Tuesday, April 26, 2016

childrens talk: with explosives

Needing a children’s talk for Sunday, I asked Presbyterian Archives if they had anything on the church I was preaching at (Knox Presbyterian, Dunedin). They produced a catalogue, which at 35 pages, indicated a rich history. Scanning through, an entry on page 34 caught my eye.


Explosives. I asked for more and they produced a family album and information regarding a Professor Black, who in the 1880’s, gave a lecture on explosives, with numerous experiments. Here is the children’s talk that resulted:


Posted by steve at 02:45 PM

Thursday, April 17, 2014

why God matters Easter camp

I’m off to Robe for Easter weekend, to speak at an Easter youth camp. I work with adults most of the time, so I’ve particularly enjoyed the invitation, over the last few weeks to be thinking about Why God Matters at Easter from a youth perspective.

After much toing and froing, I’m using the events of Easter as a frame –

  • Why God matters Easter Thursday?
  • Why God matters Easter Friday?
  • Why God matters Easter Sunday?
  • Why God matters Easter Monday?

It will enable me to pick up different dimensions of God – in suffering, in love, in life, in mission. I will be using a range of pop culture resources, including REM, Massive Attack and the movie Vantage Point. I’ll also be using some tactile engagement. We’re going to make our own cups of suffering. Plus I’ve got my colouring Holy Week creative project I’ve been working on all week to show them.

I’m excited and nervous. In the move from Pastor to Principal, I’ve really missed talking about Jesus at Easter and I’ve loved going back through my archives, thinking about what might connect in this context. Equally, I have a fairly demanding job, so my body would love a break. Will that happen on Easter Camp at Robe I wonder? Finally, am I too old and old-fashioned to connect with young people?

Time well tell 🙂

Posted by steve at 12:42 PM

Friday, March 25, 2005

the Friday of Easter week

On the Friday of Easter Week, in the easter egg the colour is black. We break a black (painted) piece of polystrene, to find inside a red heart. Easter Friday is the saddest day, a day of darkness.


We will gather around and wrap the cross. We will sprinkle our rose petals. We will express love for a heart of love, broken for us.

Note re atonement: I have really struggled to include the more cosmic and wholistic dimensions of the atonement at this point. God died for the whole world, for the integration of people and planet. A red heart speaks of God’s love for individuals. There are hints of relational connectedness, as Christ restored relationships on the saddest day, so we are offered hearts of love which include restored relationships. But the central metaphor remains individual, and I have struck a creative brick wall.

Posted by steve at 04:02 PM

Thursday, March 24, 2005

the thursday of easter week

On the Thursday of Easter week, in the Easter evangeegg, the colour is blue. Often we talk about having a blue day, a sad day.


Wrapped inside blue cellophane in the Easter evangeegg is a lolly, sweet on the outside, sour on the inside. On Thursday Jesus disciples said sweet things, but by nights end, their actions left a sour taste. Sucking the lolly becomes a reflection on what walking with Jesus means for us this Easter week.

Note re interactivity: By this stage in this Easter evangeegg, people have used taste, touch, smell, sight and sound. We are made whole people, in the image of God, and so an ideal is that worship is multi-sensory. When I first came across the alt.worship movement, I marvelled at their video loops. Over time, I have tried to use technology less, and everday tactile objects more. It takes less time, it beds God in a different part of everyday life and it often opens up more senses.

A few weeks ago their was a surprise at church. The service was “hi-jacked” and the congregation took time to celebrate my being at the church a year, and to express thanks for all the change. There was space for people to share and a common theme was people talking about how interactive tactile symbols – sheep, flowering the cross – had been vehicles of help and inspiration.

Posted by steve at 05:35 PM

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

the wednesday of easter

On the Wednesday of Easter week, in the Easter evangeegg, the colour is purple. Purple is the colour of royalty and inside the Easter evangeegg, a purple coloured card is perfumed.


Today at our 7 pm service, we will reflect on perfume, the act of expensive love, as what was likely a family hierloom was poured onto Jesus head. This costly act of love invites us to reflect on how we are loving Jesus this week of Easter.

Note re colour: It was Olive Drane who helped me find colour in ministry. We sent her some of our Pentecost Spirit cards (for examples see here and for explanation of the missional context go here and read the side-bar, titled Practicalities at the bottom). Olive and John had a worshipping group who met at their place. They showed them the cards and one woman was stopped dead by the colour red used in one of the cards. Colour alone evoked powerful connections.

This week my 5 year old is navigating the Easter evangeegg by colour – today is …..

Posted by steve at 10:36 AM

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

tuesday of easter week

On the Tuesday of Easter Week, in the postmodern evangeegg, the colour is brown. Why brown? Because during Easter week, Jesus announced that unless a seed falls into the ground and dies, it can not produce many seeds.


Today, at our 7 pm service, we break open a brown (painted) piece of polystrene. Inside is a seed, which we plant in the earth. And we reflect, as we walk with Jesus toward Easter … What needs to die in our lives this week? What needs to planted in our lives this week?

Note re environment: This is a very organic image. It reminds us that what Jesus did at Easter, the atonement, is more than Jesus dying for individual sin. Jesus journey connects us with our environment, with the cycles of birth and death. As we feel soil and seed tonight, we are earthing ourselves with God the Creator, and Jesus the Re-Creator, dying for planet as well as people.

Posted by steve at 02:53 PM

Monday, March 21, 2005

the monday of easter week

Today, the Monday of Easter, in the postmodern evangeegg, the colour is red. Inside a folded red card is a coin. Why red? Because on Monday (in Mark’s gospel), Jesus got angry, red-faced, and trashed the money changers in the temple.

Today, at our 7 pm service, we lay down a coin, as a prayer, that as we too walk with Jesus toward Easter, we will walk with a similar passion for speaking and acting with justice.

Note re Maggi: Maggi Dawn reminds us that historically, traditionally, this week is Holy Week, not Easter Week. My problem is that in New Zealand, a cultural memory of “holy week” is absent. I can either use the term “holy week” and know that it does not connect, or I can use a term followed by an explaination of the term, which makes publicity more clunky.

Or I can make what I think is a logical connection in the minds of the public – that this is the week of Easter ie “Easter Week.” It’s an interesting issue — when does a church surrender what is potentially out-dated in the task of trying to communicate?

Posted by steve at 04:11 PM

Sunday, March 20, 2005

postmodern evangeegg?

Part of our commitment to being an inter-generational community at Opawa is “Take a Kid to” services, in which we all, adult and children, explore the Jesus story. We had over 190 people in attendance, including 50 kids, a good number from the community. At the risk of being called a postmodern Ned Flanders, by the tallskinnykiwi, as part of our walk to Easter, I unveiled this today.


Inside each “egg” is something to open, break, suck, for each day of Holy week. I’ll post about each one as we go through Holy Week. Our kids got the “egg” after the service and are invited to open it each day of Holy Week, sharing the story with their families.


So why, tallskinny, might I not be more cheesy than Ned Flanders?

1. This is designed to let people enter the story, for families to sit together and tell the Jesus story. I know a church that did something similar, but all the activities were focused on inviting people to church. This is the opposite. It invites families to enter the story amid the fabric of their own lives.

2. It is tactile and experiential – there are things to break and suck and smell.

3. It is integral to the life of our community. We are having a short service each day of Holy Week that takes the same symbols and the same readings. Together, we walk the Scriptures with Jesus.

4. Help me ….

Updated note re evangelism: I like the distributed nature of the postmodern evangeegg. An egg has gone for use in a school class in Auckland, for a school class in Christchurch, and to give to a family of migrants in the community.

Posted by steve at 04:28 PM