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.

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

The Lords Prayer

The Lords Prayer is a set of common words used across the world to pray to God, learn more about him and grow in our faith. As I started to run more and more workshops I recognised that the prayer offered a great opportunity to draw the group together at the beginning and end of a session using movement.

Over a period of time I began to build a set of choreography that could be used along the side the words, which could act as an icebreaker at the beginning of workshops. Moving and saying Gods word together.

Since then, many people have asked if there was a copy of the movements so they could take it back to their church and their group to share. Since sharing is central to what I do, I finally got round to making an instructional video. Use the movements as a starting point and add your own flavour or feeling to what is already there. Each of us pray differently and each of us move differently, so the movements are not necessarily one size fits all. They are however accessible to all ages and abilities and can be adapted as necessary.

We’d love to hear if you do this in your group, and how you get on, so make sure you let us know!