This is an example of one of the explanations we use at the start of our services, see my page on creative communication.
Have an empty plastic bottle and take the lid off before the service. Talk about how it is your best friend. Say ‘Look at all the fun we have’, squash it with your hands and then blow into it to reshape it. You can do this several times if you like (hours of endless fun)!
Ask one of the children to come and have a go at squashing it and re-inflate it each time. Eventually it will get so squashed that it won’t easily re-inflate or if it does it will look damaged. Say you have an idea of how to make it better and then either:
- If you have tap water nearby take some of the children with you into the kitchen and fill the bottle with water getting one of them to provide a radio style commentary using a radio mic. Screw the top on tightly and take it back in.
- If you have no easy access to running water, have a prefilled second bottle.
Say you are going to squash it with your hands (you can’t), then ask a child to (they can’t) and then get a child (or adult if you are brave) to stand on the bottle which now can’t be squashed. Talk about the difference before and after and the strength that being full brings (we displayed this fragile unless full picture on the screen as I talked about this). What are we full of? What are we relying on for strength?
Read 2 Corinthians 4.7-9 (words on the screen with an image help). Stress that it is normal to feel fragile but that we can receive strength from God as we let him fill us. If you filled a squashed bottle with water note that the lines and scars are still there, but that the bottle is strong because of the water within.
- Think of a time you felt fragile overwhelmed or stressed. Think about how you felt.
The Holy Spirit is described as living water. Ask him to fill you now and imagine him filling you up.
Think about the time you felt fragile again and think about how being more full of and aware of God’s presence might have made a difference. How might it of changed how you felt and reacted?
Think about the other people involved and pray for them.
Finish praying a simple prayer that we would constantly ask God to be filled by Him.
Remind people that they can talk with yourself or anyone else after the service about any situations they are finding hard to cope with and that you would be glad to pray with them.