: Blindfold a volunteer (sensible one). Give then face paints, or girls make up. Sit someone opposite who will have their face made up by the blindfolded child.

Give a min or two for creativity to take place, at the end of the time, give the victim (child with make up on face) a mirror and let the blindfolded child take the blindfold off.

They should both be horrified at the sight!

Give out baby wipes so that they can clean their faces.

Activity: Give all the children a piece of paper and a pen, get them to close their eyes (no cheating) and get them to draw something familiar (a house). See how well they’re able to do it without being able to see.

Talk: Explain that that when we are in the dark it’s not easy to see and most activities become really hard. Ask if any of them have ever gone out wearing something that looks bad because they got dressed in the dark and couldn’t see what they were doing? – But in the light we can see everything that looks wrong!

Story: Find a story from a children’s bible, maybe one of the healing stories of the blind man or using John 8.12

Activity: Divide the children into small groups and give each a piece of lining paper or they could do individual sheets. Ask them to draw a line across their paper to make 2 sides. On one side they should write “light” and on the other, “Dark”. Ask them to make 2 pictures – one about light and one about dark! They could put the things people do in the light and the dark as well as what things actually look like.

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Candlemas thought for the day

One of the churches in Bro Ardudwy have decided that we priests preach too long, and it makes their service too long. So we have agreed to cut them down a little. So here is part of the ‘Thought for the Day’ I gave them last Sunday.

I’ve always seen Candlemas (as well as the presentation, and the old tradition of blessing the candles) as one of those hinge points in our calendar, we are in a time were we are looking from the crib, to the cross. Lent and Easter will soon be upon us!

We are at the end of our Christmas season today and we hear in that great reading about Simeon, ‘a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for the glory to your people Israel’

Jesus, the light of the world.

Today is about light. About Jesus being the light in the world and our calling to be people of light…

We are the body of Christ in this world, we are called to shine light into darkness. We are called to make sure the world know that the light still shines.

Sometimes it may feel as if the hope of Israel – and our own hopes too – have been lost, extinguished by the harshness of the world we see around us, and the cruelty we see in the news each day…but the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has never put it out.

We are called to shine light into darkness. We are called to make sure the world know that the light still shines, but how can we do this, how do we shine?

Well…. I believe that whenever we choose hope and whenever we proclaim salvation we live as children of light. Whenever we live by the fruits of the spirit, love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control, we are lights. Whenever we opt for what is good and true, and when we show by our lives that we take seriously our commission and the commands of God, we, each one of us, acts as a candle.

A sermon for Epiphany – 1st Draft

Not the finished product, but its a start.

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Some of you – if you have a good memory – will remember this word – Ubuntu.

It can in part of a story I told about some children in Africa which I told last July, There was an anthropologist who was living and studying the tribe, their customs and behaviours, and as he was leaving he piled up all the sweets and goodies he had left and told the children they would have a race and the winner would get all the goodies, However, instead of all the children racing to the sweets, they all joined hands and went together, and shared out the goodies at the end.

The anthropologist was surprised and asked them why they all went together, when one could have had it all for themselves?

A girl replied, Ubuntu – how can one of us be happy when they others are sad?

How can one of us be happy when the others are sad?

Ubuntu us a term for that humanness, that caring, sharing part of our nature who wants to be in harmony with each other.

And it is a term I’ve been thinking about particularly over these first few days of the New Year.

We all start the New Year with the best intentions. Many make resolutions in the hope that we can make this new year better, fitter, richer, happier. Bit this year feels different from other New Years.

Living and being in such close communities, I don’t think a single one of us can feel unaffected by some of the things that have happened in this area of over these few short days.

Whether it is the loss of young life in a car crash, the effects of the storms what have made so many flee their homes and causing such destruction, the loss of the life washed up on Black Rock Sands, or those others who have lost jobs, and homes and businesses over this season. In community – when one is affected, we are all affected.

Ubuntu – how can one be happy when the others are sad?

For so many in our community, old and young alike – it will be hard for them to see the road ahead with any clarity or where to go next.

Where do you turn to when you feel lost and without direction?

Well…..

The Wise Men turned to the scriptures, for their answer, and the stars for their direction.

We don’t know much about the Magi, thse wise men, the three kings from the orient.

There may have been more than three, we don’t know exactly where exactly where they came from, or when exactly they visited Jesus.

But, in our case, I don’t think the details are important.

What is important is that they made that journey.

They saw the signs, left their familiar surroundings, to a place of uncertainty, and discovered something new and wonderful.

What they found literally changed the direction of their lives.

St Matthew puts it: “They returned home by another way”, The old way, the familiar path no longer worked, they needed a different path, a different way of going forward.

Epiphany is about discovering.

The star the sign they followed to find what they were searching for. The source of salvation.

Our readings are full of references to light.

“Rise up in splendour, Jerusalem” Isaiah cries out, “Your light has come. The glory of the Lord shines upon you.”

There, in those verses, is a sense of being saved, of relief, of deliverance and of hope.

The excitement of the magi comes through in our scriptures, and also I think a sense of relief. We are told: “They were overjoyed at seeing the star”.

For us today, this story is about making the journey – changing direction, going into the unknown, and finding something, or someone to rejoice about.

It’s about finding those signs which will lead us to what we are looking for. Finding them, trusting them and following them.

It’s about what happens to those who are searching and those who encounter Christ.

And whether we realise it or not, its about a kind of conversion.

          It’s about finding another way of walking the journey of life. A way that has been transformed by a sign, by a star, by a light, by Jesus Himself.

Next week we celebrate the baptism of Christ, and swiftly following that we will slip into Ordinary time, the season of Christmas a memory.

But before it does we are asked to do something first.

The season ask us to begin a journey.

To find a sign.

To follow the light.

And then like the wise men, to bring what we have, our gifts and share them – with God and with each other.

As we share in what our community is going through, we can bring our gifts and the spirit of Ubuntu with us.

It may be as simple as a smile to someone you meet in Fox’s or London House.

It might be a tissue – or a panad.

It might be a prayer and a lit candle.

It might be a helping hand with cleaning or repairs –

We are all called to journey personally with God and as a community, and to do that there are certain things we must do.

If you have not made a resolution yet, it is not too late, especially when there is so much need within our community. Use your gift, follow the sign and do what you can for yourself, or community, and the Lord who can to bring us light and salvation.

Amen.

http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/north-wales-floods-rooftop-rescue-6465775

http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/mans-body-found-blackrock-sands-6463716