All-age worship for Easter 4 – John 10:22-30

Here’s a cracker, which although designed for the Parable of the Lost Sheep, has the same emphasis on “hear my voice”. Be sure to click on the Activities link, and then you can download .pdf files which include a teaching game and some pretty cool colouring in sheets for kids. Free to use.

Cecil the Sheep and the other storybooks and purchasable downloads might be just the thing for your children’s ministry!

Cecil interviews a shepherd

David Ewart has written an excellent background piece on the lection from John. In it, he discusses the subtlety of hearing and knowing the voice of Jesus, rather that just knowing about him. This would make a useful core idea for a sermon, especially if the voice of Jesus is contrasted with other voices we are urged or tempted to listen to. The congregation could be asked what some of those alternative voices are (expensive goo that is supposed to deny the reality of ageing and dying, for example).

Jerry Goebel writes:

To hear and to follow!

Life itself is a process whereby I become increasingly able to recognize Christ’s voice and follow or I become enamored with my own voice (like the demons, the Religious Leaders and the Nazarenes) and reject his call. Everyday I must practice listening, everyday I must place myself where I can hear his call, or everyday I will come to mistake my voice for his.

It is so important that we ask ourselves:

1.        “Where can I go that I am most likely to hear his call today?”

2.        “What can I do to make me humble enough to hear his words and follow them today?”

3.        “What practices do I need to pursue today that will silence my deception and heighten my reception?”

4.        “Will I know his voice better tonight than I did this morning?”

And most of all, “When he calls do recognize his voice and follow?”

Source: Jerry Goebel: 2005 ©

With younger people and children, a game could be played to see if they can recognise the names belonging to voices from the congregation – perhaps reading this lection! Another idea would be to choose some words of Jesus from a very contemporary version of the Bible such as “The Message” and have them read alongside words from other faiths or philosophies, and see if people can discern the words of Jesus.

If you have a data projector, advertising images could stimulate thinking about the “other voices” that surround us.

Agnus Day on John 10:20-22

Agnus Day on John 10:20-22

An obvious hymn choice: I heard the voice of Jesus say

which can be sung to KINGSFOLD

The Prayers of the People could involve periods of silence – “listening prayer” and include prayers for wisdom for leaders. This would be a very appropriate Sunday to pray for +Ross, our new bishop, and his family.

Great clip art legitimately for free: Easter 3 & RCL Sundays

How about this for your bulletin or screen?

Jesus hosts breakfast

Jesus prepares breakfast for his disciples

Cerezo Barredo provides Gospel illustrations for free on this Latin American website. Use the link below to access the Year’s pix. [To save the pic, open it by double-clicking on it, then right-click and select “Save As” to copy it to your computer – make sure you choose a folder that you can find again!)

Google Translate will automatically provide English captions etc – this is easy to have in your browser if you use Google Chrome [Google’s free Internet browser] (Recommended).

Easter 3: Ideas and starters

A focus on the Gospel Reading could utilise the following ideas:

  • Provide a visual focus with a real fishing net and some fish cutouts (congregants could write Easter thanksgiving prayers on these, for example)
  • Gather outdoors around a barbecue fire (IF you don’t have a total fire ban in your area) and begin the Eucharist with the greetings and Gospel reading. Hand around little portions of fish & bread (Tuna on bread would be fine) before going into the Church
  • Dramatise the dialogue aspects of the Gospel – copy the text from the link above and underline the part for Jesus and bolden the part for Peter – print out parts for the reader, Jesus & Peter
  • One sermon starter is around Jesus’ question “Do you love me?”, and its echo of Peter’s threefold denial. The question, of course, can be asked of all of us
  • Use the hymn “Will you come and follow me?” (The Summons) from the Iona Community. Visit the link for the words and tune. (You should have a copyright licence to use this hymn if it is not in one of your hymnbooks).

If you have other ideas based on the Gospel for Easter 3, please add a comment

A weekly cartoon for your bulletin for free!

Yes, you can use Agnus Day cartoons for free in your bulletin, with acknowledgment, and they are linked to the RCL as well:

Snippets originally from:

John 20:19-31

2005-03-18 — Poor Thomas…He’s makes one mistake and it blows his whole reputation.

BIBLE PASSAGE — When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name. — Second Sunday of Easter, Series A