Prior to the service, contact church school classes and people in the congregation to create pictures or art pieces illustrating the Creation Prayer (see below).
Explain that this is an intergenerational service. There will be movement, periods of noise and participation.
Welcome to vibrant, participatory worship!
Participants with artwork illustrating the prayer should be prepared to hold up their pieces during the applicable pause in the prayer. The rest of the congregation can provide sound effects and/or hand motions for the prayer.
We have so many things to be thankful for. God is our creator and has made a wonderful world for us, full of surprises and wonders. Let’s read the prayer together, pausing after each section to view our artwork.
Have the prayer written on a flip chart or in the bulletin for all to read aloud.
Dear God, creator of every wonder in the world,
Thank you for rain and sunshine, (pause)
Sand and seas, (pause)
Fish and frogs, (pause)
Flowers and trees. (pause)
Thank you for the birds that sing. (pause)
Thanks for making everything! Amen.
“Now Sing to Our God” CCS 108
“Help Us Express Your Love” CCS 621
Scripture: Doctrine and Covenants 161:2a–b
Reader 1: Become a people of the Temple—
Reader 2: those who see violence but proclaim peace,
Reader 3: who feel conflict yet extend the hand of reconciliation,
Reader 4: who encounter broken spirits and find pathways for healing.
Reader 5: Fulfill the purposes of the Temple by making its ministries manifest in your hearts.
Theme Introduction: “Witnessing People”
The Neighbor Game
Chairs need to be arranged in two circles an inner circle and an outer circle. Partners will be seated facing each other with no empty chairs in the circle.
In this game you will meet new neighbors. There is only one rule: Everybody deserves to be listened to and to be accepted. Either you will move or your neighbor will move, just like real life. Sometimes you will leave people behind or be left behind when you don’t want to lose that connection. Sometimes you will be forced to relate to people you don’t know or don’t like just like your own neighborhood. For the brief or long time you may have them as neighbors, you will be sharing time and space. Sometimes both of you will share, sometimes only one, or perhaps no one will talk. You may not always have opportunity to finish a conversation. That’s life!
Step 1. Take a moment to introduce yourself to your partner. After a few moments the moderator explains that it’s time to move on. You have a new job and must change cities. The moderator gives instructions for the inner circle to move two seats to the left so that everyone has a new partner.
Step 2 Get acquainted with your new neighbor and tell about the best thing that happened to you yesterday. After a few moments the moderator explains that your neighbor has been transferred. They have sold their house and moved on. The moderator has the outer circle move five seats to the left.
Step 3. Tell your new neighbor about a move you’ve made and what it was like for you. After a few minutes, the moderator tells participants that the school year is over and you’ll be moving to a new class. The moderator instructs the inner circle to move three seats to the left.
Step 4. Tell your neighbor something about yourself that they don’t already know. Be truthful! After a few minutes, the moderator tells participants, “You’ve been sitting in the waiting room for an appointment with the dentist. They’ve just called your name.” The moderator has the outer circle move one seat to the right.
Step 5. Tell your neighbor, if someone other than God could have heard you pray today, what would they hear that’s really important to you? After a few minutes, the moderator informs participants, “You have finished your lunch in the cafeteria. You and the person at your table go back to class or work.” The moderator has the inner circle move three seats to the left.
Step 6. Discuss with your neighbor: What do you think of when you think of Jesus?
Song: “Weave” CCS327
OR “I Will Sing, I Will Sing” CCS 112
Eggstra Soft Hearts
Have a glass bowl and an egg carton with six eggs. Two of the eggs should be hardboiled. Have volunteers crack the eggs until there is one hardboiled and one raw egg in the glass bowl.
When you boil an egg, a change happens inside to make the egg harden. We can’t make cookies with the hardboiled eggs. They’re too hard, and if we tried, the cookies wouldn’t taste very good. Sometimes our hearts can be hardboiled like this egg. Listen to the words from the scripture.
Scripture: Mosiah 11:107
And now because of their unbelief, they could not understand the word of God; and their hearts were hardened.
How might your heart be hardened? (selfish, mean, uncaring, unloving, not listening to God) When we read scriptures but ignore what God says, our hearts harden a little bit. We turn away from God. But when we listen to God and keep our hearts soft, God can do sweet things through us.
Prayer: God, make our hearts soft.
Ask for volunteers to pray brief prayers on this plea.
Focus Moment: The Hating Book, Charlotte Zolotow (New York: HarperTrophy, 1989). ISBN 0-06443-197-5
Discuss how sometimes we misunderstand one another and need to communicate in order to reconcile differences.
Disciples’ Generous Response
Have participants form groups according to the month of their birthday. As they move into groups have them offer their mission tithes in a central location.
Flower Power Activity
Provide each group a large sheet of flipchart paper and markers. Instruct them to draw a large creative flower with a center and a number of petals equal to the number of people in the group. Find their similarities and differences. Fill in the center of the flower with something they all have in common. Each person should then fill in their petal with something about them that is unique. Do not use physical attributes such as hair color or weight. Be creative! The petals can be filled in with words or drawings. Return to the large group and share similarities and differences.
Differences may not always be obvious. We often think we are the same. We think that what I like, everyone should like; what I need everyone needs; what’s important to me should be important to everyone else. Differences sometimes surprise us and cause us to annoy one another. We need to practice acceptance and be willing to reconcile when differences separate us.
Monologue: “Walls” (see below)
We have friends that we can invite to church. Often we make excuses, but we have what we need to be effective. Just look at the “Flower Power!” We have been blessed by the Holy Spirit today. Be ready for the Holy Spirit to lead you this week.
Song “Siyahamb' Ekukhanyen' Kwenkhos'” CCS95
OR “Leaving Her Water Jar Behind” CCS 626
May there be peace within you today. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content knowing that you are a child of God. Let God’s presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, and to bask in the light of the Son. Amen.
(A dramatic monologue. The character begins in the attitude of a spoiled child, but gradually matures in actions and expressions.)
(Explosive) Christianity would be easy except for you! (Shakes fist toward heavens) Now, if I had a thousand acres, I could build a house in the middle of it, with a twenty-four-foot fence, with barbed wire on the top, a gate with ten padlocks and a hundred guard dogs. Then I could be a Christian!
(Sadly) But I can’t afford a thousand acres…so, I have to put a twenty-four-foot fence with barbed wire…a gate with ten padlocks and a hundred guard dogs…inside my mind. Inside that fence, I put my family, a few close friends, and my church. Everything was just fine.
(Explosive) So what happens? You come along! (Looks upward angrily) There I was, just lying down for my afternoon nap, safe and secure. The gate was locked, the guard dogs on duty, and along you come—BOOM! The gate blew up! Four weeks of work gone—KABLOOEY!
What do you want! What are you doing here!?!
(Looks upward in surprise) What? Read John 13:14–15? (Flips open a Bible and mutters through the verses) Well, it says…(to audience, confidentially) wash other people’s feet. Okay, I will. (Shrugs shoulders, flips Bible shut.)
So, every six months, I slip out of the new gate I put up, and go wash…fifteen pairs of feet. My wife, my kids, my close friends…then I slip back through my gate to the security of my twenty-four-foot high fence, with barbed wire, and guard dogs. (Proudly) I did my duty. I did my share!
(Disgruntled) So what happens? You come along again. Everything was secure, the gate locked, guard dogs ready…and you come along! BOOM-BAM! The gate blows up again!
What do you want this time? (Looks up, but not surprised at receiving an answer this time.) Read John 13:14–15? But I did that. I washed fifteen pairs of feet. You only did twelve! I did my duty, my share!
Read John 13:11? (Finds place in Bible again) “For he knew who should betray him.” Wait a minute. (Looking up again) You washed the feet of a traitor, knowing what a horrible person he was? You want me to do that? I can’t!! (Fear and shouting)
John 13:15? “For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.” (Eyes open wide with fright) But the people you’re showing me have hurt me! Betrayed my trust! Those scars will never heal!
(Looks up suddenly) Look at your scars? I think I’m better than you? No, Lord!
Forgive me, Lord! (Crying) I’ve been so wrong. I don’t know how to tear down my fence…help me! I’ll let the guard dogs go…leave the gate down…Help me love the ones you send into my life…Oh, God, I want to be free–with you! (Sigh of joy and release)
—Rebecca Newcom Belcher and Carolyn J. Rathbun from Scenes for Drama Ministry, Celia Schall, ed. (Herald House, 1996), 36–37.