God Knows Your Name Luke 10: 1-11, 16-20 Seventh Sunday after Pentecost, July 3rd, 2016 Year C

 

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As you have the children come forward have a large piece of butcher paper and numerous crayons available on the floor. Invite them to write their name on the butcher paper as you begin. (Just first names are fine for time sake.) Say, “When you meet someone for the first time, what’s usually the first thing you tell someone about yourself? Yes, your name! Our names are very important and they help other people talk to us, call us on the phone, email us, send us a card or even a present! Without our names, life could be very confusing, couldn’t it? Our names help people remember what is special about us and us about them. Do we learn and remember names of people who we don’t see very often? No, it’s hard to know the names of people who we don’t go to school with, live in our neighborhood or have never even met! But we learn the names of people who are important to us and we see a lot in our lives. Knowing someone’s name is a way to say “I care about you!”

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In our story today, Jesus sends the disciples out to all kinds of different towns and cities where they will meet all kinds of different people. Jesus reminds the disciples and us, that the most important thing to remember as we go along in our life meeting new people, learning new things, and telling people about God is that God knows our name, everything about us and says that we belong to God. When people don’t like you, or don’t want to even meet you, even though that’s hard, it’s ok because God knows you and your name and says “I care about you!” When we baptize babies, children or adults, we say their name because we know that God is  saying that we all belong to God, God knows us and promises to always call us by name to God.

Besides learning people’s names, how can we tell people that God cares for them? (Accept all answers.) There are all sorts of ways to show God’s love! A few ways we do that as a church are….(Fill in with ministries of your congregation). And you are never too little, young or old to help in one of those activities! As you go back to your seat, I want you to draw a heart around someone else’s name (not your own) to show that God cares for them.

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(Invite the children and the whole congregation to join hands for the prayer. Have everyone hold their hands out with thumbs to the left. Then when you join hands, you are supporting someone’s hand and someone else is supporting you. The true meaning of community!)  Dear Jesus, thank you for caring for us. You know our names and everything about us. Help us to share you love and care with our friends, with our families and with people that we meet. May your peace fill us and the whole earth. Amen.

FaithCross_Worship

Take the sheet of butcher paper with the children’s names on it from children’s sermon and place it on a table with more crayons, markers, etc. Have people write their own name as well as draw a heart around someone else’s name. Invite the congregation to pray for the person whose name they drew a heart around. And to try and meet them if they don’t already know each other!

20130822-223908.jpg +God knows your name and cares for you+

Children’s Sermon – June 10, 2016 – Luke 10:25-37

Prepare: Make a poster (or a use a flip chart) that says “Who is my neighbor” across the top.  If you are doing a worship station, either make the poster two-sided (same on the back) or make two posters.  You will need one for the children’s sermon, and a different one for the congregation.

20130822-223454.jpgInvite the children to come forward with a request for help.  Something like, “I need some of the smartest people in the room to help me answer this question, so please send all the children up here!”

20130822-223633.jpgHave your poster ready to go, and read it to the children. In today’s story about Jesus, someone asks him a pretty easy question, and, to be honest, I think that Jesus just over-thinks it. He launches into this long story about a traveler who gets attacked by robbers, and there are priests and leaders and people we don’t like . . . I just think it’s a mess!

So, let’s see if we can make sense of this question and maybe get a clearer answer than Jesus gave us.  Who is your neighbor?

(write their ideas on the poster as they say them – you can, and should, repeat them for all the people to hear. Go with the flow here, but once things start to calm down, or it seems like a good time to add some complexity go on to the next part.  You’re going to have to ad-lib a little depending on what they have said, what they say, etc.)

OK, so a neighbor is someone who lives next to you? What about across the street? OK, so what about the neighbor of my neighbor, is that my neighbor, too? I have a friend who lives about two blocks away . . . is she my neighbor? What about her neighbors, are they mine, too?

Here’s a tough question – what if all of these people look different from me? What if they have curly hair? Or different colored skin than me? Or what if they are really short, or really tall? What if they like tuna and I think it’s gross?

Boy, the deeper we get into this neighbor question the more difficult it is to answer!  Maybe Jesus was right to tell a story rather than trying to give a simple answer.  See, the story that Jesus tells about neighbors taking care of each other doesn’t put neighbors in a specific place – not next to you, or down the street. Jesus’ story doesn’t make sure that neighbors look like us, or think like us. Jesus’ story even says that sometimes the person we think should be a good neighbor isn’t a very good neighbor at all!

Maybe what Jesus is trying to say is that our neighbors aren’t just the people who live near us, or look like us, but instead they are anyone and everyone who needs our love and care.

20130822-223749.jpgLoving God, thank you for being our neighbor and for giving us people who love us a care for us. Help us to be loving and caring neighbors to all the people we meet. Amen.

20130822-223908.jpgGod’s love binds up your heart.

 

 

FaithCross_WorshipFor the worship station, set up a prayer station around you “neighbor” poster and encourage people to think about the people who they don’t want to be neighbors with.

Following Starts with Love Children’s Sermon Luke 9:51-62 June 26, 2016

20130822-223520.jpgGather children to you. Who has ever played follow the leader? Yeah, it is a good game where one person leads others around and they follow the actions of the lead person. Which is easier for you, to be the leader or the follower?

20130822-223633.jpgI have a different kind of following game to try. Who will try this with me? (get a volunteer) We are going to sit (or stand) facing each other with our palms in the air. Now I am going to do some simple actions with my hands and _____ (name) is going to try to follow me.

How about you try–turn to someone sitting next to you have try out being the other person’s mirror (if you do not have time for this, encourage them to try this out during an open worship time, communion or after worship or at home) Which was easier to do? How did it feel to lead? How did it feel to follow?

We just read about Jesus telling his disciples, his friends, to follow him. They are worried because some people do not like them, a whole village in fact has sent all of them away. And they are worried because Jesus wants them to leave their family and homes and friends behind and follow him. Just like following the leader can be difficult in our little game, following Jesus may not always be easy. Sometimes people don’t like us, sometimes people are afraid of us, sometimes we are not sure what exactly we should do as followers of Jesus. When it’s difficult or we are unsure, we can remember that following Jesus starts with love. When the followers got messed up I noticed some giggling and then the leaders tried again. This happened in the game because we knew we were playing and we care about the people around us. Following Jesus begins with knowing that we can care about others and that we are first and foremost loved by God and then sent to share that love.

20130822-224425.jpgJesus, help us to follow you. Help us to know how to begin with love and end with love. Help us remember your love for us goes anywhere. Amen

20130822-223908.jpgGod in my head

God in my heart

God on my left

God on my right
FaithCross_WorshipSet up a space where people can try out the mirror game. Have a large mirror available with markers and let people write down prayers about following God.

Children’s Sermon – June 19, 2016, Galatians 3:23-29

Prepare:  You will need some arbitrary way to divide people up.  Something simple, like a jar with two different colored beads in it so that you can divide the group into “red” beads and “blue” beads (or whatever colors, items, etc you have). For the worship station you need a baptismal font that everyone can get to, and a sign that says, “Child of you God, you have been sealed with the Holy Spirit and marked with the Cross of Christ forever.”

FaithCross Have you jar of beads (or whatever, but I will use beads in this write-up!) ready for the children as they gather.  Have each child take just one bead.  It doesn’t matter what color.

20130715-114218.jpg Hi!  How is everyone doing today? It is sooooooo good to see all of you and I am so happy that you are here. (Pick one child and start talking mostly to them.) How are you?  Are you having a good weekend? (generally just making small talk – then . . . ) Hey, can I ask you what color bead you got? (It doesn’t matter what color they have, you have to immediately distrust that child!) Whoa! a red bead! Uh . . . could you move over there? Yeah, just not by me. In fact, do any of the rest of you have red beads?  Really? Yeah, I need you to move over there, too.  People with blue beads are fine, but NOT red beads.

Alright, now that we have the sorted let’s take a look the Bible story today.  This story is part of a really long letter that we call Galatians. I just need to review it a little . . . let me see  . . . the law was our discipline . . . justified by faith . . . uh huh . . . uh oh.

So, I was reading this and it says that we are all children of God.  Doesn’t matter what we look like or where we are from. God loves us for who we are and we should do our best to do the same.  

Part of what this means is that it doesn’t matter what labels we put on people – cool, nerd, silly, too serious – God sees us all the same, as beloved children.

I guess that means I can’t really be mean to those people over there just because they happen to have a red bead.  Come back over here and let’s all pray together!

20130822-224425.jpg Loving God, you care for us and love no matter what we look like, where we are from, or what we like or dislike. Thank you for your unconditional love! Teach us to love and care for each other with that same unconditional love. Amen.

 

20130822-223908.jpgYou are a beloved child of God

FaithCross_Worship Invite people to come up to the font to remember that they are God’s child, too! They are welcome to make the sign of the cross on their own forehead, but even better if you can encourage them to make the sign of the cross on each other’s heads!  Invite them to use the baptismal blessing that you put on the sign.

God Gives Us Big Love! Children’s sermon on Luke 7: 36-8:3 June 12, 2016 Pentecost 4 Year C

*This week in particular in our country and world has been one where we wrestle with human dignity and worth. In light such stories such as the young woman who was raped and who’s worth was declared as less than her male assailant’s worth, this children’s lesson highlights that in God’s kingdom, all are worthy, all are welcome, all have dignity and all are loved. May we all begin to atually live this out in our daily lives. Thank you for using our site and we pray that we are truly partnering with you in your ministry!

 

20130822-223315.jpg As you announce the children to gather, lay out a nice blanket or quilt for them to sit on, maybe have some comfy cushions, or other hospitality items. Even little packages of safe, non-allergenic snacks would be fun! As they gather, ask them if they are comfortable, what they need, welcome them whole heartedly. Go over the top! Have other adults help you if you have a lot of children.

20130822-223633.jpg (Depending on what the adult sermon for this week is focusing on you may want to read the Luke 7 from the Spark Storybook Bible on page 354.) Ask, “Did you feel special when you came forward and we had a nice place for you to sit, snacks, etc.? It’s nice to feel special! Did you do anything to deserve this special treatment? Nope! All you did was show up! That was enough! When you have friends or family visiting how do you make them feel welcome? (Accept all answers) Yes, we do special things for people just because we love them!

In our story this morning, there is a woman who knew that Jesus was all about love and she wanted Jesus to know that she loved him too. A long time ago in Jesus’ time, you only wore sandals or no shoes at all and your feet became very dirty. When you went to someone’s house for dinner or a special occasion, often someone would wash your feet. Jesus was at a friend’s house for dinner but the friend didn’t wash his feet, so this woman began to wash them with her tears of joy for Jesus and then put wonderfully smelling perfume on his feet. The guests were shocked by this woman’s behavior because she wasn’t invited to the party! But Jesus welcomes everyone and wants everyone to know that they matter to God. God sees us all as special, no matter what we say or do, nothing can change that. God wants us to see everyone around us as special and deserving fancy treatment such as what we did this morning for you! If you see someone who needs help what should you do? What if someone is mean to you? Or is kinda different or seems weird? How should we treat them? What if someone makes a mistake with us? What if it’s a big mistake? Should we forgive them like God would? Yes! We treat people how God treats us always! With love, respect, joy and honor!!! We are all special to God!! God gives us big love and so we give big love to each other!!

FaithCross_Worship Have two change jars sitting on a table. Make copies of a clip art of a coin-have the coin the size of a quarter sheet of paper. Invite people to write on the coin mistakes they have made with other people that week. They can write as many as they want. Have them place it in the “coin” jar. In another jar have it full of red paper hearts that say, “You are loved by God no matter what.” They are invited to take that heart as a reminder that Jesus takes our mistakes and offers us nothing but love in return. Have this sign on the table: “Take a “coin” sheet (as many as you would like) and write the mistakes that you have made with other people this on the sheets. Place those “coins” in the “coin” jar. Take a heart out of the other jar. Take it home as a reminder that no matter what mistakes you have made, Jesus offers you unconditional love and forgiveness every single day. You are a beloved, worthy and special child of God now and forever.”

20130822-224425.jpg (You can pray this with the children or print it on the hearts for  the worship station as well.) Jesus, you declare that all people are worthy of love, dignity and forgiveness. We attempt to live our lives showing and proclaiming this truth so that no one is lonely, hurt, sad, or feels worthless. Give us courage to welcome all people, even those who aren’t like us, into our homes, our neighborhoods, our church, and our hearts. Amen.

20130822-223908.jpg+Jesus always gives you big love+

Attention of Compassion Luke 7:11-17 3rd Sunday after Pentecost June 5, 2016

 

You will need a partner for this who is good at ‘not paying attention’ until the last noise. They could even be acting as if they are sad or very distracted.

20130822-223520.jpgGather the children with you. Have your partner off to the side looking away. Start to welcome them and tell them the story and then interrupt yourself and say, “oh, ______ (name), hey, come join us! I want you to hear this story.”  Person should look around but not turn towards you or the person can just keep his/her head down.

Hhhmmm… kids, I know this person has been kind of distracted and even sad lately… I think hearing from Jesus could help… could one of you go tap ____ on the shoulder and see if he/she will come over?

Huh, it’s like ____doesn’t even hear us… maybe we should get louder. Come up with a loud noise you can do together like clapping or snapping.

Hhhmmm… being loud did not work… being annoying did not work… how can we show _____ our love? Take suggestions. Then go over to the person and either give a nice pat or hug and say we care about you, will you come sit with us. The person can look up in surprise even and say thank you and come over.

20130822-223633.jpgWhat worked in getting _____ to come sit with us? Showing some love. Or another word is compassion. Compassion is when we see and know someone else is having a difficult time or feeling bad and we have a desire to do something, to help them. Jesus today in the gospel saw a woman who was weeping because her son had died. He had big compassion for her and even though he had all these people crowded around him and wanting his attention, the woman did not notice him right away. Jesus went to her and said, stop crying–which is what got her attention right away! She wanted to see what Jesus would do. Jesus healed her son, brought him back to life. The Bible tells us he had compassion for her–he felt for her and he could not help but take action. It is another story of God’s big love for people! That our feelings, our grief, our life, our death are all things that God loves brings to life.

20130822-223749.jpgGod of big compassion, give us eyes and ears and hearts to see those around us who need your big love. Fill our hearts and eyes and ears and minds with your big love so we remember you are filled with compassion for us too. Amen

20130822-223908.jpgMay you have and give compassion in Jesus’ name +

 

FaithCross_WorshipAt the end of the children’s message in the pews or tables around your sanctuary have small paper hearts. Ask people to write the name of a person, place, or issue that they have compassion for on the heart. Have another very large heart cut out of paper that all the other hearts can fit into. Or an outline of a heart on a wall or large mural. Ask people to place their hearts inside the big heart. Make a sign over the big hear that says God’s Big Compassion and Love Heart for All. As people add a heart they can lift up their passion and compassion in prayer.

Let us walk with you on the journey of faith. Whether your feet are big or small, fresh or worn, running or crawling, God's love goes with you and you stand on holy ground.