Other information :
There are some notes on our production of the service.
A rough plan of the church is available.
A note on copyright.
|Leader||We welcome you here in the name of Jesus ! May we learn more about "living like Jesus" as we hear more about the life of St Francis of Assisi.
Our theme for today is "Living like Jesus".
Our sentence for today is from John Chapter 8 verse 12 :
Jesus said : "I am the light of the world; whoever follows Me will have the light of life and will never walk in darkness".
Please stand to sing hymn 6 :
"All creatures of our God and King"
- number 6
"All creatures of our God and King"
- number 6.
|------ HYMN -----|
|Leader||From the New Zealand Prayer Book Page 404 :
Grace and peace to you from God;
|ALL||God fill you with truth and joy.|
|Leader||The Lord be with you;|
|ALL||The Lord bless you.|
|Leader||This is the day which the Lord has made;|
|ALL||Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
|Leader||Jelly Bean time !|
|Mother with knitting comes to sit in chair in front of altar with 'baby' in cot/bassinet next to her.|
The Story of St Francis of Assisi :
|St Francis was born in the hill town of Assisi in 1181 and died in 1226.|
|Father comes up centre aisle;
Mother drops knitting and runs down centre aisle. ( Don't start until Father is quite close to the third pew. )
|Mother||Pietro, oh Pietro, you're safe home at last ! Dear husband, I'm so glad to see you, I've missed you so much.|
|Mother and Father meet by second or third pew.|
|Father||It's so good to see you, wife. You look well !|
|Mother||Thank you, I'm well. Come quickly and meet your new son !|
|Father and Mother dash eagerly to bassinet and admire the 'baby'. Father picks him up and cuddles him.|
|Father||What a strong, handsome boy !|
|Mother||Yes, isn't he ? I've called him Giovanni.|
|Father (amazed)||Giovanni ?|
|Mother||Yes, you know, Giovanni - John, after John the Baptist.|
|Father (loudly)||WHAT ! ! John the Baptist ! NO ! No son of mine is going to be a man of God. MY son is going to be a man of business, a cloth merchant, like me ! (points to his chest) I will not have him named for a saint !|
|Mother||But he's already been baptised Giovanni !|
|Father (firmly)||His name is Francesco.|
|Mother||Very well, if you insist, although I do like the name Giovanni - but, yes, Francesco seems appropriate considering your love of all things French, including me !|
|Father and Mother carrying 'baby' walk down centre aisle to back.
Stage hand moves bassinet and chair to Hospital side.
|Leader||Francis was a happy child, a dreamer who was loved and spoilt by everyone. He didn't do well at school, but was a born leader and with the wealth provided by his father he led a carefree life. He became the leader of a crowd of young people who spent their nights in wild parties. He had no intention of going into either business or the church.|
Francis longed to be a noble, a knight winning glory for himself. He felt the best place to win the glory and prestige he longed for was on the battlefield.
|Francis comes down Hospital aisle looking very sad and horrified, and stands between altar rails facing the congregation.|
|Francis to himself||Ugh ! Ugh ! ( shudderingly )|
How can they ? How can anyone even consider going to them - let alone feeding them - and calling them their friends ?
Those people are repulsive - dirty - diseased - leprous !
They make me sick !
|His friends come laughingly down the centre aisle. As they walk, they speak all at once, loudly saying phrases randomly chosen from the list below and continuing until they reach the front :|
|Friends|| How are you ? Ha ha ha !|
or He he he ! What a story !
or Did you know that ? Hoo hoo hoo !
or Ho ho ho ! Have you heard ?
|When the friends reach the front, they separate to stand on each side of Francis, facing the congregation.|
|Friend 2 to Francis||What's the matter ?|
|Francis||I've just seen some lepers. Someone was giving them bread. Seeing diseased people like that always upsets me, and the thought of helping them sickens me. I could never touch one of them.|
|Friend 2||Yes, I'd hate that too. But cheer up !|
|Friend 1 to Francis||We've some good news !|
|Francis||What news ?|
|Friends ( joyfully )||We're at war !|
|Francis ( excited )||War ? who are we fighting ?|
|Francis||Oh, that's wonderful ! Who's going with me to fight in this war ?|
|Friends||We are !|
|Francis||Now's my chance to win glory and honour and meet the nobility - great !|
|Francis and friends go to back down centre aisle.|
|Leader||Let us pray.|
We thank You, Father, for the gaiety and enthusiasm of young people.
We pray that You would guide them to use this enthusiasm to extend Your Kingdom rather than the kingdoms of this world.
We thank You for all peacemakers and pray that they may work together to bring peace to this world.
We thank You for Your peace that passes all understanding. Amen.
Please stand to sing hymn 911 :
"When Jesus was my age He played with His friends" - number 911.
"When Jesus was my age He played with His friends"
- number 911.
|------ HYMN -----|
|Buyer 2 with money in his pocket in fifth pew organ side, Buyer 1 in front pew Hospital side with money in his pocket.
God goes to balcony during this hymn;
Francis's conversion to Christianity.
In the war, many of Francis's friends died. Francis himself was captured; he was imprisoned with others from wealthy families, and they were kept in a dungeon until someone paid a ransom for them. So Francis spent a year in prison with nobles and other wealthy people. We are told that Francis remained cheerful throughout this ordeal.
|Francis and friends come up centre aisle.|
|Francis to his friends||Well. That was a mission. But life is full of surprises and - well - I did go to war and meet some nobles. And, see, I'm still alive - free as a bird - happy as a lamb among daffodils. Let's party, guys !|
|Leader||One day when Francis was fully restored from his time in prison these same friends were out with him.|
|Friend 1||Hey, what's this ?|
|Friend 2||What ?|
|Friend 1||Look - this poster on the wall !|
|Friend 3||Why, they're preparing for another crusade !|
|Francis||At last ! Now I really can be a knight ! Oh, what glory ! Come on, guys - let's go and enlist. Oh, the glory ! Oh, what glory !|
|ALL||We're off, we're off, we're off to the crusade !|
|Leader||So the friends went off once again, this time to join the crusade.|
|Francis and friends put on armour - shields, swords and cloaks, from under the altar rail.|
|Leader||Soon they set off, provided with all they needed - armour, horses, etc.|
|Francis and friends march round the altar rail on the organ side, then lie down in front of the altar for the night and go to sleep.|
|Leader||But Francis's journey lasted only one day -|
- for that night he had a dream in which God told him :
|God from balcony||Francis, you've got it all wrong !|
|Leader||The next morning as they were all sleepily eating their breakfast -|
|Friends and Francis wake up rubbing their eyes and sleepily eat their breakfast.|
|Leader||- Francis said -|
|Francis to his friends||Sorry, guys. I'm not coming with you.|
|Friend 3||Not coming ?|
|Francis||No. God appeared to me in a dream last night and told me I'd got it all wrong. I'm going back to Assisi.|
|Friends go to back down Hospital aisle.|
|Leader||Francis gave away his armour, fancy gear and horses to a poor knight, -|
|Francis strips off his armour and leaves it on the floor.|
|Leader||- and returned home in the poor knight's poor clothes. He was met with jeers and scorn.|
|Jesus hides behind altar.
As Francis walks around altar rails (organ side) :
|ALL||Ha, ha, ha ! Look at him ! Some crusader he is !|
What's he doing, coming home the very next day ?
Scaredy cat ! Ha, ha, ha !
|Father comes down centre aisle; they meet between altar rails.|
|Francis||Father, I've had a dream. I dreamed that God spoke to me and told me I was doing everything wrong : I shouldn't be chasing glory and knighthood, but I should become a man of God.|
|Father (furiously)||No son of mine will be a man of God ! You will work with me in my business !|
And where's all your gear, the expensive armour and the grand horse ? Where are they ?
|Francis||I gave them away, for I didn't need them.|
|Father (in a rage )||Gave them away ? What a waste ! We could have sold them and got some of our money back.|
You must work even harder now to repay all the expense I went to in providing you with armour.
To work, young man !
|Francis and father go to back down centre aisle glaring at one another.|
|Leader||So, just as Jesus was obedient to His Father and became a carpenter, so Francis was obedient to his father and became a cloth merchant. He turned out to be a very good business man.|
But every spare moment that Francis had, he would go to a nearby cave to pray.
One day while Francis was riding through the fields he met a leper.
|Leper comes hobbling up centre aisle and sits on top step between Lectern and altar.
Francis comes riding up centre aisle, sees the leper, points to him and begins to shudder.
|Francis||( pointing to the leper ) Oh ! A leper ! Oh, how I loathe anything dirty or diseased. Uggh !|
( short pause; continue thoughtfully )
But I have given up the old way of life. Now I am a free man.
|Francis "gets off his horse" and goes slowly up to the leper.|
|Francis||Greetings, my brother !|
|Francis bends down and kisses the leper's hand.|
|Leper||Greetings ! And thank you, thank you for touching me !|
|Leper kisses Francis's hand.|
|Francis joyfully||Oh, the joy ! What joy I have !|
|Francis runs across to organ aisle singing happily;|
Leper goes to back down Hospital aisle.
|Leader||On another occasion as Francis was wandering through the fields he found an old church, the church of San Damiano.|
|Francis comes from organ side to centre and points to altar.|
|Francis||Why, look at that old church ! It's a real mess. I wonder what the inside is like ?|
|Francis mimes pulling open a door and walks up a step towards altar and kneels.
|Jesus from behind altar||Francis !|
|Francis||Yes, Lord ?|
|Jesus||Repair My church !|
|Francis||Who, me ?|
|Jesus||Yes, Francis, you. I want you to repair My church.|
|Francis looking about him||You want me to repair all this mess ? Yes, Lord. I'll repair Your church.|
|Francis wanders around picking up 'stones' from by the altar and building a wall between lectern and altar.
Man, wearing cloak, ready at Hospital side.
As Francis continues work on the 'wall' :
|Leader||Francis, thinking God meant him to repair the little church of San Damiano, began to buy stones and started rebuilding the walls.
To pay for the stones he sold some of his father's cloth.
|Francis||I must get some more money to buy more stones. What can I do ?|
I know. I could sell some of my father's cloth ! He won't mind - after all, it's for a good cause !
|Francis hurries over to rolled up bundles of cloth at organ side, by the first step.|
|Francis||Now who likes this sort of cloth ? I know just the buyer !|
|Francis hurries to Buyer 1 in front pew Hospital aisle. Buyer 1 stands up.|
|Francis to Buyer 1||Sir ! Look at this beautiful cloth. It is just right for you !|
|Buyer 1||Yes, I love this cloth ! I'll buy it.|
|Buyer 1 gives Francis some money. Buyer 1 sits down.
Francis moves towards back saying :
|Francis||Now, who would like this roll of cloth ? Ah - he would !|
|Francis hurries to Buyer 2 in 5th pew Organ side. Buyer 2 stands up.|
|Francis||Sir - look at this cloth ! It has just arrived from overseas. Would you like to buy it ?|
|Buyer 2||I would love to buy it.|
|Francis hands the cloth to Buyer 2 who gives him some money. Buyer 2 goes to back, Buyer 1 goes to back. Bishop, wearing cloak, goes to front Hospital side.
Francis walks up centre aisle rattling the money and saying -
|Francis||Stones, more stones, money for more stones !|
|Francis goes to organ, puts the money on the organ, and carries a pile of stones to the wall and adds more stones to the wall.
Father comes down Hospital aisle and meets Francis in centre front of altar rail. Mother trails behind father and stops halfway down centre aisle.
|Father||What's this I hear about you selling cloth for your own project ?|
|Francis||I need money to buy stones so I can repair the church.|
|Father ( astonished )||But this is MY money. This cloth is MY cloth. What madness is this that you think you can sell MY cloth and use MY money to repair that old church ?|
|Francis||I was praying there one day and Jesus told me to repair His church.|
|Father ( angry )||What ! This is robbery ! You steal from your own father to follow some fantasy you say is from God !|
|Francis||It's not fantasy. Jesus truly spoke to me. I must do what Jesus tells me to do.|
|Father ( furious )||Not with MY money, you don't.|
I told you no son of mine is going to be a man of God;
I disown you !
Come to the Bishop right NOW !
|Leader||So Pietro dragged Francis to the Bishop -|
|Father drags/pulls Francis to Hospital side to confront Bishop just in front of lectern, Mother follows weeping bitterly.|
|Leader||- and announced to the Bishop -|
|Father to Bishop||I disown this man ! He is no longer a son of mine. He claims that GOD told him to rebuild His church ! He's been using MY money to buy stones to rebuild the church at San Damiano. I demand he returns ALL the money he has stolen from me !|
|Bishop to Francis||Francis, it was very wrong of you to steal from your father. You must return to him all that is his. If God wants you to repair His church He will provide what you need.|
|Francis to his father||You are no longer my father. I return everything to you that is yours including these clothes I am wearing.|
|Francis strips off his clothes, throws them at his father's feet.|
|Francis to his father||You have said that no son of yours is to be a man of God.|
But God has called me and I must follow His call and become a man of God. Just as Jesus was misunderstood by His relatives and left His home to do God's work, so I leave my home to do God's work too.
|The Bishop, very agitated, wraps his cloak around Francis.|
|Bishop||Someone bring this man something to wear !|
|Man takes off cloak and puts it round Francis and returns Bishop's cloak to him.
Francis goes to back down centre aisle.
Bishop, man, Mother and Father go to back down Hospital aisle.
|Leader||Let us pray.|
Lord Jesus, forgive us for the times when we get things wrong.
|ALL||Forgive us, Lord.|
|Leader||Show us how to put things right.|
|ALL||Show us, Lord.|
|Leader||Guide us to do Your will, Lord, and to follow Your way.|
|ALL||Guide us, Lord. Amen|
|Leader||Please stand for hymn 686 :
"Through all the changing scenes of life"
- number 686.
|Jesus returns to seat.
During the last verse : robbers go up Organ aisle and robbers go up Hospital aisle to the altar rail, ready to attack Francis.
Beggee 1, with money in his pocket goes to sit in the fifth pew ( from the front ), Beggee 2 goes to sit in the front pew.
|------ HYMN -----|
So Francis went joyfully on his way into the freezing woods singing, filled with the joy of serving God.
|Francis comes up centre aisle.|
|Francis||Free at last !|
Free to follow Jesus !
Free to live Jesus's way !
|As he reaches the altar rail he is attacked by robbers;
Robbers come rushing at Francis from both sides, beat him; robber grabs the cloak and robbers run to back down centre aisle, leaving Francis lying on the floor.
When they reach the back they turn and say :
|Robbers||That's got rid of him ! He won't be singing after that beating.|
|Leader||But still he got up singing.|
|Francis gets up painfully, goes to back staggering a little but singing happily.|
|Leader||He came to a monastery where he was given clothes and a job, which eventually brought him to Gubbio, where a friend recognised him and gave him a proper tunic, belt and shoes. He finally returned to the little church of San Damiano and was welcomed by the priest there. Francis continued to repair the church, and he spent his time begging for money to buy stones.|
|Francis comes down centre aisle, stops at fifth pew from front, and asks Beggee 1 :|
|Francis||Please give me money to buy stones ! I need it to rebuild the San Damiano church.|
|Beggee 1 stands up, searches in his pockets, hands him a small coin.|
|Beggee 1||That's all I have to spare !|
|Beggee 1 sits down.
Francis goes to Beggee 2 in front pew.
|Francis||Please give me money to buy stones for the church !|
|Beggee 2||Not I ! You're only a beggar, you'd spend it on drink.|
|Francis continues building the wall between lectern and altar.|
|Leader||Gradually the church was repaired as Francis patiently carried on with his God-given task.
Francis always treated people with respect, and encouraged them to return to God and be obedient to God and the Church.
Gradually companions joined him.
|Brother 1 comes down centre aisle carrying some stones and helps build the wall.|
|Leader||These companions wanted to follow the same life style - sleeping rough, living simply and, if they hadn't been given any food, begging for scraps to eat, although they preferred to work for their food rather than beg.|
|Other Brothers join Francis at the wall.|
|Leader||Eventually Francis and his followers restored three churches.|
When the little group grew to twelve people, Francis knew he needed to formalise their way of living.
So he and one of the other Brothers set off for Rome to visit the Pope.
|Francis and Brother 1 go to back down centre aisle;
Other Brothers go to back down Hospital aisle.
|Leader||Let us pray.|
Thank You, Jesus, that You desire that each one of us should follow Your way.
Thank You that Francis heard Your call and followed Your leading.
Help us, too, to choose to follow You.
Be our guide, be our redeemer, be our Lord, we pray. Amen.
Please stand to sing hymn 437 :
"Make me a channel of Your peace"
- number 437.
"Make me a channel of Your peace"
- number 437.
|Reader to lectern.|
|------ HYMN -----|
Francis based his ideas for the brotherhood on the following reading -
|Reader||This reading is taken from Matthew Chapter 10 verses 5, 7 -10 and 16 - page 1059 of the church bibles.|
The Mission of the Twelve disciples -
Jesus gave His twelve disciples these instructions - "Go and preach,'The Kingdom of heaven is near !' Heal the sick, bring the dead back to life, heal those who suffer from dreaded skin diseases, and drive out demons. You have received without paying, so give without being paid. Do not carry any gold, silver, or copper money in your pockets; do not carry a beggar's bag for the journey or a spare shirt or shoes or a walking-stick. Workers should be given what they need. Listen ! I am sending you out just like sheep to a pack of wolves. You must be as cautious as snakes and as gentle as doves. Hear what the Spirit is saying to the church.
Listen ! I am sending you out just like sheep to a pack of wolves. You must be as cautious as snakes and as gentle as doves.
Hear what the Spirit is saying to the church.
|ALL||Thanks be to God !|
|Reader returns to seat.|
|Leader||Once in Rome, Francis and the other Brother were questioned by Cardinal Colonna, who fully approved of them - whilst others thought their rules were too harsh.|
After some discussion, the Pope granted their request, and the small band officially became "Brothers minor".
Many people felt that their rules of POVERTY, PREACHING and HARD WORK were too hard to follow, but others flocked to join them. Francis himself in later years felt that some of the rules had been too harsh, especially those that caused the body to deteriorate beyond its ability to continue with manual labour.
|Stage hand moves table to between altar rails.|
Preacher picks up basket of crosses and holds one up to show to congregation.
|Preacher||The cross of St Francis is a "Tau Cross" - we have some pictures of it here, and on the back there is the "Prayer of St Francis".|
A cross of this shape is called a "Tau" cross. There are three knots on the cord which stand for the three rules that the Franciscans followed - namely preaching, poverty and hard work.
I will now pray over these crosses; then we invite you to come and take one as a sign of your willingness to follow Jesus and His teachings as He leads and directs you.
|Preacher picks up basket of crosses and blesses them, then places basket on table between altar rails and sits down.
Organist quietly plays "Make me a channel of your peace".
When all who wish to have come forward :
|Leader||Let us join in singing the Lord's Prayer.|
|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 forever. Amen.
|Leader||Please stand to sing our final hymn, 565 :
"Praise, my soul, the King of heaven";
- number 565.
|------ HYMN -----
Those taking part :
Beggee 1, Beggee 2, Bishop, Brothers ( several : 11 ), Buyer 1, Buyer 2, Father, Francis, Friend 1, Friend 2, Friend 3, God, Jesus, Leader, Leper, Man, Mother, Preacher, Reader, Robbers ( several : 7 ), Stage hand.
( Sizes of groups listed are those we used. None of them is critical. We do not have a cast of thousands; most of our actors take at least two parts. )