My Peace I Give To You, John 14: 23-29, May 1, 2016 Easter 6C

20130822-223520.jpg As the children come forward give them a handshake or a high-five and say “I give you peace.” They might think that’s a bit strange but that’s ok!

20130822-223633.jpg Once you’ve greeted everyone say, “Did I tell each of you “I give you peace”? Good! Why do you think I did that? (Accept all answers) Yes, those are all good reasons! In our Bible story this morning Jesus says that he gives his peace to the disciples. Do you think that they were confused by that too? I think so! It’s a strange thing to give someone peace…it’s not the same as giving a sandwich, a toy or a sticker…Jesus knew that he would not always be with the disciples or with us. He would be going to be with God in heaven. Jesus also knew that sometimes the disciples might get scared because there are scary things in the world.

Do you ever get scared? What scares you? (Share something that scares you.) Those things can scare us! When you get scared what do you do? Who do you run to? (Hopefully they will answer, mom, dad, grandma, grandpa or some family/close friend.) Yes! We run to someone who loves us and will help us! Does that make us feel better? It does me! I don’t like to be scared and alone…I think that’s what Jesus means by giving us peace, Jesus reminds us that we have each other to help us remember that we are never truly alone. If we’re scared and our mom, dad, etc. are not around, Jesus is! This makes us feel better! Did you know in church we offer each other peace in our worship service? We call it the passing of the peace and we shake hands or give hugs and say, “Peace be with you.” We do this to remind ourselves that we are not alone! We have this whole community around us! Praise God!

FaithCross_Worship Have strips of cloth cut out from one piece of fabric so that everyone receives the same color. Invite the congregation to write with a fine tip permanent marker the words “I give you the peace of Jesus.” Have them take the strip of cloth with them to their seats. If your congregation has as part of you liturgy the “Passing of the Peace,” invite them to tie this strip of cloth around the wrist of someone as they offer a sign of peace. If not, choose a time to do this in your worship.

20130822-223749.jpgGod, Jesus and Holy Spirit, you are one and we are also connected as one. May we share your peace and love with everyone that we meet. Remind us when we are scared that you are with us and will never leave us. We pray for your peace to reign in our hearts and our world. Amen.

20130822-223908.jpg +The Peace of Christ be with you always+

What is Love? – John 13:31-35 April 24, 2016

Prepare: Get a large piece of poster board or a big piece of banner paper and write on it (it can be fancy!) “What is Love?”

20130822-223315.jpg Ask the children to start naming things that they love.  You are kind of looking for one of them to say something like, “my Xbox!” When you get a few of those objects use that as a segue to ask, “What is love?”

20130822-223633.jpg In the story today, Jesus tells his disciples that people will know who they are because they love each other. Every time I read this story it gets a little more difficult for me to understand because “Love” is such a difficult word! We had a whole list of things that people love, from our parents to toys! How can one word describe how we feel about such different things?

Even more than that, Love is more than liking something or someone. For example, I can love someone but be really angry with them at the same time. Stranger still? Sometime I find that I am upset with people BECAUSE I love them! If I didn’t love them I wouldn’t really care what they were doing, and I wouldn’t be upset.

So, today, let’s make a list of what it means to Love someone. Ready? Go!

(make the list on your board or banner)

Wow! What a list! Think about how you show your love this week, and think about some of the things on this list.

20130822-223908.jpg Jesus loves you!

20130822-223749.jpg Loving God, be with us as we work to be loving disciples. Help us to love each other even when we don’t really want to, and grant us your forgiveness when we don’t love the way we should. Amen.

FaithCross_Worship For the worship station – Make the “What is Love?” list an all congregation project.  Either as a prayer station or as a group activity where you write items on the list as people say the,

Unbelievable – John 10:22-30, April 17, 2016

Prepare: You will need a pencil and (if possible!) a diamond, or a picture of a diamond. The diamond can be an engagement ring, or in an earring, etc. It doesn’t need to be loose or even big.  The idea is to show the difference between the two.

20130822-223520.jpgGather the children as you normally do, and as they gather, ask them to tell you the name of someone whom they trust. Could be a parent, a teacher, a coach, sibling, etc.  Just get them thinking about people they trust.

20130822-223633.jpgJesus talks a little bit about trust in today’s Gospel reading. He is being questioned by some people who really want to know who he is. They just want Jesus to tell them who he is! Jesus says, “I already told you, you just don’t trust me.” Well, really the word Jesus uses is “believe.” They don’t believe, even though they have heard the truth.

That got me thinking – Jesus, to them, just looks like a traveler, or at best a carpenter. There is nothing fancy about him. He doesn’t have fancy robes that make him look like a king, he doesn’t boss people around like he is in control of them. He doesn’t ACT like God!  . . . but, sometimes he does.  They were all just really confused.

So, to help think about this in a different way, I brought a couple of things – a pencil and a diamond ring (or a picture of one, whichever you can manage!). Two very different things, right? This one you can write or draw with, and this one is, well, a diamond ring!  But, at their heart they are the same thing. Both the diamond ring and pencil are special because the thing at the very center – and that thing is something called carbon. The black part at the middle of the pencil is made mostly of something called graphite (there are other things in there, too, but it’s mostly graphite). Graphite is made out of carbon.  The center of the ring is a diamond, and diamonds are carbon crystals.

So, both of these things, the pencil and the diamond ring, have carbon at the center. The pencil is a simple tool, something that we use everyday. The diamond is something special that we display because it is beautiful. (If you happen to have an engagement ring you can talk about why that particular diamond is special!) Even though they seem very different on the surface, at their heart they are the same stuff.

Back to Jesus! To the people standing around him he looks ordinary, like the carbon graphite in a pencil. But his disciples know that he is something really special, like a diamond. And just like the carbon, Jesus can be both!

 

FaithCross_BlessALT

Christ is Risen!

Christ is Risen, Indeed!

Alleluia!

FaithCross_PrayALTLoving God, you are the very thing that we need everyday. We rely on your love and mercy day in and day out. We give you thanks that you can be so close to us in our ordinary lives, and we praise the special treasure that is your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

FaithCross_WorshipWhat is something that you take for granted?

Have you congregation think about things that are “everyday” tools, or “everyday” staples in their lives. Create a space where people can write a prayer of thanks for the ordinary parts of their life and praise God for the simple and wonderful things that make life go better. (You can also have them tweet the prayers, or post them to your church’s FB page, etc.)

Collect the prayers and include them in the prayers of the people.

 

Caught in Jesus’ Love! John 21: 1-19 Easter 3C 2016

20130822-223315.jpg Have a large rope or a really big net if you have one and spread it on the ground where you want the children to gather. Invite them to sit on the net or in the circle of the rope. That might mean that they will have to get cozy! Be sure to sit with them on the net or within the rope.

20130822-223633.jpgSay, “Today’s Bible story is kinda interesting isn’t it? The disciples go fishing as they are probably hungry. They don’t catch anything at all, all night despite being life-long fishermen. Suddenly a stranger on the shore yells out to them, “Hey put your nets on the other side!” It worked!!! They had so many fish that it nearly broke their nets! They realized that the stranger was Jesus! They went back to shore and Jesus had breakfast of fish and bread waiting for them. Do you remember another story of fish and bread with Jesus and the disciples? Yes, he fed 5,000 people with two fish and 5 loaves of bread! Jesus sure likes fish and bread! Then Jesus says something strange to Peter after breakfast: Jesus asks him three times if Peter loves him. What did Peter answer? Yes! Of course he loves Jesus! Then Jesus tells him to “Feed his sheep.” Now Jesus didn’t own sheep, but we call Jesus the good Shepherd who takes care of us and so Jesus told Peter that if he loves Jesus to care for those who Jesus takes care of-everyone!

Ask them, “Do you love Jesus?” (Hopefully they will say yes, but be prepared!) “I love Jesus too! So what should we do? Yes, take care of everyone whom Jesus would take care of-the whole world! Jesus gathers us all as his sheep or his people, just like the disciples gathered all of those fish in their nets. Jesus “caught” the disciples with his love and we are to “catch” everyone with the love of Jesus too! If they need food, feed them, if they need clothes, clothe them, if they need shelter, house them, if they are lonely, visit them, if they feel unloved, LOVE THEM!

FaithCross_WorshipHave a large net hanging on a wall or on a large table with simple cut out of fish (one for everyone in worship) and some pens and markers. Invite people to write on the fish who “caught” them (or showed them) with the love of Jesus in their lives. Invite people to offer a prayer of thanksgiving for those people in our lives!

20130822-224425.jpg Jesus, you know that we love you. We don’t always show that perfectly to the world, but you are with us and love us so that each day we can try anew. Thank you for sending people to catch us in your love and may we catch everyone we meet in your love too! Amen!

20130822-223908.jpg +You are caught in the love of Jesus+

What do you wonder about Jesus? Children’s sermon Easter 2, Year C, April 3rd, 2016

 

20130715-114218.jpg Invite the children forward. Have some bread, a cup/chalice of wine, a bowl of water and some index cards. Ask the children this, “If you could say one thing to Jesus or ask him one question what would it be?” (Accept all answers and even share your own!) Say, “yes, we have lots of questions don’t we? We’ve never really seen Jesus like the disciples did, and we don’t necessarily hear Jesus’ voice (remember that you may have some mystics among you who might hear Jesus!). And sometimes I have lots of questions too and I don’t always know who to talk to about what I’m wondering about Jesus and God. (Repeat some of their questions here.) What do we do with all of those questions? (Accept all answers.) Yes, we could talk to each other! Jesus breathed on the disciples and reminds them and us that we all have the breath of God in us and share that breath everywhere we go!

20130822-223633.jpg Thomas missed Jesus coming and breathing on the disciples and when he came back and heard about it, he had lots of questions. Jesus doesn’t mind our questions-as a matter of fact, Jesus came to Thomas to talk to him about his! Jesus knew that he wouldn’t be able to talk to all people so that’s why Jesus told the disciples and us that we are sent out with the love of Jesus to talk about our questions and wondering together and to look for Jesus everywhere around us. We might not think that we “see” Jesus like Thomas and the other disciples saw him, but Jesus gave us ways to see how much he loves us and is with us always, in our questions, in our wondering and when we feel God’s presence. Jesus said to look for him in bread and wine: which we do every week! When we eat and drink we know that Jesus fills us with what we need to be his hands and feet in the world. In water that is found in our baptismal font, we know that Jesus says we belong to God forever, no matter what. Jesus wants everyone to know that what God really wants is to love us and be with us. Even if we wonder if God is real or what God is doing. I have some blank index cards here. You can take one back to you seat and write or draw your questions for Jesus or what you wonder about Jesus. *During our worship station time, you can place them in the basket on the table and take with you a heart to remind you that Jesus loves you now and always. (If you don’t do worship stations, have index cards in the pews for all people. Invite them to place them in the offering plate.)

FaithCross_Worship Have index cards and pens on a table. Invite people to write their questions for God on them and either place them in a basket. (You could also have a large question mark on a piece of poster board hanging on a wall and people can write their questions on post-it notes to place on the question mark. The question mark could be inside a big heart.) Have heart stickers or paper hearts cut out for people to take as they leave their questions. Perhaps offer a time of wrestling with those questions in adult education, confirmation or some other forum.

20130822-223749.jpgJesus, we love you and we are so glad that you love us! Thank you for hearing our questions, our wondering and our doubts. Be with us as this community grows and learns from those questions. Send us out to listen and talk with other people who also wonder about you and may we share your love and peace with them. Amen.

20130822-223908.jpg +Peace be with you+

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.