Category Archives: Biblical Storytelling

Episode 15: The Vine Abides

StoryDivine.com is experiencing technical difficulties–so enjoy this week’s podcast here!

Easter 5B

Casey FitzGerald tells John 15:1-11

Find the video story (along with storytelling ideas for all ages) from Acts 8:26-40 at Faith and Wonder (or just scroll down!)

Come to the Festival Gathering of the Network of Biblical Storytellers this August!

Find Jason Chesnut of The Slate Project HERE

Tracy Radosevic, Storyteller, Dean of the Academy for Biblical Storytelling

 

The Ethiopian Eunuch

WATCH and WONDER

Acts 8:26-40 as told by Casey FitzGerald

 

A shorter TALE

This is a longer story. You might want to start out with a smaller chunk of it to learn (especially any younger storytellers out there). Consider learning only this section: 

As they were going along the road, they came to some water;
and the eunuch said,
“Look! Water! What would keep me from being baptized?”

He commanded the chariot to stop,
and both of them, Philip and the eunuch,
went down into the water,
and Philip baptized him.

When they came up out of the water,
the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away;
the eunuch never saw him again,
but went on his way rejoicing.

Here is a copy of the entire story Acts 8: 26-40!

Ways to Wonder

For all ages:

*Once More, with Feeling! Using either the “shorter tale” or the whole text, play this game of “emotional” telling. A sentence or a section at a time, tell the story with the emotion chosen by the spinner (link to spinner here: Once More, with FEELING!). Just click on the spinner and you’re emotion will be chosen for you! This is a fun activity to do for a group re-around (each person spins and then reads). Add another layer–at the end of the telling, have the group guess what feelings were being portrayed! If you are having a tough time understanding the emotion of a part of your story, this is a great way to explore the possibilities.

*When Philip asks the Ethiopian eunuch if he understands what he’s reading from Isaiah, the eunuch replies, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” Tell a story about someone who guides you.

*The Ethiopian eunuch is an outsider, in his baptism he becomes an insider–he is now a part of the followers of Christ! As a way of connecting to the story, tell a story about a time you felt like an outsider (or a time you experienced becoming an insider).

For the younger set:

*Find a doll and some water. Pretend you are Philip and baptize the doll. (The man in our story was not a baby, so you don’t have to use a baby doll.) Do you remember how your pastor baptizes babies? What words are said? Describe what baptism looks like in your church.

the more you know…

*Though the Ethiopian eunuch held a high rank within the queen’s court, because he was considered “half man,” it is unlikely that he was actually allowed full worshipping rights in Jerusalem. Deuteronomy 23:1 tells us that such a man would be unable to enter “the assembly of the Lord.” He was, in many ways, an outsider. What does this story show us about what God is doing in the world?ethiopian

*I believe I pronounced “Candace” wrong in the video! DOH! I used my American way of saying “Candace” because it is such a familiar name. The correct pronunciation is kan-DAY-see.Here is a great place to check on your pronunciations!  (I posted this video despite the error–there will always be changes I want to make to my stories–because I am always learning! I am actually working on learning this story for an event six months from now…there will be many changes between now and then!)

Click here for more on telling this story!

Lent/Holy Week Stories!

Don’t forget to tune in to the special Holy Week series at StoryDivine.com! Here are links to the first two episodes!

Episode 11.1: Memory Reboot

 

Episode 11.2: Not I, Lord!

 

More Kid Videos!

Here are our final “kid telling” for Lent…as well as a few previous ones! Thanks to my fabulous church for their telling skills! 🙂

If you’re interested in doing activities around this story, check out my “Family Liturgy” post at Practicing Families.

The following videos were created by the children of the church, and filmed and edited by our the fabulous Alex Bryant. (Forgive my branding at the top–they are his, but I had to reload the videos onto  my vimeo site to link them appropriately!)

Nicodemus and the children: Lent 2 Stories and Stations

In case any of you are working on the RCL text this week–here are stations based on the FIRST HALF of Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus along with our kid telling!

And check out Story Divine for a telling of the whole story!

WATCH and WONDER
Kids tell John 3:1-10, 16-17

This is a tricky story to have the kids tell–it’s hard for adults to understand! What I am learning from these experiences of putting the kids on video is that so much more of the learning of the story happens in the watching–not the participating. This is not surprising, but I continue to be surprised by how engaged the kids are in watching the story. I chose to leave out verses 11-15 because I thought it would be too much for the kids to do without a lot of unpacking. Normally when I tell stories, I do not omit verses. I also used the Common English Bible (CEB) for the telling. It is much easier for kids to speak aloud (and often for people to understand). On occasion, we changed some of the language to accommodate the kids, but I do not believe this sacrificed the integrity of the story in any way! Here is the CEB version of John 3.

If you want to hear the story told in full and begin to learn it yourself, see my previous post with links to Tim Coomb’s telling.

WORSHIP stations

Our worship stations this week included the following:

Lent prayer wall 2

Prayer wall (week 2): My husband and I constructed this prayer wall out of wood and chicken wire–then we painted it with chalkboard paint. Each week something different is written on it. Participants were asked to pray about something concerning birth, life, death, or new life–writing it one a slip of red paper (a new color each week) and putting it in the wall.Global Prayers (week 2): Last week we circled places we were praying for…this week participants were asked to write words that named the things that come into the world through the gift of God’s son.Lent globe prayers 1 Lent globe 2Water and Spirit: The notion of being born of “water and spirit” can be a bit…puzzling. Participants were asked to take a puzzle piece and draw an image of water or spirit. They were also asked to take an edge piece and write a word or phrase which described what it might look like to be born of water and spirit.Lent puzzles 2Lent puzzlesLent ROCKS: This week, remembering that Nicodemus recognized Jesus as a teacher from God, we used our rock words to teach one another. Each participant left a “teaching” for the next participant to read. (We had each person take a picture of their rock teachings.)

Lent rocks 2
Tell me a STORY: Our “story booth” continued with the recording of stories about “encounters with strangers.” Stay tuned for more info next week…we had one elementary school boy tell us about meeting his friend for the first time and their subsequent formation of the “Elemental Buddies.” LOVE.

We also played back our stories of birth, adoption, and new beginnings in the narthex. Amazing. (I hope to post some of these later…but I need some more time to edit!) Lent story stations

Finally, we set aside part of the sanctuary for telling stories of birth and adoption. Baby dolls were put out for the youngest kids. Folks were encouraged to tell their children stories of their births…and folks who did not come with children were encouraged to tell someone the story of their own birth or adoption.

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, we also premiered our video.Lent video pic

 

 

Worship Stations for Lent: Part 2

Last year I posted information on our worship stations for our Wednesday night Lenten suppers…but I posted them after they occurred. This meant I could tell you about the stations, what went well, what didn’t–and you could see pictures. This year the only pictures will be borrowed from other sites that have done the projects–my own photos to be inserted later! My thanks to my colleague Patty Chamberlain and our Children’s ministry team members for brainstorming with me!

One final note–as these are for Wednesday nights beginning the week after Ash Wednesday, and focus on the scripture for the following Sundays–there is no “Lent 1″ section! Click HERE for Part I.

LENT 3
Story: Jesus and the Money Lenders
John 2:13-22

Recurring Stations

Look for a variation of these stations each week. In addition to these, there will be 1-2 “special stations” each week.

1. Story video

Thanks to the amazing Alex Bryant for filming and editing. 🙂 It was so fun to work with these kids again…especially noticing how the older ones have grown and changed…and inviting our newest recruits. LOVE THIS WORK.

2. Prayer WallLent prayer wall 2

Prayer prompt will say: “Jesus was upset because people were focused on themselves, and not on God. Write a prayer saying “sorry” to God. We call this a “prayer of confession.” When you are done, make sure to read what the wall says and remember you are forgiven!” (The wall will say: “God sees you, forgives you, loves you.”)

Supplies: Prayer wall (made from wood, chicken wire, chalkboard paint), red slips of paper, markers, instruction sheet.

3. Book Nook

Book nook pic

Featured stories: Enemies of Slavery by David A. Adler (8 & up) and The Honest-to-Goodness Truth by Patricia C. McKissack (4-8)

Thanks again to Storypath for their incredible resource! I have taken the description of the stories (written by Katie Todd) and put them in the inside cover of the books for parents to read and consider.

4. Tell Me a Story

Instructions: Tell a story about a time you were angry. Did people know you were angry? How? What did you do to calm down? (Got an idea for calming down, write it on a post-it note and stick it on the poster!)

Supplies: Poster-board, post-it notes, instructions

5. Sanctuary Sleuths

magnifying-glass-021114-ykwv1

Instructions:

  • Pick ONE card
  • Answer the question on the card by investigating the sanctuary
  • When you have the answer, write your name and the answer and place the card in the “answered” basket!

I also included Sleuth Levels

Below are links to the different levels (to be printed on corresponding sheet colors and cut out):
Pink Sanctuary Sleuths
Green Sanctuary Sleuths
Blue Sanctuary Sleuths

6. Making Crosses: Praying the News

Lent cross

Newspaper clippings/headlines are glued on large cross as we pray the news and remember that Jesus came to redeem all.

Questions to consider: How would the story you chose make God feel?

Supplies: Large wooden cross, Mod Podge, brushes, drop cloth, scissors, instructions, newspapers, magazines

 

 

 7. Pew Labyrinth

Labyrinthweekone

This station was the big winner last week…so we are putting a new one in this week. The picture to the left is of last week’s labyrinth. For last week, I had everyone choose a word to walk with on their labyrinth journey. This week I may have them all focus on one word.

 

Below is a drawing of my plans for this week. (There are places it overlaps, but we are limited by bolted-down pews!)Labyplansweek2

Supplies: blue painters tape…and lots of it!

 

 

 

 

New Station

8. With our Hands

Using an idea based on Beth Williams’ worship room at APCE, Patty Chamberlain used an old moving chalkboard, strung Christmas lights across it, then put pieces of white paper (the kind on rolls) on top (so that it is back-lit). Using somewhat transparent colored paper, participants will trace their hands, cut them out and write/draw based on the following prompt:

People in the temple used their hands to sell animals and lend money–taking advantage of those who traveled to the temple for Passover. Jesus used his hands to turn over the tables, to point them out the door, and to remind them about what God wants. On your hand cut-out, use words or pictures to show how YOU can use your hands to do God’s work.

The hands will then be glued on the wall.

Take a copy of the prayer of St. Teresa of Avila home with you–read it at least once a day this week as you consider how God is working through you.

Teresa of Avila (1515–1582)

Christ Has No Body

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

(Taken from HERE.)

Supplies: Christmas lights, large board, transparent-colored paper, scissors, glue sticks, instructions, large roll of white paper, glue

Pictures to follow!

HERE IS A PDF OF ALL THE INSTRUCTION SHEETS FOR THIS WEEK!
Lent 3 Worship Station Instructions

 

Worship Stations for Lent: Part 1

Last year I posted information on our worship stations for our Wednesday night Lenten suppers…but I posted them after they occurred. This meant I could tell you about the stations, what went well, what didn’t–and you could see pictures. This year the only pictures will be borrowed from other sites that have done the projects–my own photos to be inserted later! My thanks to my colleague Patty Chamberlain and our Children’s ministry team members for brainstorming with me!

One final note–as these are for Wednesday nights beginning the week after Ash Wednesday, and focus on the scripture for the following Sundays–there is no “Lent 1” section!

Recurring Stations

Look for a variation of these stations each week.
In addition to these, there will be 1-2 “special stations” each week.

1. Making Crosses
2. Prayer Wall
3. Book Nook
4. Tell Me a Story
5. Sanctuary Sleuths
6. Story video

LENT 2 STATIONS
Story: God’s Promise to Abraham
Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16

1. MAKING CROSSES
Fingerprint cross

Supplies: Watercolor paper, pen, wipes, ink pads
Prep: outline cross to guide fingerprint placement

 

(I found this picture on Pinterest!)

 

 

 

 2. Prayer Wall

Lent 5 prayer wallSupplies: Prayer wall (mine constructed of chicken wire and wood–painted with chalkboard paint), prayer prompt, small slips of paper (yellow this week), markers

On the wall: “I will be your God…”

Prayer Prompt: As God came to Abraham with promises for the future, write a prayer for your own future with God.

whoever you are3. Book Nook

Various books are there every week (general kids books about God). I used the amazing website StoryPath to choose special books for each week.

Featured story this week: Whoever you Are by Mem Fox. HERE is a link to the write up on the book. I may print out the write out and fix it to the inside cover of the book for parents to read, along with some discussion prompts.

4. Tell Me a Story

This station is simply a dedicated space for family, friends, or strangers to join in shared storytelling. This week’s prompt: How did you get your name? What does it mean? (There will also be a name dictionary available for anyone interested in looking up the meaning of their name.)

5. Sanctuary Sleuths

Each week there will be cards with clues about things people can find in the sanctuary. Each week more cards will be added. The idea is to especially engage the young children in learning about the space. I am guessing that plenty of the adults would also like to learn more about the space! (Still finalizing these…stay tuned.)

6. Story video

As we did last year, each week we will “premiere” a new storytelling video created by the children. This is just a space saver for the video–which will be inserted when it’s made!

7. Blessings and Starsglowing stars

Though our particular story is not the one about God asking Abraham to look to the stars, we thought it would be cool to give each participant a glow-in-the-dark star to take home as a reminder of God’s promises. A pastor will stand with a bowl of stars behind a kneeler…participants will be invited to come and receive a blessing and a star.

Supplies: glow in the dark stars, kneeler (optional), someone to do the blessing

 

8. Prayer labyrinth 

Prayer Labyrinth 1-27-07_Layout 1

I found this labyrinth on Pinterest (where else???) and I’m hoping to do a version of it weaving through the pews of the sanctuary. HERE is the post from which the idea comes!

Supplies: Tape (that won’t hurt the floors), Laminated signs with prompts, Instructions for the beginning of the labyrinth

Too strange NOT to tell: The Transfiguration

Learn the story of the transfiguration, or simply watch the video and do the “Ways to Wonder” exercises near the end of the post.

And be sure to check out Story Divine to hear more stories from the lectionary, along with personal storytelling prompts!

WATCH and WONDER

Matthew 17:1-9
The Story of the Transfiguration
as told by MaryAnn McKibben Dana

The transfiguration story is a strange one indeed. Many people have wondered what to make of this story. Storytelling the transfiguration is a wonderful way to connect with the story and to draw others into the experience on the mountain. Who knows–maybe we will be transfigured in the telling! I challenge to you to tell the transfiguration story BY HEART on Transfiguration Sunday this year. Here is a link to the text courtesy of gotell.org!

WONDER WORDS

Tranfiguration is the “act of being transfigured.” To be “transfigured” is to “change in outward appearance; transform” or “to change so as to glorify or exalt.” (dictionary.com) In this story, Jesus is transfigured on the mountain. What does the story say that transfiguration looked like?

Learn it BY HEART

1) As you are working on learning the story, considering using this Retell Wheel (just click the link)–especially if you are learning with the younger set. Just click on the wheel and answer the questions!

2) Divide your text into EPISODES. Episodes are “chunks of the story that are unified by a theme or an image,” (Story Journey, 13). Name each episode. The names for each episode should be brief (1-3 words) and easily understood. Write the names on the margin next to each episode. Choose episode names that will help you recall the content of the episode. When you are ready to tell the story, fold your paper over and see if you can tell it!

3) MAP IT OUT! On a piece of paper, map out the story. Where are Jesus, James, John, and Peter? Where do Elijah and Moses appear? Which way do they go up the mountain? Down? Where is the cloud? Where are you? Once you have mapped it out on paper, try to SEE IT in your mind. Now tell the story. (Hopefully you’ll begin to ask yourself lots of questions about location. For instance, where are you looking when you are Peter talking to Jesus?)

WAYS to WONDER

1) What would it have been like to see Jesus so transformed? Imagine the brightness. Is it blinding? Soft? Inviting? Harsh? Spend a few minutes just picturing that part of the scene. Now tell the first episode.

2) Peter says to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here.” Tell a story about an experience you did not want to end. Why was it so good?

Remember to flesh the story out by thinking of the KEYS TO THE STORY:
Where were you? (Consider the sights, smells, sounds, etc.)
Who was there?
What were you (or others) feeling at the time? Thinking? Has that changed over time?
What actions occurred?
Did you have a sense of God in the moment? Has that changed over time?

MORE to TELL

Watch MaryAnn’s brief commentary on the experience of telling the transfiguration story!

And be sure to check out MaryAnn’s amazing blog, The Blue Room. MaryAnn is a pastor in the PC(USA), blogger, and the author of Sabbath in the Suburbs: A Family’s Experiment with Holy Time. (Put this book on your to-read list–it is amazing.) Here is a recent piece she wrote about Faith and Wonder!

SNEAK PREVIEW: Story Divine

Get ready for Story Divine–the latest ministry from Faith and Wonder! Though the official launch of the podcast and website are a few weeks away, I wanted to give you a sneak preview. Each week will feature a biblical story (taken from the upcoming lectionary* readings for the following Sunday), as well as some reflections and personal storytelling prompts.

The site is being tweaked, intro music is being created, and I am getting excited!

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls…

STORY DIVINE

Children’s

EPISODE 1: Vision Problems
1 Samuel 3:1-20

 

 

*Don’t know what the lectionary is? You’re not alone! Here is info from the Vanderbuilt Divinity Library site:

  • What is the Revised Common Lectionary?

    The Revised Common Lectionary is a three-year cycle of weekly lections used to varying degrees by the vast majority of mainline Protestant churches in Canada and the United States. The RCL is built around the seasons of the Church Year, and includes four lections for each Sunday, as well as additional readings for major feast days. During most of the year, the lections are: a reading from the Hebrew Bible, a Psalm, a reading from the Epistles, and a Gospel reading. During the season of Easter, the Hebrew Bible lection is usually replaced with one from the Acts of the Apostles. The lections from the Hebrew Bible are sometimes chosen from the Apocrypha.

    The seasons of the Church Year reflect the life of Christ. Consequently, the gospel lections for each Sunday provide the focus for that day. The other lections for a given day generally have a thematic relationship to the gospel reading for that day, although this is not always the case. In Ordinary Time, the Revised Common Lectionary offers two sets of readings for the lessons from the Hebrew Bible. One set proceeds semicontinuouly, giving the story of the Patriarchs and the Exodus in Year A, the monarchial narratives in Year B, and readings from the Prophets in Year C. In the other set of readings for Ordinary Time (shown in italics on this site) the readings from the Hebrew Bible are thematically related to the gospel lections. Denominations or local churches generally use either the semicontinuous readings or the thematic readings during Ordinary Time. They do not typically move back and forth between the two over the course of a single season.

    The gospel readings for each year come from one of the synoptic gospels according to the following pattern:

    • Year A – Matthew
    • Year B – Mark
    • Year C – Luke

    Readings from the Gospel of John can be found throughout the RCL.

Jesus Gets Baptized!

Ready to start telling the scriptures by heart in 2015? The story of Jesus’ baptism from Mark is a wonderful place to start! A re-post from 2014…

WATCH AND WONDER

Hear the story of John the Baptist and Jesus as it unfolds in Mark.
Watch the images–they’ll be useful as you learn to tell the story!

Mark 1:1-11

 

WONDER WORDS

A brief pitstop to help before you get to story-learning

REPENTANCE The story tells us John was “proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” To repent is to TURN AROUND. You may have noticed that when “repentance” came up in the video, this image appeared: Repent turn around
When they repented, they turned around–and they turned toward God. They turned towards God’s love and forgiveness. That IS good news!

CONFESSING To confess is to admit the truth (to tell the truth).  When we confess to God, we admit things to God. Of course, God already knows all about us, but telling God is part of how we show God we care and that we want to do better. Confessing is easier when we remember that God always forgives. The next time you pray, what might you tell God?

Learn it BY HEART

Ideas to get you started in your story learning journey

1. Read the story out loud. Here is a written version of the story: Mark 1 1 to 11 NRSV
      If there is more than one of you, you could also pass the story around, reading one sentence or paragraph per person.

2.Watch the video again.

3. Using the images from the video (click here: Mark 1 video images), try to retell the story as best as you are able. Don’t worry about getting all the words right–it’s more important to get the ideas right in the beginning!

4. Think you’ve got it? Watch the video–but MUTE it! See if you can remember the parts of the story.

WAYS to WONDER

Go deeper in your understanding of the story through play, personal storytelling, and reflection.

For all ages:

1. Using not just your mind, but your whole body, imagine what it would be like to see a dove coming down from heaven. Now imagine what it would be like to eat locusts with honey.   😉

2. Tell a story of baptism.

Keys to telling your story:
Where were you? (Consider the sights, smells, sounds, etc.)
Who was there?
What were you (or others) feeling at the time? Thinking? Has that changed over time?
What actions occurred?
Did you have a sense of God in the moment? Has that changed over time?
If you have pictures of the baptismal day, take this opportunity to look at them!

 

3. Google it! There many ways people are baptized. Google images of baptism to learn more about how baptism is practiced throughout the world.

For the older set:

In part, Jesus’ baptism was his inaugural event. It was a preparatory event. How did it prepare him for what was to come? How might Jesus have felt in that baptismal moment?

Remembering that the Spirit will immediately drive him into the wilderness–remembering the whole story of Christ’s life to come–tell Jesus’ baptism portion again. Imagine you are Jesus witnessing the dove’s descent and hearing the words of God’s love. What might/does it feel like to be so loved?

Even (perhaps especially) in our adulthood, it is easy to lose sight of this belovedness. If this is the case for you, perhaps you can receive this story as a gift and reminder of your own belovedness.

Witness the dove descending and hear the voice from heaven:

“You are my child, whom I love;
          with you I am well pleased.”
 

There is always more to tell…for background on how I made some of my decisions for telling (and things to consider as you develop your own way of telling) click MARK 1 More to tell.