All-age (and children’s) resources for Easter 4: Acts 9:36-43

A series of puzzles etc on the story of Peter raising Tabitha (not so sure about all the “right answer” stuff). Could help occupy younger people during an adult sermon.

Eeh by gum II: Potted Jam have an amusing “Capernaum St” script for Peter and his wife related to the raising of Tabitha here

Walter Brueggemann provides some pithy material for a sermon or homily in “Blogging towards Sunday”

“Dorcas is the only woman in the NT who is called a disciple“. This fact could provide a springboard for a reflection on, and celebration of the ministry of women in the Anglican church, lay and ordained. Dorcas’ charitable work in sewing could suggest inviting members of the congregation to display their handcrafts.

Marty Haugen’s excellent modern hymn “Gather Us In” which includes the line we shall arise at the sound of our name would be very apt. It is also ideal as a lively opening hymn on any Sunday. It can be found in “Together In Song” (AHB II) number 474. N.B. The accompaniment requires a dextrous pianist/keyboard player. Here is an Australian congregation singing an extract. The text may be read here

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).

Sample Dramatised Gospel Reading: Easter 3

You can copy and paste this reading if you want to use it!

Jesus Appears to Seven Disciples

Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. [Simon told the others what he had decided to do]:

‘I am going fishing.’

‘We will go with you.’

They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.

‘Children, you have no fish, have you?’


‘Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.’

So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish.That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter,

‘It is the Lord!’

When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the lake. But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred metres off.

When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread.

‘Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.’

So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. [Jesus called out an invitation to the disciples:]

‘Come and have breakfast.’

Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ because they knew it was the Lord.* Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus spoke to Peter:

‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?’

‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’

‘Feed my lambs.’

‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’

‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’

‘Tend my sheep.’

‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’

Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’

Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’

‘Feed my sheep. Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.’

(He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) [Jesus gave Peter one more instruction:]

‘Follow me.’


* If you want to be very creative you can adapt the text to provide a little more dialogue here, such as

“Shall we ask him who he is?”

“No, we daren’t – surely it is the Lord!”

or similar

Incorporating Dramatised Readings is easy to do

Yesterday at a team meeting we were discussing the use of dramatised readings in our liturgies. This is a great way of giving people who are not on the readers’ roster an opportunity to dip their toes into the water, and it adds colour and interest to your services.

It is not necessary to have any rehearsal for such readings, as long as the Narrator has a little preparation. In practical terms, the Narrator can be the person rostered on to do the reading, and then it is his/her responsibility (or the Worship leader’s) to find people to read the other parts (which will often be only one or two).

At our meeting one member mentioned a large tome called “The Dramatised Bible” which was certainly useful in its day. With the advent of free Bible texts online it is now redundant to purchase such a book.

Here is what you need to do (not much!):

  • Look up the relevant passage (usually one with some lively dialogue in it!)
  • Make sure to check the “remove verse numbers” box if that will be helpful (and note the other options here)
  • Use CTRL + a to select all the text, or use your mouse instead (click and drag)
  • Use CTRL + c to copy the text into your computer’s clipboard
  • Open your word processing program. (If you don’t have one, you can register for Google Docs for free, or download the free software package OpenOffice (a big download, but it rivals Microsoft Office for features)
  • Paste the text into a new blank document (CTRL + v) or right-click, select paste
  • Decide whether to print out the text in a larger font. 14 or 15 point is great for reading aloud
  • Now do some judicious editing: Make sure the beginning of the reading makes sense in context – if not, you could write in a few words to provide context. Remove unessential linking phrases like “After these things” and edit out all the “then he said” (and similar) text that you wouldn’t normally read in a script.
  • Make sure that you create enough paragraphs for legibility
  • Now there are some options for indicating who reads what:
  1. Print out the copies you need, and use a highlighter to indicate each person’s lines OR
  2. If you have only a small number of parts, you can select the text for each part and use underlining for one voice and bold for another voice and italics for yet another voice (&c) – leaving the narrator’s part in plain type
  3. If you are using a colour printer, you can use different colours instead or even as well – but check for colour legibility.

Once you get used to this, it is a ten-minute job.

TIP: If you are having problems getting readers of scripture to stop fumbling about in Bibles and reading the wrong bits and including paragraph headings and other crimes of liturgy, providing nice big print lections (readings) can save your remaining sanity and that of the congregation!!!

See the next Posting for an example dramatised reading for Easter 3

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

An idea for preaching this Sunday: being locked in

Snippets originally from:

The Risen Christ

As Craig Barnes once noted, the fact that on that first Easter evening the disciples were all locked-up and huddled in a room somewhere is emblematic of so much of our lives even to this day. Fear of this or that, anxiety over some aspect of life, makes us lock up the door of our hearts. All of us are familiar with locks. Every door of our houses has a lock. We put sticks in the tracks of our sliding doors so as to make double-sure no one can outwit the door’s normal lock. A front door may have a deadbolt lock and, on top of that, a chain. So every day, and certainly every evening, we click these locks and cinch up these chains and double-check that the windows are also locked. We do this, we think, to keep the world OUT but we all know that sometimes it is also possible to lock ourselves IN.

We have lots of ways to lock ourselves in. We refuse to go out because we’re too ashamed, too blue, or too afraid we will run into so-and-so and, frankly, we can’t stand the thought. Sometimes we stay away from even church for the same reason. We get Caller I.D. on our phones so we can see, well before picking up the receiver, who is calling. And if it’s someone we don’t want to talk to or can’t bear talking to out of shame or fear or whatever, we just don’t answer. Again, we lock ourselves in just as often as we lock the world out.

Shame and fear are cousins. First cousins. If you are ashamed of something that is known already, you are afraid of being seen by people in whose eyes you will catch flickers of disapproval. If you are ashamed of something people do not yet know about, you are afraid that just by being out and about in public, someone will discover it, and it scares you half to death. For every last one of us, there are things we have done whose discovery we fear. For every last one of us, there are things that we simply are that we fear make us unworthy.

If, as John 20 presents it, Easter began with the lamentable sadness of death’s reality in our world, that same day ended with the lamentable sadness of shame. The disciples were ashamed of what they had done, they were ashamed of what their cowardice revealed about who they simply were as men. So they locked the door, telling themselves they were keeping the Jews out when really they were maybe keeping themselves locked in. But then Jesus did what he always does for anyone locked up in his own shame: he comes in anyway. He enters the room, he enters the heart, he breaks into the shame.

John records for us no reaction of the disciples, not initially at least. But he does make clear that Jesus leaves no quarter for fear because he no sooner pops in on them and he says, “Peace to you!” He says it immediately the way he always does. He says “Peace.” He says “Shalom.” He says it’s all right. He speaks a word that is the opposite of fear and so squelches shame, puts away and banishes any thoughts the disciples may have had about Jesus’ bearing a grudge. Jesus never says a word about their past actions, their betrayals and denials. He does not even overtly say, “Forget about it” or “I forgive you.” Instead he gives them a Spirit that tells them, in a way more compelling than words alone, that of course all is forgiven. He even sends them out into the world with a mission of forgiveness. Peace. We think that having a sense of peace means a lack of conflict. But more than that, peace in the sense of “shalom” is that settled sense that everything is in plumb, everything is in its proper place as we are all together webbed into relationships that are mutually edifying and upbuilding.

One of the more famous images of Scripture comes from that line in Revelation when Jesus says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.” Ordinarily when someone knocks at a locked door at your house, you know that it’s up to you to get up and unlock the door and open it. The good news of Easter is that even if you are too afraid to do that, too ashamed or too paralyzed by this or that feature of your own life, the lock won’t stop Jesus. He will appear right in the middle of your locked-up heart and before you even have the chance to say or do a blessed thing, he will say “Peace to you!”

Hear the good news of the Gospel.  Hear it and be exceeding glad!

– Scott Hoezee