Children’s Sermon Second Sunday of Easter, John 20:19-31, April 27, 2014

Prepare:  Bring a digital camera or your phone – something that will let you take a picture of the children and show them the picture (a tablet with camera would be ideal).  Also bring a stuffed animal, you will need someone to hold the animal secretly in the background of the picture, so make sure you have that set up in advance, don’t let the children see the animal!

20130822-223520.jpg  Gather the children together and take a group picture, make sure they are looking at you and that you can get the stuffed elephant in the frame of the picture behind them.  Odds are good that at least one of them will want to see the picture, but if no one asks to see it, then start saying how great it is.  As soon as one of them asks to see it, gently tell them no, tell them that it is a great shot, they will just have to trust you.  Then take it over to another adult in the room and show them, and get them to say that it’s a great picture, but still refuse to show the children.  Then put the camera/phone away.

FaithCross  So, do you believe me that it was a good picture?  I even have a second opinion!  It must be good, right?  But you still want to see, don’t you?

That is kind of what happens in the Gospel story today.  Jesus shows up and talks to his friends, but one of them, Thomas, isn’t there.  We don’t really know where Thomas was, but he was not with the others when Jesus appeared to them.  When the other disciples tell Thomas that they saw Jesus he say, “I don’t believe it.  And I won’t believe it unless I can see him with my own eyes, unless I can touch the places where he was injured.”  This is a little different than you trusting that the picture was a good one, it would be like me saying that there was an elephant in the background of the picture I just took.  Would you believe that?  No, you would have known if there was an elephant in the room, right?  And if there had been an elephant in the room, and you told your friends at school they wouldn’t believe you either, right?  They would want to come and see the elephant, just like Thomas wanted to see Jesus!

The good news for Thomas is that Jesus does come back, and Thomas does get to see and touch and experience Jesus.  Then Jesus says, “blessed are those who have NOT seen and still believe.”  Jesus isn’t really saying that Thomas was wrong for what he wanted.  Jesus is saying that Thomas got an amazing gift that almost no one else will ever get – the chance to touch Jesus!  We believe without Jesus appearing to us, we believe without touching Jesus hands and feet.  Thomas was blessed with the experience of Jesus alive in front of him, we are blessed because we believe in the risen Christ without proof we can see or touch.

So, what about that elephant in the picture?  Do you believe that there was an elephant in the picture?

Let’s take a look . . .

FaithCross_PrayALT    Living God, we are blessed with your love for us, we are blessed in our believe and, like Thomas, in our unbelief.  Teach us to trust in your love and grace in all things.  Amen.

FaithCross_BlessALT  Send them out with a traditional Easter greeting!  You say, “Christ is risen!”  They respond, “Christ is risen indeed!”

 

~GB

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Children’s Sermon Third Sunday of Easter, Luke 24:13-35, May 4, 2014

Prepare:  Find a very simple puzzle, like a preschool puzzle, you really only want about 6 or 7 pieces for this.  Bonus points if it is an Easter puzzle!  Also bring along some cardboard scraps that are a similar size to the puzzle pieces, but just squares or rectangles so that the puzzle piece is still pretty obvious.

20130822-223520.jpg  As the children gather, get all the puzzle pieces facing up except for one.  Let one piece sit surrounded by the cardboard so that it is obviously a puzzle piece, but so that the picture cannot be seen on it.  Start getting the puzzle put together, let the children help if you want, but keep them away from the upside down piece.  Once the puzzle is together be really sad and confused about the missing piece.

FaithCross Oh no!  I’m missing a piece!  I thought they were all here!  I even asked the person who gave me the puzzle and they said all the pieces were here. (At this point it is good if you let them see the missing piece.)  Well, I guess I’ll just throw it away, if I can’t find the piece.  What?  You say it’s over here?  No, this is all just cardboard, no puzzle piece there.  Oh, wait!  You’re right, there is the missing piece!  I don’t know why I didn’t see it, but there it is!  Now the puzzle is complete. Thanks.

This reminds me of the Gospel story that we hear today.  The story happens on the day we call Easter.  Jesus’ friends are walking away from Jerusalem when they meet a stranger on the road.  They start talking and they find out that the stranger has no idea about what just happened in Jerusalem.  He doesn’t know about Jesus, he doesn’t know about Jesus being killed, or buried, he doesn’t know any of it, so they tell the stranger all about it.

Here’s the fun part of the story, the stranger was Jesus!  He was walking with his friends and they didn’t even know that it was him.  They were so sad and worried that they couldn’t see Jesus walking with them.  Just like me with that puzzle piece, I was so upset that it was missing that I didn’t even want to look for it.  They didn’t know that they were with Jesus until they sat down to eat and Jesus broke bread and poured wine, then they suddenly recognized him.  Just like I didn’t see the piece until someone turned it over.

A missing puzzle piece is not really a big deal, is it?  No, not really.  But forgetting to look for Jesus?  We do know something that those disciples didn’t know, we know that Jesus is alive and among us, so we know that we should always be looking for Jesus, we should always be finding people who need our love and care.

20130822-223749.jpg   Risen Christ, we sometimes forget that you are here with us, we forget to look for you in the people around us, and we forget to be loving to everyone we meet.  Help us to see the good in the world and to live with your forgiveness and grace in our hearts and on our lips.  Amen.

20130822-223908.jpg  Send them out with a traditional Easter greeting!  You say, “Christ is risen!”  They respond, “Christ is risen indeed!”

~GB

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Weekly Devotions for April 27, 2014

23 April 27 - Second Sunday of Easter.pubHere is the devotion page for the Second Sunday of Easter, April 27,  2014

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Easter Sunday Year A Matthew 28:1-10

See Easter Alleluia sermon for another option or other years for other ideas.
Preparation: Butterfly stickers or small give aways that are in the shape of butterflies (or a picture or a coloring page with butterflies)

20130822-223520.jpgGather the children with you. Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! (teach them to say this if they do not know) Alleluia!

 

20130822-223633.jpgToday we hear the story of Jesus raising from the dead–the story where the tomb is empty! There was a phrase repeated a couple of times in that story–did anyone catch it? It was Do not be afraid–this is something that God wants us to know for sure, that we are not alone and that Jesus raising from the dead is not something that we need to fear. Now I have with me these butterflies–does anyone know why? Yes, a butterfly is a symbol for Easter because a butterfly starts as a caterpillar and then goes into a chrysalis and then becomes a butterfly–something new but still the same. I often wonder about how that caterpillar might feel as soon as it goes into the darkness–how do you feel if you are in darkness? Yes, it can make us a little nervous or even just unsure about what will happen next. Jesus’ disciples were not sure what to think. The women at the tomb found it empty and ran to tell the others about this news and they were amazed! The butterfly helps us remember new life and the words of God to not be afraid, no matter what darkness you are facing Jesus is with you.

If you have a butterfly to hand out go ahead and to that here saying I hope that when you see a butterfly you will remember the story of Easter and of God’s love for you in all times.

20130822-224425.jpgLet’s pray together: Jesus, we celebrate with Alleluias today! We praise you for the promise that you are with us all the time. Help us to know your Holy Spirit in our world and in our hearts. Amen

 

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Weekly Devotions for April 20, 2014

22 April 20 - Easter Sunday.pubHere is the devotion page for Easter Sunday, April 20, 2014

Note – Clicking on the picture will download the insert to your computer or device in PDF format.

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Palm Sunday Children’s Sermon 2014

Scripture Focus: Matthew 21:1-11

Faith+Open—Pass out palm branches if you haven’t already. These can be real or the crosses or they can be made from paper. Gather the children in the back and lead them to the front shouting Hosanna together. You can walk all around the sanctuary if you like!

Faith+Share:  Read the story of Palm Sunday from the Spark Children’s Bible or other Bible of your choice.

Ask: Have you ever been to a parade or been in a parade? What was that like? If Jesus came to our town how do you think the people would greet him?

We can welcome Jesus in our lives by how we welcome others—especially the stranger. How can you welcome someone who is new to school or Sunday school?

Palm Sunday is also about shouting Hosanna and praising God. Look at your hand, we call the middle part a palm, right? If we look at our five fingers let’s think of 5 praises for God together. Then you can do this at home with your family later today and each think of 5 praises.

Together figure out 5 praises taking answers from kids.

We have this story of Jesus and it is the first story of what we call this week—Holy Week. It is when Jesus rides into Jerusalem and then will later have his last supper with his disciples and on Friday we will have worship to remember the day he died on the cross and then next Sunday we celebrate….what? Easter! You’re right. We spend this week getting ready for Easter by remembering the stories of Jesus’ last days and remembering the love he has for each of us.

Faith+Prayer: Jesus,  we praise you for being our God who lived in our world and still loves in our heads and hearts and all around us.  Amen

Faith+Blessing: Let’s say together making the sign of the cross: God in my head, God in my heart, God on my left and God on my right.

Extended activitiesIf you meet with children for a longer period of time outside of the worship space here are some ideas:

1.    Make palm branches with construction paper and then parade back to worship.

2.    Trace hands “palms” and write one way to praise God in each finger.

3.    Get out musical instruments and create a song of praise together

**originally written in 2011

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Weekly Devotions for April 13, 2014

21 April 13 - Palm Sunday.pubHere is the devotion page for Palm Sunday, April 13, 2014

Note – Clicking on the picture will download the insert to your computer or device in PDF format.

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Children’s Sermon Lent 5A John 11: 1-44

Preparation:  a rope or string that you can tie around your wrists loosely, Lazarus Painting/picture (see link below for one, you can also google it and look in images)

20130822-223454.jpgGather the children with you.  Show them your bound wrists. Say, “Hmm, I seem to have a problem here….. ummm… My hands are somehow tied up here… do you think anyone can help me?” Let the kids help or plant an older child to help them get you free. You can also tie up someone else’s hands and find ways to work together with the children to unbind that person.

20130822-223633.jpg“Whew, that was not easy but thank you for helping me. You know we just heard that story about Lazarus and Jesus. Lazarus had died and when someone died in that time period they were wrapped up (show a picture of this if possible–here is a link to one: Lazarus painting). See how he is wrapped up in cloth and there are people around him? Well I noticed that Jesus did tell Lazarus to get up or rise, he told him to come out of the tomb, which was like a cave, and then Jesus told the people there to unbind him and let him go. Jesus was there to call Lazarus back from the dead, but Jesus also asked his friends and family to participate, to help in freeing Lazarus. So I was thinking… there are lots of things that can bind us up–maybe not exactly like a rope around our wrists, but things in life that may be hard, make us feel bad or make us think that we are not good enough or loved enough. What do you think, do you have things that ever make your heart or your mind feel like they are bound up? (take answers but help them along) Yes, things like missing someone we love, or having a big test, or something hard happening with our family or friends. It may even make our stomachs feel tight or our hearts sad. You know, Jesus says something else in this story. He says I am the resurrection and I am the life. That is Jesus’ promise, that we have life and love and healing in him no matter what is happening in our lives. So all those things that can bind us up–they can’t keep us bound. Jesus brings us new life over and over again. And Jesus sends other people into our lives to help us to be unbound–like our family and friends who love us, hug us when we are hurting and help us when things are hard. And sometimes Jesus asks us to be those people for others too. And this is a promise from God too, that no matter what is holding on to us, we are free to know God’s love and to love others.

20130822-223749.jpgLet’s pray, “Jesus, you set us free in love to know you and to love others. Help us to pray to about the things that bind us up and help us to remember your love surrounds us at all times. Amen”

20130822-223908.jpgGod in my head, God in my heart, God on my left, God on my right + (do this while making the sign of the cross and showing kids how to join in with you if you have not done this before)

 

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Weekly Devotions for April 6, 2014

20 April 6 - Fifth Sunday in Lent.pubHere is the devotion page for the Fifth Sunday in Lent, April 6, 2014

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Children’s Sermon: 1 Samuel 16: 1-13, March 30th, 2014, Year A-Lent 4

20130822-223520.jpgBring the children to you and have them sit where they can all see you. Have a needle, some fabric, thread, and a band aid. Show the kids the needle and ask what it is used for. (Accept all answers.) “Yes, we can sew or fix clothes with the needle, fix fabric covered furniture, create toys, sometimes our moms and dads use them to get out splinters, and medical needles at the doctor give us shots that keep us healthy. Needles are very little but are very important in our lives. They are very sharp and so they are not toys and should only be used for their important jobs with an adult. Ok?”

20130822-223633.jpg say, “In today’s Old Testament story from 1 Samuel God tells Samuel to go to a man named Jesse’s house. God says that one of his sons will be the king of Israel! Usually, a long time ago, kings were big, strong and the oldest of the sons. So, Samuel figured that Jesse’s oldest son would be chosen, but God said no, not that one! So Samuel went through ALL of Jesse’s sons, except one, and each time God said, not that one! Samuel asked Jesse if he had anymore sons and Jesse said, ‘well, my youngest, but he is little and is with the sheep.’ But Jesse called him in from the fields. His name was David. Samuel looked at David and he was small! But God said, ‘Yes! This one! He is special, anoint him  king!’ So Samuel did! And when David was a little bit older he was the king! Even though he was small, David was very important and able to do great things.

Do you think that God can use each of us no matter how big or small, old or young we are? Or how much we know, or what we do? Yes! God, can use all of us and does! Even if you are three or four years old or 83 or 84, God says, ‘yes, you are special to me!’”

20130822-223908.jpg Have a small bowl with some oil in it (I would use a well oil saturated paper towel in a bowl to keep the oil contained.).Samuel anointed David with oil and we do that at baptism as well. Give each child a blessing with the oil and say, “The Spirit of the Lord is with you always.”

20130822-223749.jpg “Dear God, you use us all to share your love with the world. It doesn’t matter if we are big or small, or old or young. Thank you for loving us. Amen.”

 

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