Tag Archives: Jesus

You Are So Beautiful

It’s often hard for people to watch themselves on video. (This is generally true of my own experience.) But lately, as I have been making more videos of other people telling biblical stories, I have had a revelation: YOU ARE SO BEAUTIFUL.

It is a great joy to film folks telling the story. But the unexpected joy has come when I sit down by myself to edit. As I cut and paste and manipulate sound, as I watch the brave faces across the screen, I am filled with a deep joy. YOU ARE SO BEAUTIFUL. I wish that those in front of the camera could see themselves as I see them in the editing room. This must be something of how God sees us. Perhaps I will even try to see myself that way.

I am grateful for the gift of this storytelling ministry–for the people I encounter and the light that shines in each telling. Beautiful.

Here are two videos I filmed this month with the saints of Burke Presbyterian Church. I had the great joy of keynoting their 3-day intergenerational VBS experience and we filmed these two videos during that time. They are so beautiful.

Telling our way to Jerusalem


WATCH and WONDER

Matthew 21:1-11
as told by Rev. Jeff Krehbiel

 THE “MIT”

When learning a story by heart, it is helpful to have a clear idea of what the “Most Important Thing” (MIT) is for your story. Stand up and read Matthew 21 aloud while walking around a few times. What is your initial sense of the MIT for the story?

I am struck with the ties Matthew makes to the Hebrew Testament. After Jesus gives instructions to his disciples (go get a donkey, etc.), Matthew then reminds us of  Zecharaiah 9:9:

Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion!
    Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem!
Lo, your king comes to you;
    triumphant and victorious is he,
humble and riding on a donkey,
    on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

Consider the phrase that leads into it: “This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet….” According to Matthew, Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem is a fulfillment of Scripture. This includes the way he gets there: Jesus comes into Jerusalem from the East via the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4).

As the original teller, perhaps Matthew’s “MIT” is the fulfillment of prophecy. Try telling the story keeping this in mind. How can you make the significance of this fulfillment clear ?

Sometimes (often?) deciphering the MIT does not happen until you’ve already internalized the story…keep at it! Of course, the MIT you choose today, may not be the MIT you will choose the next time you tell the story!

LEARNING by HEART

Here is a copy of the story: Matthew 21

For all ages:

Map it out! Take a piece of paper and mark out where all the people/places are in your mind. Now, where are you, the storyteller? Tell the story with your “map” in mind.

For the younger set:

Play it out! Get out any kind of figures (as always, even salt and pepper shakers will do). Have someone read the story while the kids move the pieces…now switch roles. Once you’ve done this a few times, put your “script” down and just tell the story!

WONDER WORDS

Hosanna: The word “hosanna” is translated as “save, please.” In this story, “hosanna” is used as a greeting of praise.

Prophet: noun
1 : one who declares publicly a message that one believes has come from God or a god
2 : one who foretells future events
(from Miriam-Webster “Student” dictionary online: www.wordcentral.com)

MORE TO TELL

  Check back here for a short clip in which Jeff Krehbiel tells us about his own storytelling practices in worship.

My favorite tellers: Reflecting on Lent with Children


WATCH and WONDER

Children tell Matthew 4:1-11
Filmed/Edited by Alex Bryant

My own kids can’t stop watching.

This is how we do it…

We filmed this in an hour. We removed kids one-by-one from our intergenerational church school program (focused on Matthew 4:1-11) to tell the story. Each child who volunteered was given a line to learn on the spot and then coached by me. They had already encountered the story in church school, but we talked about why the devil said what he said…and why Jesus responded the way he did. The kids were amazing. I imagine they’ll be proud as they watch themselves tell the story…and that the whole story will continue to grow in them through the watching. My own kids, who did not participate, have watched it many, many times. My daughter wanted to know why some of the kids were wagging their fingers! (She was engaging in discussion around gestures!) There is so much to love about this video, but what excites me is that as much as I melt every time I see these kids tell the story–I think my kids enjoyed watching it just as much (if not more). All participants in this production were authorized to be filmed and put online by our parent/guardian release form. 

TYING it all TOGETHER

We used the film as the start to our Lenten worship stations program. Following the debut of the film, people were invited to participate in worship stations set up through the sanctuary. Here is one of our activities:

lent rocks

The devil asked Jesus (who was VERY hungry) to prove that he was the Son of God by turning to a stone to bread. Jesus refused, saying, “It is written: One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

1. Read the blessing of stones left for you.
2. Put those stones back and create your own blessing to be left for the person that will come after you at the table. Be creative!
3. Before you leave this station, take a picture of your stone sentence.

Another activity was displayed on our projector–a chance to OBSERVE Lent. It was inspired by something I read on Theresa Cho’s amazing interactive prayer station website. Here is the video:

Does Jesus Get Hangry? Storytelling for Lent 1

This is the first in a series of videos to get you ready to story-learn and tell this Lent!

WATCH and WONDER

Matthew 4:1-11
As told by Rev. Leslianne Braunstein

 

WONDER WORD

FASTING To “fast” is to intentionally not eat food as a way to become closer to God. Here is an explanation of the practice of fasting in biblical times offered by Bible.org: 

“The [Old Testament] uses fasting and abstinence from food to point to something even more necessary for life—communion with and dependence on God. Fasting behaviors were sometimes commanded, sometimes voluntary, and sometimes even ritualized, but the Hebrew Bible rather consistently portrays fasting in conjunction with themes of disruption and restoration. In the midst of disruption, fasting comes to symbolize hope. Through repentance and prayer, fasting can signify the centering of the self in humility, the renewal of the relationship to God’s sustaining force. As such, fasting takes on a dual significance of mourning and hope.”

Have you ever fasted? What was it like? What was the hardest part? Did it make you feel closer to God?

If you haven’t fasted, find someone who has and ask them about their experience! Better yet–try a fast yourself–even a brief fast might help you tell the story!

learn it BY HEART

Verbal Threads Look for the words or phrases that are repeated through the story. Click HERE for the text (thanks again to gotell.org). There is a lot of repetition in the story, which makes for great storytelling! I like to print out a copy of the story and with my colored pens circle and connect the verbal threads. What do you notice about the repetition?interlaced-herringbone-10

Giving VOICE to the devil I am always struck by what good things the devil offers Jesus. If he’s meant to be the savior of the world, wouldn’t it be great if he was well-fed and already ruled everything??? In order to consider how the devil sounds, you might want to think about (or tell a story about) what tempts you. Is the devil angry or…persuasive…or something else? What works better when one is trying to be tempting

Looking for CLUES What does Jesus look and sound like in this story? Consider what it would be like to fast for 40 days and nights…how might this have affected his speech or the way he stands? Was he hangry? (When I am hungry, I am almost always also short-tempered and angry.) Does he start off the same way he begins, or is he changed over the course of the story? (For example, does he start of weak and get stronger, or could it be the other way around?)

WAYS to WONDER

For all ages: STORY BOARDING This story has great visuals (some kids may need a bit of explanation from adults).

  1. Draw Jesus alone in the wilderness (consider…what is the wilderness?)
  2. Draw the temptation of the bread (consider…what do we “live by”?)
  3. Draw Jesus and the devil on the pinnacle of the temple (consider…how do we test our God?)
  4. Draw them up on a high mountain looking at all the kingdoms (consider…what things in this world are particularly tempting to you?)
  5. Draw Angels attending Jesus (consider…when have you felt God caring for you?)

Things to AVOID When Telling Biblical Stories

a new online workshop
#biblestoriesrock

Check out our online workshop focusing on things to avoid when telling biblical stories. Jason Chesnut  (Lutheran pastor, storyteller extraordinaire, and founder of The Slate Project ) and I had so much fun preparing for and giving this workshop! If you have more questions about storytelling, please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email.

My favorite part is when I joke that I know all the Greek from Jason’s story…which was written in…ehem…Hebrew, obviously. Suddenly realizing the perils of live and recorded workshops! 🙂