Family Service
St. Augustine's

2007 September 30

Key :

instructions for congregation
movements during service
prayers and readings
sections of the service

Other information :

There are some notes on our production of the service.

A rough plan of the church is available.

A note on copyright.


God's Intentions For The Saints ( G I F T S )

Reader We welcome you here in the name of Jesus. May we learn more about God's Intentions For The Saints.
Narrator No collection will be taken during this service. There is a donation box at the back of the church for anyone who would like to give a donation.

If anyone would like the music for our hymns today, please put your hand up and we will bring it to you.

Toilets are between the church and the hall.

Please don't feel embarrassed if the children are a bit noisy, we welcome everyone here.


Reader Our theme for today is G I F T S - that is, "God's Intentions For The Saints", who are you and me.

Our sentence for today is from Luke Chapter 10 verse 27 and it is - Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind; and love your neighbour as you love yourself.

Narrator ( holding up vase and sparklers ) At the end of this play we invite you all to join in the song and follow the gang as they march around the church. Please collect a sparkler to wave as you reach the front. We will go round the church once and then place our sparklers back in the vase - they will be handed out again at the end of the service.

Please be ready to join in as the play finishes.

( LL goes to the front by the centre aisle. When LL is about half way along the aisle, the Gang start from the back and follow faster, just about catching up with LL as he reaches the rail and turns to the congregation. )
LL ( to gang, surprised ) Oh. Ah, Hello. Ummm. We've just begun a Family Service. If you want to talk about something, would you mind waiting for a while ? It won't be very long. Why not settle down and listen ? - You might even enjoy it !
G1 ( scornfully ) Nah. We've come for our gifts.
Gang ( all at once, muttering ) We want gifts. Give us some gifts. Where are the gifts ? We've come for the gifts. We want gifts. Give us some gifts. Where are the gifts ? We've come for the gifts. .... etc.
( LL waves for silence; the Gang slowly subside. )
LL Well, look - I think you might have got the wrong idea. We will be talking about some gifts later, but they're not the sort of thing you seem to have in mind.
G2 ( interrupting ) Don't give us that. Look - all your publicity material says gifts; the service sheet says gifts; we want the gifts.
LL Well, yes, it says "gifts" but it doesn't exactly mean gifts.
G1 ( menacingly ) Nah don't mess us about ...
LL No, really - it's G I F T S - it stands for "God's Intentions For The Saints".
G2 Whaddaya mean, saints ? What saints ? ( Glances at congregation ) All these people look alive. More or less.
G1 You expecting St Augustine to drop in ?
Gang Haw Haw Haw
LL Not really, but we hope he'll approve. We're talking about all God's people - we're all intended to be saints.
G2 Yeah, right ! "Intended to be" is good !
LL Well, there is a bit more to it than that. It isn't a new idea - St Paul wrote about it nearly 2000 years ago. In his letters he often writes "saints" to mean just ordinary Christian people, dedicated to serving God.

So when we talk about "God's Intentions For The Saints", we mean what God wants for the people who love, serve and follow Him.

And that's what the song's about.

G1 Song ? What song ?
LL Oh, come on - everybody knows the song. ( Organist starts softly, about halfway through the chorus ) You know, that song !
G2 Oh, that song ! Are we going to sing it ?
LL Oh yes. I'll sing the lead-in bit, then we all join in and march round the church waving our sparklers.
LL sings

  We are trav'ling in the footsteps
  Of those who've gone before,
  And we'll all be reunited,
  On a new and sunlit shore -

( Towards the end of the verse LL motions to everyone to stand up and join in the march around the church; LL, G1, G2 and Gang collect sparklers as they begin the march.

Narrator brings jar of sparklers to front and hands them out to all the people as they pass, then puts vase on table and joins the end of the procession. )

ALL ( Collecting sparklers as they pass the front )

1.   Oh, when the saints go marching in,
  Oh, when the saints go marching in,
  Oh Lord, I want to be in that number
  When the saints go marching in !

2.   And when the sun begins to shine,
  And when the sun begins to shine,
  Lord, how I want to be in that number
  When the sun begins to shine !

3.   And when the trumpet sounds above,
  And when the trumpet sounds above,
  Lord, how I want to be in that number
  When the trumpet sounds above !

4.   Oh, when the saints go marching in,
  Oh, when the saints go marching in,
  Oh Lord, I want to be in that number
  When the saints go marching in !

All place sparklers in the vase and return to their seats. Narrator returns to lectern area; Comment person comes to lectern. )


Comment person ( when everyone is settled ) God's Intentions For The Saints are that we should embark on a journey of discovery -
-- A journey that leads us to Jesus;
-- A journey that teaches us to love God with our whole being;
-- A journey that encourages us to a life of loving service to our neighbours;
-- A journey that brings us to a place of inward healing and forgiveness where we can love ourselves.

Like any journey, it has its ups and downs, but with the GIFT of God's loving hand guiding us we can complete the journey.

We don't have a map for the journey, but we have some instructions. They're summed up in God's commandment, which is our sentence for today - to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind; and love your neighbour as you love yourself".

That gives us three things to do, and we'll tell you how you can remember them with the three letters ( points to letters on blue curtain ) J, O, and Y.

This also reminds us that God's intention for us is that we should have JOY - and as we practise this commandment of God, He blesses us with His JOY.

The first part of our instructions reads "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind."

We have put J for Jesus, God in human form, on this curtain ( pointing to the blue curtain ); loving Jesus is one way to bring closer God's Intention For The Saints that we should have JOY.



At about the time of Jesus' Birth there was in the world a strange expectation that a special king was to be born. The Roman historian Suetonius wrote, "There had spread all over the Orient an old and established belief, that it was fated at that time for men coming from Judea to rule the world." This belief was also referred to by Tacitus, Josephus and other ancient writers. So it was no surprise that the Magi, the Wise Men who had studied astronomy, philosophy, science and medicine, should come in search of the king following the star they had seen in the east. According to ancient Chinese records there was a spectacular comet with a long tail which appeared in 5 BC and was visible for 70 days. This is the only long-tailed comet recorded by the Chinese in the period 20 BC - 10 AD, hence this comet may be uniquely identified as the Star of Bethlehem. Furthermore the Chinese records tell us the position in the sky where this comet appeared and from this we know that the Wise Men would have seen the comet in the East. Herod himself died in 4BC.

Narrator Please stand to sing the hymn "O worship the King"
( During this hymn stage hand puts vase of sparklers on the altar and removes the table;

Comment person returns to their seat;

In the last verse of the hymn Herod sits on his throne;

Wise men and page ready at back;

Chief priests and leaders at back;

Mary and Joseph ready near front to take up their positions. )

1.   O worship the King all glorious above,
  and gratefully sing His power and His love,
  our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days,
  pavilioned in splendour and girded with praise.

2.   O tell of His might and sing of His grace,
  Whose robe is the light, Whose canopy space;
  His chariots of wrath the deep thunder clouds form,
  and dark is His path on the wings of the storm.

3.   The earth, with its store of wonders untold,
  Almighty, Your power has founded of old,
  established it fast by a changeless decree,
  and round it has cast like a garment the sea.

4.   Your bountiful care what tongue can recite ?
  It breathes in the air, it shines in the light;
  it streams from the hills, it descends to the plain,
  and sweetly distils in the dew and the rain.

5.   We children of dust are feeble and frail -
  in You we will trust, for You never fail;
  Your mercies how tender, how firm to the end !
  Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer and Friend.

6.   O measureless Might, unchangeable Love,
  Whom angels delight to worship above !
  Your ransomed creation with glory ablaze,
  in true adoration shall sing to Your praise !

Narrator Please sit for the story of the Wise Men who Journeyed to Jerusalem then to Bethlehem seeking Jesus the King of the Jews and then went home reJoicing, which is adapted from Matthew Chapter 2 verses 1-12, and can be found on Page 1048 of the church Bibles.

Herod's Palace.

King Herod is about to give an audience to these three Wise Men from the East.

( Narrator extends his hand towards the back of the church inviting the page to lead the Wise Men up the centre aisle. )
Page ( as they reach the altar steps ) Sir, I bring you the three Wise Men from the East, Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar.
( The page goes to stand behind Herod on organ side;

The Wise Men position themselves across the front of the altar on the lower step. They bow slowly and stiffly to Herod. )

Herod ( looking rather bored and indifferent ) I bid you welcome to Judea. Where have you come from ?
Melchior Sir, forgive us for not bowing lower to you but we have been riding our camels for almost two months now and we are very sore and stiff.
Caspar We have come from the East where we have been studying the stars. For it is said that a very important king is to be born.
Herod So what is your purpose in coming to me ?
Balthasar F|PWhere is the one who is to be born King of the Jews ? We have seen his star in the East and have come to worship him.N|F
( Herod suddenly looks disturbed and crafty. He leans towards the men in conspiratorial fashion. )
Herod I think I may be able to help you. ( He summons the page who comes and stands respectfully in front of Herod. ) Bring the chief priests and the leaders of the law here to me.
( The page hurries to the back of the church down the centre aisle, the Wise Men step back from Herod and stand against the wall on the hospital side. The page returns with the chief priests and the leaders who congregate on the bottom step on the Hospital side of Herod. )
Herod ( to the chief priests and leaders ) What I want to know is where is the Christ to be born ?
Chief priests and leaders together In Bethlehem of Judea
Chief chief priest This is what the prophet Micah has written - But you, Bethlehem in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you will come a ruler who is to be the shepherd of my people Israel.
( Herod dismisses them with an impatient wave of the hand. The chief priests and the leaders go to the back down the centre aisle.

Herod waves the Wise Men back into his presence who come and stand between altar and rail in a line. )

Herod ( ingratiatingly to the Wise Men ) When exactly did this star appear ?
Caspar About six weeks ago, Sir.
Herod And you are sure it was in the East ?
Melchior There can be no mistake for we keep very careful records, sir.
Herod My advisers tell me that the child will be born in Bethlehem. Go and make careful search for him. As soon as you find him report to me so that I too may go and worship Him.
Balthasar Certainly, Sir.
The Wise Men go to back down centre aisle.

Herod follows them looking pleased with himself and rubbing his hands.

Stage hand replaces Herod's throne with the manger with baby Jesus in it, and Joseph places a chair for Mary to sit on. Mary sits beside the manger and Joseph stands beside her. )

Narrator Please remain seated as we sing "We three Kings of Orient are".

Please note there will be a pause after each verse. and we'll only sing the chorus after the first and last verse.

( During this verse the Wise Men proceed slowly up the centre aisle, one behind the other, carrying their gifts, Melchior is in front, followed by Caspar, then Balthasar. They move up the first step then stop. )

1.   We three Kings of Orient are;
  Bearing gifts we traverse afar,
  Field and fountain, moor and mountain,
  Following yonder star:

( During the chorus Mary looks at them, smiles and puts her finger to her lips to warn them that the baby is asleep.

They tiptoe a little closer and kneel. )


O - star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.

( The Wise Men stand up and stand in a line from altar to altar rail to one side of the manger.

The organist plays the next verse.

As this verse is being sung Melchior shows his gift to the baby Jesus and places it on the altar then turns to face the congregation. )

ALL ( sitting )

2.   Born a King on Bethlehem's plain
  Gold I bring to crown him again
  King forever, ceasing never
  Over us all to reign.

Melchior I have brought wealth for the King of kings. For this King is lowly and meek. While He is here on earth he will have little.
( Melchior returns to his place in the line.

As this verse is being sung Caspar shows his gift to the baby Jesus and places it on the altar then turns to face the congregation. )

ALL ( sitting )

3.   Frankincense to offer have I;
  Incense owns a Deity nigh.
  Prayer and Praising, All men raising
  Worship Him, God most high.

Caspar I bring frankincense; for He will not only be a king but He will also be a priest to His people, One who builds a bridge between God and people.
( Caspar returns to his place in the line.

As this verse is being sung Balthasar shows his gift to the baby Jesus and places it on the altar then turns to face the congregation. )

ALL ( sitting )

4.   Myrrh is mine; its bitter perfume
  Breathes a life of gathering gloom;
  Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying,
  Sealed in the stone-cold tomb;

Balthasar My gift is myrrh; for He will die for His people.
( Balthasar returns to his place in the line. )
ALL ( sitting )

5.   Glorious now, behold Him arise,
  King, and God, and sacrifice !
  Heaven sings "alleluya";
  "Alleluya" the earth replies

  O - star of wonder, star of night
  Star with royal beauty bright,
  Westward leading, still proceeding,
  Guide us to thy perfect light.

Mary Thank you, sirs. You are very kind.
( Wise men bow in acknowledgement of her thanks. )
Joseph We know you have come a very long way at great cost to see our baby. We feel very honoured by your visit.
Balthasar We have been warned in a dream to return home by a different route.
Melchior We have fulfilled our intention to pay homage to the King of kings.
Caspar What more can anyone want than to fulfil the purpose for which one is called ?
( The Wise Men bow to Mary and Joseph and proceed down the Hospital aisle to the back. )
Narrator Please stand to sing the hymn "He is the King of kings" which we will sing twice.
Omitted for copyright reasons; further details.
During this hymn Mary, carrying 'Jesus', and Joseph go to the back down the centre aisle.

Stage hand moves chair and manger to Hospital side, puts teddy bear and blanket on top step in front of the altar.

ALL COSTUMES OFF and leave in the vestry.

Four friends put sashes on, Jesus puts costume on.

Paralysed man lies down in front of altar partly hiding the teddy bear and blanket;

Comment person moves to lectern;

Villager and four friends wait in lobby;

Actors in their seats ready to move to back at appropriate time;

Jesus in the lobby. )

Narrator Please sit.
Comment person The Wise Men showed their desire to love Jesus by journeying to Jerusalem to seek for the child born to be King of the Jews.

When they found Him they knelt down and worshipped Him;

they gave Him precious gifts.

Like the Wise Men, we too find that, as we seek to love Jesus, we are on a journey. It isn't a journey to new places, but it leads to new ideas of what's important and what isn't, and new ways of thinking about other people.

The Wise Men did not journey alone, and for us too God's intention is that we should journey with one another as we love and serve the King of kings.


Reader - and that brings us back to the second part of our instructions, which reads "Love your neighbour"; that doesn't just mean the folk next door, but other people generally. So we have put the letter O for Others on the curtain ( point to blue curtain ); loving others is another way to bring closer God's Intention For The Saints that we should have JOY.


Narrator The next play is adapted from the story of the fOur friends whO tOOk a paralysed man tO meet Jesus and Opened up the rOOf sO that he cOuld be healed. The story can be found in Mark Chapter 2 verses 1-12 - that's on page 1094 of the church Bibles.
( Villager comes running in from lobby up organ aisle. )
Villager ( excitedly ) Jesus is here ! He has come back to Capernaum, let's all go and meet Him ! He's in that house over there ( points to font area at back of the church ) See - there He is ! ( Jesus moves from lobby to font area ) Come on, everyone - come and meet Jesus !
( Comment person and villagers move to the back, encouraging everyone as they go to come and meet Jesus;

Actors move out of their places and go to the font area encouraging the congregation to go with them. )

Narrator ( if people don't move ) We would like you all to move to the font area so that you too can meet Jesus.
( Don't overdo it.

When hopefully everyone except the paralysed man is in the font area, the four friends ( wearing belts or sashes ) come hurrying in from the lobby and go up the organ side. )

Friend 1 Wow, Jesus has come back ! He's here in Capernaum !
Friend 2 Oh, do hurry up, or there'll be no room for us to see Jesus.
Friend 3 ( as they go across in front of the altar rail ) Oh look ! There's our friend Joe. ( points to paralysed man ) He can't go to see Jesus. What should we do ?
( The friends stop by gap in altar rail. )
Friend 3 Couldn't we carry him ?
Friend 4 What a great idea !
Friend 1 It's a long way, and we're late already, let's keep going.
Friend 2 Oh, do hurry up.
Friend 3 No, I'm serious. I really want to take Joe to meet Jesus.
Friend 4 Yes, do let's carry him.
Friend 1 But he'll be SOO heavy.
Friend 2 And we'll be so late there'll be no room.
Friend 3 to Friend 4 You'll help me won't you ?
Friend 4 Yes, of course I will.
Friend 1 and Friend 2 Oh, I suppose we'll help too.
( The friends go up to Joe. )
Friend 3 Hi Joe, we've come to carry you to see Jesus.
Joe You mean you'll really take me to meet Him ?
Friend 4 Yes, we'll really take you to meet Jesus.
Friend 2 But there'll be no room. We won't be able to get near Jesus at all.
Friend 3 We'll find a way.
Friend 1 How are we going to carry him ?
Friend 3 Let's tie our belts to the corners of his mat and carry Joe on his mat to Jesus.
Friend 4 That's a great idea.
( The friends take off their belts and fumble on the floor around Joe. Joe creeps away down organ aisle to the lobby and the friends pick up the prepared teddy bear and blanket.

They pick the blanket up carefully and walk down the centre aisle.

Half way down the aisle they stop and put the blanket down. )

Friend 1 It's too far, I can't carry him any further.
Friend 2 Yes, my arm and shoulder are really sore.
Friend 4 We can't give up now.
Friend 3 Let's change sides, then the strain will be on a different arm.
Friends 1, 2, and 4 Great idea !
( The friends move round the blanket and pick it up using a different arm, they continue to the back, where they put the blanket down again. Meanwhile the actors have completely surrounded Jesus so there is no way through.

The friends put the blanket down again. )

Friend 2 See, I told you there'd be no room.
Friend 3 There must be a way. You wait here and I'll explore the rest of the house. I know there must be a way.
( Friend 3 goes out to lobby looking for a way in. He stomps up the balcony stairs, pauses and comes running down again. )
Friend 3 I've thought of a way in.
Friends 1, 2 and 4 How ?
Friend 3 We'll get in by the roof. We can easily make a hole in the roof and lower the bed down.
Friend 4 What a great idea ! Come on, let's go.
( The friends pick up the teddy bear and blanket again and carry it out to the lobby.

They go up the stairs to the balcony.

They drop some straw over the centre of the balcony, attach longer ropes to the belts, and let the teddy bear down in front of Jesus; then they peer over the balcony.

Jesus and the crowd adjust themselves to make room for the blanket;

Joe comes creeping in and lies on the blanket. )

Reader Jesus, seeing how much faith the friends had, said to the paralysed man :
Jesus My son, your sins are forgiven.
Reader Some teachers of the Law who were there thought to themselves, "How does he dare talk like this ? This is blasphemy ! God is the only one who can forgive sins !" Jesus knew what they were thinking so He said to them :
Jesus Why do you think such things ? Is it easier to say to this paralysed man "Your sins are forgiven ?", or to say "Get up, pick up your mat, and walk ?" I will prove to you, then, that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins."
Reader So He said to the paralysed man :
Jesus ( to Joe ) I tell you, get up, pick up your mat, and go home !
Reader While they all watched, the man got up ( Joe gets up ), picked up his mat ( Joe picks up his mat ) and hurried away ( Joe starts off up centre aisle ).
( The friends come running down the stairs, rush into the church and hurry after Joe. At the front of the church, they all hug one another excitedly. )
Friend 3 Come on now - we must go and mend the roof.
Joe I'll come too !
( Joe and the friends hurry up organ aisle and out into the lobby. )
Narrator Please return to your places to sing the hymn "Brother, sister let me serve you".
( During this hymn the comment person comes to the lectern, stage hand moves three chairs with a handbag on each to the middle step in front of altar. )
Omitted for copyright reasons; further details.
Narrator Please sit.
Comment person In the story of the four friends we find out more about God's Intentions For The Saints.

For He encourages us while we're on our journey to help one another, even if we would rather be doing something else.

The friends really wanted to hurry and meet Jesus. But instead they chose to help their friend to meet Jesus, too.

As they chose to help their friend they drew closer together, and their relationship with each other and with Jesus was deepened.

We, too, if we choose to help each other, rather than selfishly pursuing our own desires, find that our relationship to each other and to Jesus deepens and deepens.

As we continue on this journey of loving Jesus and loving others we find that our own feelings can stand in the way.


Reader The third part of our instructions reads "as you Love yourself." Perhaps that's a bit more surprising than the others - we're not so used to being encouraged to think about ourselves !

But see what it says : "Love your neighbour AS you love yourself". That's not saying that you should put yourself first; it's saying that you should put your neighbour on the same level as you.

And that's not much good if you don't much care for yourself -

So we have put Y for Yourself on this curtain ( pointing to the blue curtain ) to remind us all of yet another way to bring closer God's Intention For The Saints that we should have JOY.


 - but don't overdo it ! Remember that if You love Your neighbour as You love Yourself, then You must love Yourself as You love Your neighbour.

Reader This reading is taken from 1 Corinthians Chapter 13 verses 4-8, and is found on Page 1279 of the church Bibles.

Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud; love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; love does not keep a record of wrongs; love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth. Love never gives up; and its faith, hope and patience never fail. Love is eternal.

Preacher Message
Narrator Please stand to sing the hymn.

At the end of this hymn we invite people to come forward to these chairs. On each chair you will find a handbag with a mirror in it. We invite you to sit in the chair and, if you so desire, to look in the mirror and say something special to yourself or to God or to both. Don't hurry, but when you have finished go quietly back to your seat and then someone else may sit in that chair.

Organist starts CD player, or organist plays hymn.

Love, love, love makes people happy
Love, love, love makes people free.
Love makes people do
the things they know they ought to do
Love is doing things for you and me.

We need more love
it's easy to see
We need God's love
That's the way it should be.

Repeat the first stanza.

Organist continues playing softly or turns CD lower but leaves it playing until the chairs are empty. Then stops CD player or playing the tune.

Pray-er 1, Pray-er 2, Pray-er 3 to lectern.


Narrator Let us pray.
Pray-er 1 Love the Lord Your God :

Lord God, teach us how to love You more and more. Teach us how to receive Your love so that Your love may fill our whole beings with praise and adoration for You. Amen.

Pray-er 2 Love others :

Lord God, give us eyes to see the needs around us, and words and actions to meet these needs in loving and meaningful ways. Lord God, teach us to pray for peace throughout the world, for the peace that You alone can give and help us to sow Your peace in our lives, our families and our neighbourhoods. Amen.

Pray-er 3 Love yourself :

Lord God, teach us to love ourselves. Set us free from past hurts so that they no longer weigh us down in misery. Show us through Your love how to forgive ourselves and others. Help us to acknowledge, forgive and let go of the wrongs we do, so that we can once again love ourselves and one another. Amen

Together we sing -

ALL Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come, Your will be done, in earth, as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread;
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil,
for the Kingdom, the power, and the glory are Yours, now and for ever.

as Helpers get sparklers from altar and hand them out to everyone.

Narrator Our helpers will now hand out the sparklers which we invite you to wave as we sing our last hymn "Joy is the flag flown high from the castle of my heart", which we will sing twice.
( when the sparklers have been handed out ) Please stand.

1.   Joy is the flag flown high
  From the castle of my heart,
  From the castle of my heart,
  From the castle of my heart;
  Joy is the flag flown high
  From the castle of my heart,
  When the King is in residence there.

2.   Let it fly in the sky -
  Let the whole world know,
  Let the whole world know,
  Let the whole world know,
  Let it fly in the sky -
  Let the whole world know,
  That the King is in residence there.

Narrator Please remain standing for the Blessing.



We invite you to join us for a cuppa in the Hall at the end of this service.

People at back to hand out JOY cards.