Tag Archives: water

Who Tells God’s Story?

Watch and Wonder

The Woman at the Well
John 4: 5-42

 

Do Tell!

In this story, Jesus sees this woman, this foreign woman, this woman he has NO BUSINESS being with (“Jews and Samaritans do not share things in common!”)–he sees her and reflects back to her the story of her life. In turn, in being seen, she begins to see Jesus for who he is– she sees the story of God unfolding before her. “Could this really be the Messiah?”

Suddenly her story and God’s story are bound together. She runs off to her people to tell them–I have met a man who told me my story, a man who might just be the savior of the world. 

In being known by God, and in witnessing God’s work in Jesus Christ, this woman is compelled to tell God’s story. She becomes God’s story-bearer to the Samaritans. Hearing God’s story come from the Samaritan woman at the well gives it special meaning and purpose–in her telling it, we glimpse more fully what God intends for God’s kingdom.

If I have learned one thing in my time storytelling, it is this: the stories of God belong to ALL people, and should be told by ALL people. So when I was asked to put together an ensemble of first time storytellers for the NEXT Church national gathering of the PC(USA), I was thrilled. The more we can hear these stories told and interpreted by others, especially folks who do not share the same life experience, the more fully we are able to see God’s story.

Tell a Story

As part of your reflecting on this text, tell a story of a time you felt seen/known.

Reflect

  1. For what do you thirst?
  2. What does “living water” look like for you? What feeds and sustains you?
  3. Who in your life is able to tell your story?
  4. If you could tell God’s story in two sentences, what would they be?

 

Image courtesy of The Presbyterian Outlook from the NEXT Church National Gathering (2017)

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

 

 

The Children at the Well: Lent 3 video and stations

WATCH and WONDER

Kids tell John 4

I had very limited recording time this week–and the woman at the well story is about 40 verses–so this is our abridged version! To put the story into context, I added some commentary at the beginning and end. I prefer not to interfere with the kids’ magic, but I also wanted to put the story in context. Because of the lack of time, I was also forced to film quickly–which meant a lot of choppy shots! I used some repetition to try to adjust. As we create these videos, more ideas are coming to mind about how best to prepare for them–but these ideas will probably not be enacted until after our Lent videos are done. 🙂 HERE is a link to the full story.

I was thrilled this week to get an email from our wonderful missions staff person who wanted to know if it might be possible to have some of the kids from communities (national and international) that we support help to tell these stories. YES!!! People are talking about ways this sort of format might connect people–it is truly exciting.

WEEK 3 WORSHIP STATIONS

FILMING! This week, in lieu of recording stories in our story booth, we filmed a new story to be debuted on Sunday during worship (this will help give the whole congregation an idea of what is happening on Wednesday nights). We used both adults and children to tell the story this week–stay tuned!

GLOBAL PRAYERS Our prayers with the globe continued this week as we focused on water issues throughout the world. World Water Day was on March 22, and since our story was about the meeting at the well, I could not think of a more appropriate focus. I displayed water fact sheets I found through www.unwater.org concerning water issues throughout the world. I also included some samples from their  Children’s Letters to Ministers PDF. The participants were asked to draw droplets of water on the countries they would be praying for this week.

THE WELL Using scraps of material from our storage, I turned the baptismal font into an overflowing well. well 1 well 2Inside the font I placed paper droplets of water with words on them. Instructions were as follows:

  1. Remember that Jesus Christ offers LIVING WATER for our deepest thirsts.
  2. Approach the “well” and take a drop of water from the font.
  3. Use your water word to reflect this week.

Here is the link to my PDF of the drops: take what you need water drops

glad we met 1

GLAD WE MET Jesus is a stranger to the Samaritan woman, but because of their encounter, her life is transformed. At this station, people will encouraged to write a note to a person they are thankful to know. We provided cards, envelopes, and offered to mail them for those with addresses on hand.

Gushing up

GUSHING UP! Jesus said, “The water that I give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” (John 4: 14)

Jesus’ gift of “living water” is something that becomes a part of us. He says it will “gush up” in us! At this station I attempted to have people begin to create the water gushing up with their fingerprints. My idea was to then draw in a figure with lifted hands (as if behind the water)…they were supposed to stay within the lines (see image on left, where I have drawn said lines).

gushing up 2

 

Yeah, that did NOT happen (see totally out of control image on right)! At first I was trying to think of ways to “fix it”–but the truth is, they made the water truly gush up…despite my trying to control it. Somehow I’ll get a person in the picture…a person bursting with living water!!!

 

STORY BOOTH Finally, we had our story booth stories–focused on stories of meeting. These are terrific. You can find them for a limited time here. Special thanks to Alex Bryant for editing these!

A lot more than John 3:16–Lent 2 for Telling

WATCH and WONDER

John 3:1-17
As told by Rev. Timothy Coombs
Recorded for the Network of Biblical Storytellers
Link to full text HERE

This is the story for the second Sunday of Lent. I love Tim’s portrayal of Jesus and the way he tells the story as a conversation (because it IS a conversation). Jesus does not speak from “on high”–he does not condescend–he tries his best to explain to Nicodemus what it means to be born again (or, as the NRSV translates, “born from above”).

What did YOU notice about the way Tim told the story? Who is Nicodemus in this telling? Who is Jesus? To whom do you relate?

EMBODY it!

Gestures can greatly enhance the telling of a story. While it’s best not to overdo it, while you are learning the story try on gestures. Some questions for consideration when using gestures: Does the gesture feel natural? Does the gesture further the audience’s understanding of the story? Are you gesturing in the “right” direction? Are you committed to the gesture? Does it need to be a BIG gesture, or will a more subtle gesture do?

Play with the line below…what gestures might Jesus use as he explains his point to Nicodemus in your telling?

Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

Go back to the video and observe the way Tim uses gesture–it is both natural and intentional.

yOUR stories

For all ages: 

*Tell a story of birth or adoption.

*Tell a story about a time you got a second chance.

For the older set:

We often hear the words of John 3:16 alone: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” These words are sometimes used as a means of exclusion. Some of us even have baggage around them. Tell a story of a time you felt included or excluded within the Christian community.

MORE to TELL

Watch Timothy Coombs as he discusses his use of performance criticism in learning the story.

Check out the website Biblical Performance Criticism for more information on performance critcism.