Being A Bridge-Builder

milo upfor Sunday, January 20, 2013
2nd Sunday after Epiphany
2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Race Relations Sunday
Year C
lectionary focus: Isaiah 62:1-5
props: three adults to be life-size “puppets” and pantomime the opening story as you tell it

Ta-da! Good Morning and Welcome
to our Puppet Performance of Carpenter Story!
Story by singer/songwriter/storyteller David Wilcox
Starring Miss Diana and Miss Erica and Mr. Tom
Narrated and Directed by Me

“I don’t know how long it had been…”(Okay, normally I write word for word the sermon ‘script,’ but this first part is a story by David Wilcox. I received his permission to link to his story which is found on his East Asheville Hardware album. (Many thanks, David!) Click here for the words to the Carpenter Story…but come back for the stage directions and the rest of my sermon.
Stage Directions: Have two adults play the Neighbors and one the Carpenter. At the beginning, the Carpenter stands offstage; Neighbor One and Neighbor Two stand side-by-side facing the children. As you tell the story and say all of the lines, the Neighbors pantomime the actions…smiling as friends…frowning and turning backs on each other as enemies. Neighbor One steps away from the staging area when the Carpenter enters and encounters Neighbor Two. When Neighbor Two steps offstage to ‘get more wood,’ the Carpenter pantomimes building the fence, but don’t make the motions look too much like building a fence or a bridge–just building motions. When Neighbor Two returns with the ‘wood,’ Neighbor One reenters the staging area with hands outstretched and a big smile. As the Neighbors embrace, the Carpenter slowly walks away down the center aisle of the church. You the Narrator say: The neighbor looks over, and the carpenter is walking away, and the neighbor says, “Hey! Hey, I’ve got some more work for ya…” The adult playing the Carpenter turns and speaks (for the first time) loud enough for all to hear, “You’ll be fine…I’m needed elsewhere.” The Carpenter continues out the church doors and the two Neighbors smile and sit arm-in-arm to hear the rest of the sermon.)

Thank you to our life-size puppets for illustrating our story!

This weekend we celebrate the life of one of God’s followers: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Like the carpenter in the story, Dr. Martin was a bridge-builder. But not of real bridges. We call him a bridge-builder because Dr. Martin brought people together. He answered God’s call to remove the walls of fear that separate people. He answered God’s call to make connections of love and to encourage friendships.

In our Bible story today, Isaiah says, For God’s sake I will not keep silent, and for God’s sake I will not rest, until freedom for all shines around the world. Dr. Martin was not silent. Dr. Martin did not rest. We can be like Dr. Martin. We can be like the carpenter in the story. When we see people separated or groups divided, we can answer God’s call; we can speak out; we can work; we can be bridge-builders.

Will you pray with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it.)

Dear Lord,
Thank You
for carpenters
like Dr. Martin.
Help me
to be a bridge-builder
to bring people together.

We are not Christians alone.
My mission is to share, inspire, and encourage.

4 responses to “Being A Bridge-Builder

  1. This is totally brilliant! Thank you so much for this!

  2. Thank you for your resources. I had used the Carpenter Story decades ago when I found it in a Peacemaking resource from the PCUSA, but hadn’t seen it again. Thanks to your site, I found it again, and I will enjoy the “live puppet” presentation. Blessings –

I wonder what you think of this story?

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