To mark the 400th Anniversary of the Authorised Version we are marking this year as the Year of the Bible. At this morning's service we welcomed Brownies, Guides, Beavers, Cubs and Scouts and gave a special welcome to Ede Hollyhead, Assistant County Commissioner for Guides, as we joined with Rachel Jacques and Diana Adams in celebrating more than 80 years of service to Guiding between them!
Something instrumental from Delirious Deeper
Call to worship
Song of worship – Jesus is Lord
Prayer &Lord’s prayer
Call to worship repeated in NT Greek (or Hebrew, etc)
Talk about how that is how the stories and words of the Bible were originally shared, not written down but spoken. We are going to be thinking about the Bible today and create our own Bible using this piece of string. Sadly all we have at the moment is this piece of string, what do we need to make this into a Bible.
We need some Books
Get different members to find the books hidden on the windowsills, etc and work out where to peg them on the string
So we have all our books but what do you find in books, they’re not usually empty are they? We normally find words in our books. Do we have any English speakers in the congregation who would read something for us?
Get different people to read the same passage from different translations, e.g. The Street, The Message, NIV, King James version, maybe even include a picture of The Manga Bible (explain a bit about the Manga Bible).
Jesus is Lord in different languages
You can even get Bibles on tapes and CD’s, we have a set here at church called “Faith comes by Hearing”
Now that was great, it really showed how the Bible can share different things from just one passage and it can really relate to our lives because it uses words that maybe we will be able to understand, so even if there is a Bible that you struggle to understand, all is not lost, there is a translation out there for you.
But hold on, I understood those ones because I speak English, but what if I went to Berlin and the people I met didn’t speak English so couldn’t read the Bible for themselves, what could we do then. Well, thankfully the Bible has been written in over 2000 languages, with many more partial translations. Lets add the verse that we heard to the string and the pictures from the Manga Bible.
Worship song, kids one, Father Abraham
Now one of the translations the Bible is called The DramatisedBible. This Bible provides a way of reading the stories in a different way. It lets the stories come alive in exciting ways.
We are going to have a reading from the dramatized Bible now.
Dramatised reading(from dramatized Bible), from cubs, beavers, etc?
The story tells of the way Ezra shared a reading of 'the Law' from the Bible to all the people when God's people returned to Jerusalem.
By the seventh month the people of Israel were all settled in their towns. On the first day of that month they all assembled in Jerusalem, in the square just inside the Water Gate. They asked Ezra, the priest and scholar of the Law which the Lord had given Israel through Moses, to get the book of the Law.
So Ezra brought it to the place where the people had gathered — men, women, and the children who were old enough to understand. There in the square by the gate he read the Law to them from dawn until noon, and they all listened attentively.
(During this next section wait for everyone in church to do or say what is described)
Ezra was standing on a wooden platform that had been built for the occasion. Six men stood at his right, and seven stood at his left. As Ezra stood there on the platform high above the people, they all kept their eyes fixed on him. As soon as he opened the book, they all stood up. Ezra said,
“Praise the Lord, the great God!”
All the people raised their arms in the air and answered,
They knelt in worship, with their faces to the ground.
Then they rose and stood in their places, and the Levites explained the Law to them: They read God's Law and then translated it, explaining it so that the people could understand it.
God’s Law was written in Hebrew, but in Babylonia the Jews had adopted Aramaic as the language for daily life, so they needed a translation from the Hebrew to understand it
When the people heard what the Law required, they were so moved that they began to cry. So Nehemiah, who was the governor; Ezra, the priest and scholar of the Law, and the Levites who were explaining the Law told all the people,
“This day is holy to the Lord your God, so you are not to mourn or cry.”
Now go home and have a feast. Share your food and wine with those who haven't enough. Today is holy to our Lord, so don't be sad. The joy that the Lord gives you will make you strong.”
The Levites went about calming the people and telling them not to be sad on such a holy day. So all the people went home and ate and drank joyfully and shared what they had with others, because they understood what had been read to them.
Well, let us add that reading to the string.
So we have our books and we have our words. But when you think about your favourite books, Bible or otherwise they all have something in common and that reading talked about some of them. What do you think this might be?
(get the congregation to shout out some things)
Well, it is characters or people and sometimes animals, depending on the book of the Bible. So we need to add some of those to the string. Which people from the Bible can you remember, what about some people from the old testament? And from the new?
So the Bible isn’t just about words and books but it is about real people and the lives they led. The Bible doesn’t just share things we need to remember or learn from but it also shows us others who have followed God, people who might have struggled and people who lived lives that can offer us an example of how to live or even just stories to inspire us and show us how wonderfully God has created people for thousands of years.
Worship – Tell me the stories of Jesus?
Well, our string is getting quite busy here. But that worship song gave us another hint of something that is missing from our string. We’ve focused on the books, the language and the characters. Those are all great things but great books and the Bible is fully on many great books need something extra. Something that stops it being a cookery book or a maths textbook and makes it into something that can and does change lives. Any ideas?
The Bible, whatever language it is in or even when it is in graphic novel form, has stories and themes. Some of the stories are simple and some are more complicated and have lots of meaning . Some themes just last for one book or even sentence of the Bible and some go into lots of books. During the offering (?) you will see that some of the Bibles in the chairs have a square of paper in them, what I would like is for you to draw a picture of your favourite Bible story then I shall ask you to come and peg it up in the right place, and if you want you can tell us the Bible story you have chosen and why. Don’t worry, we’re here to help.
Offering and Dedication
The people talk about the stories they have chosen as they are pegged up.
So as you can see we have built up a great picture of the Bible. And as I mentioned before the Bible has themes running through it. There are things that God didn’t just share with one person but kept on sharing with people throughout the Bible, Old and New Testament. One example of this is his Covenant. His promise to his people was shared with Abraham, but he also made promises to Noah, to some of the prophets, and then he fulfilled his covenant with the coming of Jesus. Showing that it had been part of his plan. So we can put the word covenant here, here and here.
(peg to string)
Now can anyone else think of themes from the Bible, maybe the stories gave you an idea of some of the themes?
(peg up some words on themes, e.g. animals, children, suffering, love, prayer, death, miraculous, character, fighting, slavery, God’s message, etc)
Ask anyone else if they know of any themes or if some of the themes mentioned called also go somewhere else?
(finish pegging, etc)
Now, we have only done an hours work on putting the Bible together, it has taken many years more than that to create. In fact there is a youtube video where two people have tried to reduce the Bible into 1 minute but as you are about to see it is impossible.
Bible in one minute video clip
It is impossible because the Bible is so big, not just big and heavy like this one but is full of so much. Stories, themes, people, words. Real lives that have been lived, millions and millions of lives are mentioned in this, some are just given a word or a sentence and some have whole books about them. The Bible is so big it can be hard to think where to start reading or even how to start reading but it is possible to read it because it is in a language we can understand. It has been done in a way we can relate to and many of the situations of the people in the Bible are like situations we may face. I have never been in a lion’s den like Daniel but I have had to face difficult people, places where people don’t like what I do or times when I’m not sure if God is with me. I haven’t seen my best friend be nailed to a cross but I have known times where I have felt scared by things I can’t control, I have felt sadness when someone has died and confusion to what God’s plans are for me. The Bible can be a huge part of our lives, not just something that we use as a safety net or a great book end but something that can help us through our lives and offer us so much wisdom and comfort.
Let us now share in worship together.
Prayers involving the themes
So every book has a beginning, a middle and an end, like our service has had. With many books we might read it and it will make a difference to our thoughts for a while or give us a bit of information to share with others. Some books we pick up, enjoy and then forget about straight away. But the Bible isn’t like that, it isn’t just some words and people from thousands of years ago in a book, it is something that can change our lives, affect the way we treat people, the decisions we make, the things we do. In fact the Bible is alive in the lives of the people who read and hear it.
Because of this we are finishing our service in celebration of people who have done things in service of to God, changed by the words that are part of their lives. The Bible is a living book.
(get some uniformed organisation kids to stand around the people we are celebrating with the Bible string in their hands, while prayers are said for those we are awarding – maybe bring in a bit about words, people, stories and themes to do a quick sum up)
So let us take the Bible out in to the world and share all these words, people and stories with those who don’t know how alive it is.
(Parade out, those without the flags take a bit of the string and parade out with the Bible on a string with the song All Day by Hillsong United)
Order of service:
Call to worship
Song - Jesus is Lord
Prayer &Lord’s prayer
From the beginning
Song – Father Abraham
Reading – Nehemiah 8:1-12
Who are they?
Song – Tell Me The Stories of Jesus
Offering and dedication
Building it Up
Worship – All I Once Held Dear& a rousing worship song
Building Us Up