Meet the king -
Me: OK, I think we’ve had enough of all that now.
Sam: [nods head vigorously
- ie implying yes]
Me: Yes, I think that all the children and go and sit down now.
Sam: [Still looking around indignantly]
Me: Great. Well thanks Bryony and thanks to all the children [of all ages] for taking part.
Sam: What’s going on here then?
Me: O Hello, didn’t spot you there. What’s your name.
Sam: Who’s asking.
Me: Well my name’s Malcolm and I work here.
Sam: [Slightly aggressively] What’s occurring then? What’s that rubbish dance thing all about?
Me: O that. Well we were just doing an illustration. An illustration for my talk.
Me: What do you mean, stupid?
Sam: Stupid stupid stupid. That’s what I say. Stupid.
Me: What’s stupid?
Sam: That funny dance thing. That’s what’s stupid. Anyway. What talk? What are you talking about, talking about doing a talk, right?
Me: Sorry, you’ve lost me.
Sam: What’s occurring here? What’s going on? Why are all these people here waiting for you to start talking?
Me: Well in a minute, we’re going to have a Bible reading, and then I’m going to explain it to everyone who’s here.
Sam: [Dismissively] Bible reading! Isn’t that the kind of thing they do in churches?
Me: Exactly. I’m a Minister; this is a church. And in a minute, we’re going to have a look at the Bible.
Sam: [flustered] I’m in a church! [looks extreme right and then extreme left quickly] Someone might have seen me. I’m out of here. [Quick exit]
Well sadly, that’s how lost of people react to Jesus. Nowadays it’s OK to be spiritual. But it’s uncool to be into Jesus. It’s uncool to go to church. Maybe you’re only here because someone dragged you along. But already you’re thinking about the football or Sunday lunch or whatever.
Boys and girls. Who’s ever said they don’t like
it when their mum’s tried to get them to eat some food, maybe a vegetable
like Brussels Sprouts? Well my daughter Bethan
would/ should have her hand up, and I suspect lots of the rest of you should as well. Because children often decide they don’t like something without even trying it, don’t they. [Is there anybody out there?]
But we adults are just the same. How many of us have made our minds up about something, without really looking into it? And maybe you’ve done that with Jesus. Jesus is for kids, wimps and women. But it’s not for me, you might have said to yourself.
Well a few years ago, some market research people did an experiment in a City Centre. A man stood by a station entrance handing out leaflets. And the leaflet said this: if you take this leaflet back to the person who gave it to you, they’ll give you a fiver. And someone stood there all day giving out hundreds of leaflets, but only a handful of people came back to claim their fiver. Most people either refused to take the leaflet or threw it away without reading it. Now that’s what I call stupid – missing out on a free fiver!
Well the Bible claims that Jesus is the king – and there’s much more at stake than a fiver. We’re talking about heaven and hell. And so the issue is: what do we make of J’s claim to be the King. [mini-pause]
And speaking of kings, who’s this?
[PP slide of queen]
[Sam’s head appears in pulpit for a few second, and then disappears for a few seconds, then Sam comes up completely]
[Me engaging with kids getting answer: Queen]
Me: So what’s special about Kings and Queens?
Sam: [Loudly] Nothing!
Me: O Hello again. What do you mean there’s nothing special about the queen?
Sam: Sack her. That’s what I say. Sack her.
Me: Why? What’s wrong with the Queen?
Sam: She owns half the country and we’re paying for her to swan around and do visits all over the place. Waste of space. Sack her. Sack e’m all. Royal Family’s rubbish, that’s what I say.
Me: So you’re a republican then?
Sam: Don’t you accuse me of being to into George Bush?
Me: I didn’t.
Sam: [dismissively] Whatever! [looking away from me around congregation, sort of fake disinterested.]
Me: Anyway, getting back to the Queen, it’s a bit different nowadays, but in the old days, kings and queens had more authority. That’s the point of a King, if a King says do something, it gets done! The King’s meant to be the RULER - and that means he makes the rules!
NB Me again: well as …… sorry what did you say your name was?
Sam: Didn’t say did I.
Me: So what shall I call you then?
Me: Well as my friend was saying, the Queen makes lots of visits. I’m not sure if she’s visited since, but back in 1999, the Queen came to Hull to open the new lockgates at King George’s Dock. And the beginning of Mark’s Gospel is all about a royal visit. And the Royal visitor was Jesus. 2,000 years ago, Jesus came to a place called GALILEE. Who can remember where Galilee was?
Sam: [jumping in quickly without thinking about what he’s saying]: Northern Israel.
Me: Well done. So did you used to go to Sunday School when you were younger?
Sam: [looking away and speaking nervously hinting at lying]: No. I’m out of here. Taraah. [quick exit]
Me: Well maybe we’ll see more of him later. But getting back to Galilee, as far as the southerners in Jerusalem were concerned, Galilee was the back of beyond. Israel’s Timbuktu. A very unimportant place. But that's where Jesus went first. Jesus was a King. In fact, Jesus was the most important King ever - because he'd come from God. He was the ruler of God's Kingdom. The problem was, nobody knew who he was. He didn't look much like a King.
2 & half years ago my wife and I had our second baby. And we got a nice clean cot for him to sleep in. But who can remember back to Christmas? Where Jesus was born? Where did Jesus sleep the night he was born?
Sam: [Speaking loudly from inside the pulpit without appearing]: In a stinking stable. Stupid!
Me: In a stable, yes, that’s the answer I was looking for. Not a Palace. Jesus was born in a stable. And when he grew up, instead of being bossy, Jesus cared for people.
But Jesus was the most important King ever. And he was waiting for exactly the right time to start telling people all about His kingdom, the kingdom of God. And that’s what we’ll be having a look at later in the service.
Reading: Mk 1:14-20
[Sam appears during the reading, but looking sheepish]
Talk Part II w/ Puppet Sketch
Me: Hello again. So what’s you’re name.
Sam: [caught out, and answering too quickly] Sam.
Me: Sam. [laugh]. Sam. the Cam!
Sam: Are you taking the mick?
Me: There’s no need to get the hump.
Sam: I’ll have you
Me: So you’ve decided to join us have you?
Sam: No. I’m not joining you. I’m just checking you out.
Me: Checking what out?
Sam: I’m checking out what’s cool about what you’re talking about!
Sam: Whatever! [looks away pretending to be cool and disinterested, but turns back to face me when I start talking.]
Me: So boys and girls. Back to the Bible story. So after John the Baptist was put in prison, Jesus made a big announcement to the people. Who can remember what Jesus said?
Sam: [Shakes head]
Me: [Engaging w/ kids]: That’s right: The time is near, Jesus said. The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the Good news.
[memory verse PP slide up]
And we’re going to learn that as a memory verse. So let’s say it together:
Sam: [Looks at screen, then around at congregation and back again, with no mouth movements – ie not joining in!]
Me + congregation: Jesus said, "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news". Mark 1:15
Me: But does anyone know what repent means?
Sam: [sakes head vigorously, then looks at me when I’m talking]
Me: Well “Repent” means “stop going the way you're going and turn around.” “Repent” means “stop ignoring God.” “Repent” means “be sorry for the wrong way you've been going, and come back to God; start going God's way.”
So the people listening to Jesus had to make a decision. Did they believe what Jesus was saying? Would they repent and change the way they were living? Did they really believe Jesus was the King sent by God?
Sam: Stupid. That’s what I say – stupid. See you later. [quick exit]
[NB end of Sam’s involvement – so Robert can ‘exit’ at this point]
Me: And that’s the point isn’t it. Because the sad thing is, lots of people don’t listen to Jesus. And the reason is they want to be their own king. We all want to be the boss of our own lives if we’re really honest.
And if you don’t believe me, let’s just think about it for a while. Jesus is the king of the whole universe, but if you’re at school, then Jesus has made your teacher the boss of your classroom. And Jesus has made your mum and dad the boss at home. So I want you to imagine a situation where your teacher or your dad tells you to do something; but you decide you’d rather do something else; you’d rather carrying on watching TV when dad's said it’s bedtime.
Hands up if you've always done exactly what your parents and teachers have said: first time, with no excuses; no arguing and no delay.
[OK, I’ll ask your parents and teachers later just to make sure you really are perfect]
But the point is, we don't want anyone else bossing us around. We want to be our own King. We want to be boss of ourselves and we don't want anyone else telling us what to do.
But in the Bible reading we had earlier, we heard about some fishermen. And these fishermen stood up and took notice of what Jesus was saying. They had all their gear ready to go out fishing for the day when Jesus turned up on the beech. And Jesus didn’t start talking about football or fishing. No he said: COME FOLLOW ME!" and I’ll make you fishers of men!"
So what did the fishermen do? Here’s a clue [Banner 1 PP on screen]
That’s right, they just dropped their nets on the sand, and they followed
Jesus. They could tell he had authority by the way he spoke. And if the King said follow, they followed. They followed the leader. Just like our volunteers did earlier in our follow the leader game. When Bryony went left, they all went left. When the leader went right, they went right. Follow the leader.
And from that day on, these fishermen followed their leader: King Jesus. And as they watched him, as they learnt from him, they started to understand more and more that Jesus was the King. They understood more and more that they had to trust him and obey King Jesus.
And over the rest of this year in our family services, we’re going to follow these fishermen on their journey of discovery as we go through Mark’s Gospel. Learning together about Jesus the King and what it means to follow the leader; what it means to follow King Jesus.
So why’s this still important for us today you might be thinking? Because Jesus is still the king of the universe. He made each and every one of us here this morning. And Jesus commands each of us to trust and obey him as well. He commands each and every one of us to follow the true leader.
And so to question for all of us this morning is this: are you going to repent and follow King J? Or are you going to ignore Him?
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