Weekly Devotion Page for May 10, 2015

25 May 10 - Sixth Sunday of Easter.pubHere is the devotion page for the Sixth Sunday of Easter, May 10, 2015.

Just click on the picture to download the PDF file!

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Children’s Sermon, May 3, 2015, Fifth Sunday of Easter – John 15:1-8

Preparation: For the children’s sermon you will need a cut flower of some kind.  Doesn’t matter what it is.

For the Worship Station you will need a large piece of banner paper or art roll paper (white would be best), markers and/or crayons and a place to tape it to the wall. Prepare the banner paper by drawing a long vine down the middle of it and writing “Jesus, the true vine” on it.

20130822-223454.jpg As the children gather, ask them what they need everyday to live and grow. You are looking for things like water and food. Ask them also how they get that water and food, who provides it for them? Do they get it themselves or does someone get it for them?

20130822-223633.jpg Most of us depend on other people to help us get food and water, even adults!  If we live in a city we might depend on plumbers and engineers to design systems to bring water to our homes. If we are not farmers we rely on people to grow and harvest food for us. We rely on people to pack that food and ship it to stores, and other people to work in the stores! 

I thought about this because the story we hear from the Gospel of John today talks about Jesus as the true vine, and us as the branches. I was trying to figure out a way to understand how important the central vine of a plant really is, and then I through about food and water. We all need the plant needs food and water to live, and all of that passes through the central part of the plant. The water comes up through the roots to the leaves, and the leaves make food for the plant to grow (OK, that pretty simplified, but you get the idea). The central vine, or main stalk or trunk of a plant is essential to connect all the parts of a plant that need food and water. If any part of a plant gets cut off it cannot live for very long.

Like this flower here. Sure, it still looks nice now, but since it has been cut off of its plant it will only look this way for a few days, even if I put it in water. In needs the rest of the plant so that it can get food to live and grow.

Jesus is like that for our spirit and our community. Jesus is the center of our faith life and connects us to people that feed and nourish our lives so that we can grow in love for one another and be fruitful in the world.

20130822-223749.jpg Creative God, you are the true vine that brings us food for our souls and water for faith. Keep us refreshed and strong in our love for you so that we can help to share your love and mercy throughout our communities and our world.

20130822-223908.jpg You are precious to God.

FaithCross_Worship Put your vine banner up somewhere, or lay it out on a table, and invite people to add their own little branch to the vine.  Encourage them to share branches with family and friends and to write something like, “I am feed by the true vine!”

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Weekly Devotion Page for May 3, 2015

24 May 03 - Fifth Sunday of Easter.pubHere is the devotion page for the Fifth Sunday of Easter, May 3, 2015.

Just click on the picture to download the PDF file!

Did you miss a week? Go to the Weekly Devotion page to download past weeks!

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Weekly Devotion Page for April 26, 2015

23 April 26 - Fourth Sunday of Easter.pubHere is the devotion page for the Fourth Sunday of Easter, April 26, 2015.

Just click on the picture to download the PDF file!

Did you miss a week? Go to the Weekly Devotion page to download past weeks!

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Children’s Sermon Easter 4B John 10:11-18 April 26, 2015

Preparation: Get pictures of sheep-the ideas is that the flocks look the same and that often a ‘fold or flock’ of sheep will all look alike to one another, but you can show various flocks.  Also there are photos of flocks where one sheep is not the same, you can use that as well (try this link) Also get pictures of various types of people. You can google these images or use children’s book Faith put out by the Global Fund for Children (Click here for amazon link)

For the worship station you will need a camera and photo printer that prints wirelessly or a Polaroid camera.

20130822-223520.jpgGather the children to you. Show them the picture of the sheep. Ask them what they see and know about sheep (yes, that could get interesting!) Ask them to tell you what the word fold or flock means and help them define it as a group of sheep) Ask them to tell you what they notice about what the sheep look like. (they are all the same but not all the flocks are exactly the same) You can also show them a photo where one flock has a sheep that stands out.

20130822-223633.jpgJesus tells us today that he is the good shepherd who will take care of the sheep. He also says that he must bring in other sheep, all sheep to the fold or flock. Jesus is not just talking about sheep, he is talking about people, about us. Show them the pictures of various kinds of people. Ask them what they notice about the people. “Yes, not all the people are the same are they? Now which people is Jesus saying belong as part of his flock? Yes, all the people do. This can be difficult for us, because sometimes we don’t want to include other people. So Jesus sets a high standard here of telling us that all belong and that we can love and serve even those that might not be like us or even those we don’t always know or understand. This is also really good news for us because we know that we are part of the flock but also because we know that even those who look different or live differently or pray differently are still a part of the flock, they are still loved and given promises by Jesus to be with God. ”

20130822-224425.jpgLoving Jesus, thank you for promising to care for us and be our shepherd. Help us to see others as loved and cared for by you as well and to live your love. Amen

20130822-223908.jpg+ May you know Jesus in your heart and in your days. Alleluia!  +

 

FaithCross_WorshipHave a poloroid camera or a phone camera that connects to a small photo printer. Invite people to take selfies and post them on a poster board. Write the words “All belong in the Flock” on the poster or cut it into the shape of a cross or heart. Or create a background of a pasture on the poster board so all the people are the sheep.

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Children’s Sermon 3B April 19, 2015 Luke 24: 36b-48 and Acts 3: 12-19

20130822-223520.jpgTwo week ago we heard a pretty good story in church about Jesus. Do you remember what that story was about on Easter? (Have the children “tell” the story. Have prompts available such as a rock, or something to resemble the empty tomb, etc. You may have to help them “wrap it up.”) Yes, we heard this great story about God raising Jesus from the dead! Do you know or remember why that is important? (Accept all answers.) It’s good news that we can be with God forever and loves us forever no matter what! Being told that you are loved is really important isn’t it? Who do you tell and show that you love them? (Accept all answers.) Ideally, we should with our words and actions tell people that we love them.
20130822-223633.jpgWe have two stories today about telling the whole world that God loves them. Jesus appears to the disciples and tells them that he is alive, God’s forgiveness and love is for everyone and the disciples need to tell everyone they meet that story. Everything that Jesus does points to God’s love for us. In Acts, we see the disciple Peter doing that too. A man with hurt legs couldn’t walk and when Peter told him to walk in name of Jesus the man did! Peter then tells the people gathered that God does amazing things and the most amazing thing that God does is love us all the time! Peter is pointing to God’s presence in everything! This is too good a story to not tell! All of you just told me the story of God’s love through Jesus and you did a really great job! Who else can you tell or have you told someone this story before? As people who know the story, Jesus invites us to tell it to everyone we meet!
20130822-224425.jpg Jesus, you come to us in our everyday lives. We are witnesses to your story of love, forgiveness and hope. May your story be heard, seen and experienced by all people and creation. Amen

FaithCross_WorshipApril 20th is Earth Day and one way to tie this good news of new life, hope and forgiveness for all of creation is through this worship station. New life springs up and God invites and calls us to nurture all life around us. Google clip art images of caterpillars, butterflies, birds, nests and eggs and have a couple of different images to choose from. Have a cross with tape available and invite people to place an image (decorated or not) on the cross. Invite people to write on the image how they can nurture new life around themselves or how “new life” has been nurtured in them by a person or an animal. You can add to this cross for the rest of the Easter season with images and words/prayers of new life.
20130822-223908.jpg+You bear the good news to the world+

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Weekly Devotion Page for April 19, 2015

22 April 19 - Third Sunday of Easter.pubHere is the devotion page for the Third Sunday of Easter, April 19, 2015.

Just click on the picture to download the PDF file!

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Children’s Sermon for the Second Sunday of Easter, April 12, 2015 – John 20:19-31

Preparation: For the Children’s sermon you will not need anything.

For the worship station you will need a large bowl or jar (even better if you can take all this outside and use a large metal bucket and burn the paper that will be put in it), many small pieces of paper and pens or pencils to write or draw with.

20130822-223454.jpg Ask the children, “Have you ever been really mad at someone? Or has someone ever done something to you that made you feel sad or hurt?” Wait for a few replies. Then ask, “What did you do about it?”

20130822-223633.jpg I want to read you something from a different translation of the Bible – this is from a translation called The Message, by Eugene Peterson.  John 20:23 in this translation says, “If you forgive someone’s sins, they’re gone for good. If you don’t forgive sins, what are you going to do with them?”

That got me thinking about this whole reading today about Jesus and the disciples. We often focus on Thomas when we read this story – maybe because we don’t want to be like Thomas, or maybe because we feel blessed that we have not seen and we still believe. I want to think about this a different way – how do you think that Thomas felt? How did he feel about Jesus dying? How did he feel about his friends claiming to see Jesus when he had not? If they were telling the truth, how did he feel about Jesus appearing the them and not to him? Did he feel hurt? Angry? Sad?

We will never really know, but think about those times when you are hurt or sad or angry.  It can be really difficult to let those feelings go, and then we hold on to whatever it was that made us feel that way. We are slow to forgive, and we hold onto the sins – then what do we do with them?

Jesus appearing to Thomas opened a path for Thomas to forgive and to let go. Something that we all need at some point.

20130822-223749.jpg Loving God, in this season of Easter we celebrate your victory over sin and death, we rejoice in the freedom of your love and mercy. Teach us to forgive and be merciful so that we can be free from the weight of sin and grudges. Amen

20130822-223908.jpg God’s mercy and love set you free!

FaithCross_Worship This is a twist on the idea of writing confessions on paper and burning them  This time invite people to write things that they need to forgive on paper.  People are welcome to keep their paper as a reminder to go and forgive, or to release their paper into the bucket or jar so that they can let the sin go.

Set up a station with a large bowl, bucket or jar (or, as I said earlier – a way to collect and then burn the paper safely!). You can leave paper and pens at the station or distribute them around the worship space.

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Weekly Devotion Page for April 12, 2015

21 April 12 - Second Sunday of Easter.pubHere is the devotion page for the Second Sunday of Easter, April 12, 2015.

Just click on the picture to download the PDF file!

Did you miss a week? Go to the Weekly Devotion page to download past weeks!

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Children Sermon Easter Sunday YearB April 5, 2015, Mark 16:1-8

Preparation: Resurrection eggs–you can make them or you can purchase them.( I do not necessarily use them all.)To make your own go to pinterest and search ‘resurrection eggs’ This also works well if you have an egg hunt on Sunday morning or use this for the pre-Egg Hunt on Saturday. There is also preparation for the worship station if use this–see bottom of post for those materials and instructions.

20130822-223520.jpgGather the children forward with you. Have the resurrection eggs that you are using available. “This week has been what we call Holy Week, which is a week that we remember the walk of Jesus to the cross and to his rising again on Easter, today.”

FaithCross_BibleALTI brought some things with me to help in remembering the stories of Holy Week. What are these? (easter eggs!) Let’s see what is inside these eggs. Proceed to use the items in each week to highlight a part of Holy Week.
Suggestions:
Palm Sunday: small toy donkey for  or a palm leaf
Maundy Thursday: small chalice or picture of one
Good Friday: Crown of thorns or small nail cross
Easter Saturday: a rock for the stone to the tomb
Easter: Keep the Egg Empty

When you get to the empty egg: “Well, there is nothing in here? Are you surprised by that? Why do you think it’s empty?” Take answers “The egg is empty because it helps us remember that the when the women came to the tomb, they found it empty! Now, it also says they were afraid. How can emptiness be scary? (take answers) Yes, it can be because sometimes when we don’t know or don’t understand it can make us fearful. But emptiness can also be freedom–freedom to see new possibilities and freedom to live in God’s love. Jesus not being in the tomb means that he is everywhere else-alive on that Easter morning and alive with us today. This empty egg is a promise that we have life in and through Jesus even when we die.”

(if you are doing an egg hunt consider not filling the eggs having the kids collect eggs and then turn them in for a goody bag as a part of this empty egg experience–they still like it, trust me)

FaithCross_PrayALTJesus, you are alive and we thank you for this gift! Be with us today as we celebrate and share your love and your gift of life that means we live free in your grace. Amen

FaithCross_BlessALTGod in my head, God in my heart, God on my left, God on my right–God everywhere! Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed!

FaithCross_WorshipLilies on Easter: The Easter Lily is the traditional flower of Easter dating back to around 1945 when the flower was introduced to the United States. These flowers grace millions of homes and churches every year, embodying joy, hope, and life;reminding us of the hope on Easter, the purity of Christ, and the promise of the empty tomb.

Trace your hand (or help one another!) on the white paper and cut out. Curl the paper fingers (petals) around a pencil and then attach the handprint lily to the pipe cleaner. Place these on the cross and watch it fill up with our hands joined as the body of Christ!

 

Supplies:

the black cross

silk vines

white paper

yellow and green pipe cleaners; yellow ones cut in half

scotch tape

instructions for the flowers

 

 

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