Had fun putting this together with Annette for Sunday September 17. Annette is a great story teller and memorized paraphrases for both the Proverbs 1 and Mark 8 readings. She did “Wisdom callin on the streets” as a call to worship. We all walked out into the public square in Chinatown and she stood on a rock and went for it….stunning stuff! We then returned indoors for the gospel reading and people spent 20 mins or so interacting with the content through worship stations…
Seeds: Year B, Proper 19, Worship Stations:
“Peter’s Confession and Wisdom’s Call”
The Body and Blood of Christ
“Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.”
We often see God as all powerful but central to Jesus understanding of what it means to be a Messianic saviour is a vision of a God who is made vulnerable for the sake of love. Consider vulnerability (God’s and your own) as you partake in the Lords Supper.
At Seeds we use water for our cup to identify with our land, our history, those imprisoned and Christ’s offer to be the “living water” by which we would thirst no more. Jesus said “This is my lifeblood poured out for you.” “This is my body broken for you. Eat, Drink and Remember me…”
Wisdom Calling in the Streets
“Wisdom cries out in the street….”
Spend some time sitting in Chinatown. Be aware of your senses, notice people moving about, images, dynamics etc. Now re-read the words of Wisdom from Proverbs how do these words shape the way you observe the city? Do they affirm or create dissonance in the way you discern?
Wisdom as Sophia
“…in the squares she raises her voice.”
Among many cultural images that early Christians used to interpret Jesus was the biblical wisdom tradition with its central figure, Hokmah, Sophia, Holy Wisdom herself, a female figure of power and compassion.
The biblical picture of Sophia is a composite one, formed of differing presentations in Job and Proverbs, and in non-canonical books such as Sirach, Baruch, The Wisdom of Solomon and Enoch. Portrayed as sister, mother, bride, hostess, female beloved, woman prophet, teacher and friend, but above all as divine creating and redeeming Spirit, Sophia’s portrait has its roots in the Great Goddess of the ancient Near Eastern world.
Scholarly debate on how to interpret this figure, this icon, abounds, not least because various biblical books depict her in differing ways. What did this mean for Christ and his followers? What might it mean for us today to see God in this way? Consider the images on the Prayer Pyramid. What feminine cultural image might best represent God as Wisdom today? Which one most connects with you and why? Write a prayer on the pyramid or add your own image.
(source: Elizabeth A. Johnson)
Broken Pieces Jigsaw
“You’ll be looking up at rock bottom, with the broken pieces of your life falling through your fingers.”
Spend some time putting the jigsaw together. Consider the ways in which a failure to hear the call of Wisdom has led to fragmentation in your life or in our world. Take a fragment with you or place it in the sand tray as a prayer.
Who do you say I am? : Gospel of Vic and Aussie Icons
And they said to him, “Some are saying, “John the Baptist”, others “an ancient
Dreamtime warrior”, and others “one of the fair dinkum Aussie icons…”
Inspired by re-writes like Clarence Jordan’s Cotton Patch Gospels, The Gospel of Vic version of Mark’s Gospel was written by Urban Seed Central House residents in 1999 as a way of reflecting upon what the Word meant for them during their moment of living and serving in the city, the centre of our culture. Read the passage from the Gospel of Vic and consider our own “icons” and their way in the world. How is it similar or different to the way of Jesus?
This station also linked to “Celebrity! Exposing Robin Sellick” in the Atrium at Crown from Monday 7 August until Sunday 17 September 2006. It features more than 60 brand new portraits of prominent Australians captured by Robin both here and overseas over the last twelve months. The exhibition looks at the essence of the people that define our culture and values.
”I wanted to explore what it is to be Australian and these celebrities symbolise who we are culturally, they are the people whose voices we hear on the radio, we read about in books, play on our sports fields and define our foreign policy,” he said. “At a time when people can be labelled a celebrity by simply appearing on a television show, it’s important to recognise people whose efforts are collectively creating and influencing Australian Culture”
He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.”
Peter, the name given by Jesus to Simon means Rock. It can be seen as both a positive or negative image; a symbol of strength of faith or of stubbornness and lack of flexibility. In this passage Peter makes a bold confession of Jesus as “Christ” but stubbornly refuses to accept his definition of what this will entail. In the gospel stories Peter is always the strongest, bravest disciple but often the one who fails most boldly. In the end however his stubbornness leads him “where he does not want to go”, to his own martyrdom. Peter’s faith—halting, unsteady, and weak, but never giving up—is ours
How might being rock-like be both a strength and weakness for you? Choose a rock and hold it as a prayer for strength.
What is it in your life that you need to hold on to with fierce determination? Keep the rock with you or place it in the prayer sand tray as a prayer. OR What ideas or situations are you, like Peter, stubbornly refusing to let go of that you need to. Drop the rock and walk away.
In church history, especially Protestant tradition, it is recognized that there are extraordinary times when the church’s very identity is imperiled. If its confession is not made unequivocally clear, nothing less than the meaning of the gospel within the church and before the world is at risk. This special time, a status confessionis, is brought on by a historical crisis within the church or without. To discern and name the crisis is incumbent on the community of faith, and to distinguish, clearly as it possibly can, between truth and error, even between life and death. (Bill Wylie Kellerman)
Read some of the quotes and consider various status confessionis moments in history. What might be the confessional issues for our world or for yourself today? (Quotes included Boenhoeffer, Barth, Tutu, MLK, Stringfellow etc. from various historical moments.)
Taking up your cross
“I don’t think we Christians have understood what carrying the cross means: the path of baptism. We are not carrying the cross when we are poor or sick, or suffering small everyday things. They are all part of life. The cross comes when we try to change things. That is how it came for Jesus.” Miguel D’Escoto of Nicaragua
Consider some of the situations in which you have heard the phrases “bearing your cross” or “the cross you have to bear” used.
Why were they or were they not good examples of what Jesus was talking about?
What have been some of the more difficult consequences of your choice to follow Jesus?
What is challenging and/or daunting about the current choices you are faced with?
Quotes about Losing / Finding Life and Denial of self
Losing one’s life is the way to find it! This is not abandonment of self care, but abandonment of preoccupation with building and maintaining a self at the expense of others.
The idea of renouncing self has led to oppression within the church particularly men over women, The “self” talked of here is the self that resists the invitation to inclusivity; refuses reconciliation, the practice of saving justice, and God’s invitation to recreate the world (Psalm 19:4). (Peter B Price)
Denying yourself means relinquishing the right to determine which issues you’ll stand with Jesus on and which issues you’ll keep quiet about. Denying yourself means that every time the way of Jesus comes into conflict with the ways of the world around you, you will not make the decision on the basis of what is best for you, you will simply follow Jesus, taking up your cross and copping the consequences. (Nathan Nettleton)
Wisdom cries out in the street; in the squares she raises her voice. At the busiest corner she cries out; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks: “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge?
Give heed to my reproof; I will pour out my thoughts to you; I will make my words known to you. Because I have called and you refused, have stretched out my hand and no one heeded, and because you have ignored all my counsel and would have none of my reproof, I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when panic strikes you, when panic strikes you like a storm, and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you. Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently, but will not find me. Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD, would have none of my counsel, and despised all my reproof, therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way and be sated with their own devices. For waywardness kills the simple, and the complacency of fools destroys them; but those who listen to me will be secure and will live at ease, without dread of disaster.”
Annette actually told the story using Nathan Nettletons modern paraphrase at laughingbird.net
Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And they answered him, “John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.” And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him. Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
Gospel of Vic version
And Jesus and his disciples went out to Chapel
Street, South Yarra. And on the way he was asking
his disciples, saying to them, Who are the media
painting me as? 28 And they said to him, Some
are saying, John the Baptist, others an ancient
Dreamtime warrior, and others one of the fair
dinkum Aussie icons from the 30s and 40s. 29
And he was asking them, But you, who are you
saying I am? Peter answered and says to him, You
are the Christ. 30 And he put them under oath not
to say anything about him. 31 And he began to
teach them that the Human One must suffer many
things, be rejected by the media, politicians and
business consultants and be killed and after three
days rise again. 32 And he is speaking the word
openly. And Peter took him by the arm and began to
rebuke him. 33 But, turning and seeing his discipleship
community, he rebuked Peter and says, Get
behind me Satan because you are not thinking the
things of God, but the things of humans!
And summoning the disgruntled electorate with his
discipleship community, he said to them, If anyone
wants to come after me, let them deny themselves,
take up personal and political suicide and follow me.
35 For whoever is seeking to save their life will lose
it; but whoever loses their life for my sake, and the
news of the successful takeover, will save it.
36 For what does it profit a person to dominate the
global economy yet sell out their life? 37 For what
will a person give in exchange for their life? 38 For
whoever is ashamed of me and my words in this
wicked and adulterous generation, the Human One
will also be ashamed of them when he comes in the
glory of his Father with the spirits of the ancient
dreaming. (Gospel of Vic, Marcus Curnow, 1999)