Song of the Bow

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there was a mouse stirring after all

stirring mouse
My packets of  seeds began to disappear
scurrying sounds in my wall I could hear

I tossed and I turnelled
and I planted a handful of sunflower kernels

I sweat and swore
screaming, this mouse would be no more

it was the end, the very very end
for he and him

and I caught him in the kitchen sink
and I tossed him down the disposal,  I think

so I stashed away all the trinkets and traps
for this mouse I thought was the very very last

until his extended family showed up for the funeral
I don’t know why they took it so personal

cinderella mice

I drew a tear and dressed in black
and oh how I wish I had that single mouse back
~ Stacy

• The Story of Prince Johnathan •

the_return_of_the_prodigal_son_[detail]-large

WELCOME and happy Sabbath. Today, we will hear a story from the Bible. Take a moment to clear your mind, to listen imaginatively, and to let yourself enter into and experience the story.

CAFE QUESTIONS: Have you ever won a ribbon, trophy, or an award? How did you feel about your success? What does your background check look like? Who’s son are you? Was your father fair? What’s the most dangerous weapon in your home, and would you use it? Have you ever felt you should have given more, laughed more, and £oved more?

MUSIC & HYMNS:
“Surrounded” by Bethel Music

PSALMS responsive reading @ Psalms 33:1-17
“Let the godly sing for joy to the Lord; it is fitting for the pure to praise him. Praise the Lord with melodies on the lyre; make music for him on the ten-stringed harp ♪. Sing a new song of praise to him; play skillfully on the harp ♪, and sing with joy. For the word of the Lord holds true, and we can trust everything he does. He loves whatever is just and good; the unfailing love of the Lord fills the earth. The Lord merely spoke and the heavens were created. He breathed the word, and all the stars were born. He assigned the sea it’s boundaries and locked the oceans in vast reservoirs. Let the whole world fear the Lord, and let everyone stand in awe of him. For when he spoke, the world began! It appeared at his command. The Lord frustrates the plans of the nations and thwarts all their schemes. But the Lord’s plans stand firm forever; his intentions can never be shaken. What joy for the nations whose God is the Lord, whose people he has chosen as his inheritance. The Lord looks down from heaven and sees the whole human race. From his throne he observes all who live on the earth. He made their ♥’s, so he understands everything they do. The best equipped army cannot save a king, nor is great strength enough to save a warrior. Don’t count on your warhorse to give you victory – for all its strength cannot save you.”

SCRIPTURE: “I have £oved you even as the father has £oved me. Remain in my £ove. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my £ove, just as I obey my Father’s commandments, and remain in his £ove. I have told you these things that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! This is my commandment: £ove each other in the same way I have £oved you. There is no greater £ove than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:9-13. NLT.

Narrate the BACKGROUND @ 1 Samuel chapters 14-17. NLT.

The Israelites fought constantly
with the Philistines
throughout King Saul’s history

Saul’s sons included Johnathan
who made that first slaughter
against the Philistines’ garrison
for the Lord delivered them
into the hand of Israel

now the Lord rejected Saul
and instructed Samuel
to go to Bethlehem
and find a man named Jessee
and anoint one of his sons to be king

now a giant Philistine champion
shouted a battle cry to Israel
“Give me a man, that we may fight together.”
David answered his cry
and returned from the slaughter
of that Philistine giant
with the head of Goliath

so King Saul asked David
“Whose son are you?”
David answered,
“I am the son of your servant
Jessee, the Bethlehemite.”

David first served as – shepherd
then as – talented harp player
Saul £oved David very much
and David became his – armor bearer.

This is where our story begins. NARRATE the STORY @ 1 Samuel 18:1-16, 19:1-10, twice. NLT.

Let us spend some time to WONDER and Dialogue about this story, and bring any questions or observations we have to the table, including any historical elements, cultural customs, symbolic objects, or key word references, by using the Bible to interpret the Bible. Questions may not necessarily be answered, but will be voiced and raise interest. For example: Why is it, that so many outstanding Biblical characters get so little press? Why didn’t Jonathan answer the Goliath challenge? Will God’s judgement dealings with us be according to our works and what we deserve, or a heart melted with £ove? Johnathan suggests that nothing can hinder the Lord (1Sam 14:6,) but are we, like the Jewish nation, all that God said we would be?

Let us get into the CHARACTERS of the story. Look for Jesus in everyone. Discover Jesus in their story. What do we know about King Saul? What was his reaction to David’s success? He had a spear. What were his fears? What do we know about David? What was his appearance when he was brought into the king’s court with his trophy in hand? What do we know about Johnathan? What did he think about young David’s success? What did Jonathan’s covenant transaction with David cost him? What did the covenant transaction cost David?

What did we learn about GOD in this story? God brings success. God created all things, good and evil. God accepts everyone as equals, and chooses the weak of this world for the essential formation, preservation, and deliverance of his people. God initiates relationship. God is our friend. God’s ideas are not man’s ideas (I’m so glad you don’t think like me, because if you did, it would be a really sad world. So, keep on thinking outside the box.)

What aspects of this story or character foreshadow the GOOD NEWS, especially in relation to what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross and through his resurrection. Look for negative things being lifted and positive things being given, then merge the two ideas into one thought when possible. Validate others thoughts.

• Johnathan £oved David as his own soul. There is no greater £ove than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

• Johnathan stripped himself of royal robe and Kingly crown. For our sake, Christ became poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich. (2Cor8:9)

• Johnathan and David made a covenant. Johnathan lived out the new covenant law of £ove, which Christ writes on our ♥ of stone. That was the best life for Johnathan, devoted friend and humble servant of God, to deny his place as heir to the throne. This is the true story of yours truly, the Prince of Peace!

VISUAL ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Project The Prodigal Son by Rembrandt, on the wall (Luke 15:28-30.) Our eyes are naturally attracted to human features, as in a piece of art. Notice the texture of the father’s hands; first hand firm, second hand gentle. Notice the one bare foot and shaved head of the lost & broken son. Notice the crossed arms and spotless sour grapes of the prodigal brother, defending his merit and works.

The message of a painting can be made stronger by what isn’t seen. The upper left corner invites us to rest our eyes and discover imaginative new layers of emptiness and grace. I have fallen in love with this painting, the parable of the prodigal son, and the story of Johnathan, because I discovered God’s provisions of mercy for me. I can take you on a guided sanctuary processional tour, if you like.

The analogous red color scheme enhances the warm, £oving, and graceful atmosphere of the father’s home and embrace.

Storying EVALUATION: 1. Inductively present 2. Biblical answers validated 3. Did we see Jesus 4. Clear questions 5. Logical flow 6. Affirmations given 7. Low participants encouraged 8. Who did most of the talking

Our goal is to seriously apply this story to our life. Our challenge is to write a prayer, a poem, a song, short story, or create something that EXPRESSes our response and share.

BODY PRAYER:
I wait.
I wait for peace.
I wait for what Jesus promised.
I wait in my schedules, in my agendas, in my life’s routine.
I wait and I extend my hope to believe
that God will deliver me
and I will be made new.
And all creation will be renewed.

POEM:
“My Jewel Crown Prince”
My jewel crown prince
he yielded for the guilty
stripped bare without defense
he loved you more than me, but all of us equally

wrapped me in a robe
of his perfect righteousness
then tied us all together with
a bow of crimson kindness

his first hand was firm
second hand gentle
it was a walk through death
kind of crowning miracle

my God is love stricken
who embraces my entire story
devoted to seeing me experience
all I was created for

~ STACE