Advent Dance – Faith

As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: ‘A voice of one calling in the wilderness, “Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. And all people will see God’s salvation.” ‘ Luke 3.4-6

The second Sunday in advent is all about Faith and the trust that the journey to Bethlehem took.

Everybody’s journey with God takes a different path, it will begin and end at different places, with different challenges, celebrations and circumstances along the way. Mary and Joseph embarked on a journey to Bethlehem, not knowing what lay at the other end, not aware of the impact the child they were carrying would have on the world, even if they trusted that it was Gods Son.

What they did know however was that they had every faith in God and Gods plan. Faith that they had listened to God and were going the right way. Faith that God would smooth the valleys and crooked roads that stood ahead of them.

Christmas can prompt a time of reflection, a time of looking back on the year, what you’ve done, where you’ve been and maybe beginning to look forward to where the next year may go. How many of you look back on the year and can see where God moved, where God made your valleys smooth and straightened your crooked roads?

Reflect

Take a moment and think about a particular part of the last year. On a piece of paper draw or sketch what that part of the year looked like. Think about your peaks and troughs and how you went from each bit in your life to the other. What does it look like? Is it a straight path?

Music suggestion >> Death was arrested <<

Let’s get moving….

With your little map and drawing in front of you. Consider what it might look like to move your journey.

  • Does it have different levels, are there moments of quiet and stillness, fast and craziness, spiralling, rolling?
  • If you knew God was by your side along the way would your movement change at all?

Development Options –

  • If you’re able to work with someone or a group. Have a go at linking your journeys together, or dancing your sequences side by side.
  • How different do they look if you add someone in. Can that person provide support and comfort at moments when you thought there were none?

Activity

Place a blank piece of paper on the wall. That’s the journey that is ahead of you. It’s unknown, it’ll take faith, but God will lead you where you need to go. Place this next to it, if you want to. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth.

Father God,

Help me in those moments on my journey when I know that I’m struggling but can’t see you, feel you or know that you are there. Let me soak in your word and knowledge that you will take me down the pathway that needs to be trodden. Amen.

Advent Dance – Hope

Father,

At this time of year we can get caught up in the hustle and bustle and what seems like the ‘necessities’ of life on earth. Help us to take a moment, catch our breath and recognise the HOPE that we have in you, the HOPE that you have given us, may it be an overflow in our lives. Amen

And again, Isaiah says, ‘The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; in him the Gentiles will hope.’ May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15. 12-13

As Advent begins, each Sunday it’s good to take a moment and realise the important things that we as Christians have. Over the next four weeks I hope to explore each aspect of the advent Sunday candles, with a small focus and some movement ideas for you to try. The first Sunday of Advent focuses on HOPE.

Hope can be seen in many ways. In the world people consider hope to something that they want to happen, or be true. As Christians we don’t wish or hope for something to happen, a Christian knows that their hope is solid, concrete and based on the word of God. In Hebrews 11 it calls it faith in action the ‘confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.’ Like faith, hope can not be moved by circumstance or what the eyes see in the world. Hope is down to your stead fast belief in the one true God.

Romans 15.12-15 will have different meanings to each individual. What stands out to you, what speaks to you and sets your heart moving? With life right now, ‘fill you with all joy’ and ‘overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit’ stirs my heart. To know that God will always want to give an overflow of his spirit and hope and fill me with Joy can be hard, in amongst the chaos and busyness that December starts to bring.

Let’s get moving….

From Romans 15.12-13 pick two or three bits that stand out to you (or your group). Identify some movements that you maybe able to use to express those bits. Development Options:

  • Working with others, add support and ‘help’ to your movements
  • Add direction, level and travel to express how God can overflow into your movement

Reflection

>> Listen – Help from Heaven by Matt Redman << Find a space and take a moment with God. What do you hope for this advent? In what area do you need an overflow of Gods spirit?

As God brings these things to you, choose to write them down so you have an account, if you have a Hope jar, pop it in the jar.

Make a HOPE jar…

Gather a jar and make it your ‘hope’ jar. Turn a negative into a positive and watch God work. When there is something that you ‘hope’ for write it down and put it in there. After a certain amount of time, open up the jar and see how God has been with you through the things that you hoped for. Then maybe start all over again.

To make your own, you will need –

  • Jar with lid
  • Glue gun/ double sided tape or strong glue
  • Bits of ribbon or patterned paper
  • Rectangle to write ‘HOPE’ on
  • Whatever else you make want to decorate it.
  • Pieces of paper ready to write your ‘hopes’ on.

Once you’ve gathered your bits, it’s entirely up to you how you want to decorate it.

I pray that over the next, you will have an overflow of realising the hope that God has for you, and for all your circumstances in your life. Join me next week when we’ll talk about faith.

Prayer Jars

One of the things I love about teaching children, is how they soak up information and are keen to try and put it into practice. Our children’s workshops are as much about dancing as they are about finding creative ways to pray and continue the prayers once home. A great way to do this is with prayer jars.

What you need – 

  • Jars
  • Glue
  • Tissue paper
  • Ribbons
  • stickers
  • Anything else you’d like to use to decorate

Once you have all the bits, cover your work area, put aprons or old t-shirts on the children if necessary and then let them loose! Whilst they are decorating talk to them about some of the things that they might pray about, things to be thankful for, what they are afraid of, friends or family that might be sick. Encourage them once home to write it down, or draw it on paper and put it into the jar – doesn’t need to be complicated, just a few words – it’s their act of praying and giving it to God. After a set amount of time (6 months to a year) they can then empty the jar and talk about all that God has done though their prayers.

Prayer Jars – Aug 2016

He’s got a Big, Big Heart

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Big Big Heart Prayer activity

Sometimes we need to know how much God carries us in his heart. This is a simple activity that you can do to help with reflection.

What you need:

  • Big heart drawn onto a piece of card
  • A mat or cloth to put on the floor in case of spillages
  • Different paints and brushes or sponges
  • Wet wipes to clean and a bin for dirties
  • Optional – felt hearts that people can take away with them, rope or something to mark out a big heart on the floor.

Invite participants to paint their hand and when they are ready print their hand inside God’s heart. There is the option if they wish to write their name in their hand in the heart, they could also choose to print a hand and write names of people who need to know they are in Gods heart too. Once they’ve done their hand print they can move into the heart drawn out on the floor and sit or stand inside Gods heart. When and if they feel ready they can then move and choose to dance right inside Gods heart.

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Hand prints in Gods heart – Dance Retreat 2016