Children’s Sermon Second Sunday of Easter, John 20:19-31 – April 7, 2013

ffjChildrenSermonPrepare:  Bring something REALLY sticky, like a piece of duct tape or packaging tape (or you could go messy if you want, like honey).  You want it to be something that will stick to your hand as you try to get rid of it.  Styrofoam peanuts that have a good static charge going would work, too.  The main thing is that you need to be able to get it off your hand when you want to, but it needs to stick up to that point.

Faith+Open:  Greet the children with, “Alleluia! Christ is risen!”  If they do not know the response, teach them to say, “Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!”

Faith+Share:  Hello!  Today is we hear this amazing story about Jesus appearing to his disciples.  They were afraid after Jesus was arrested and killed, so they were hiding in a locked room.  Do you think that stopped Jesus from finding them?  No, he appeared with them and said, “Peace be with you.”  That by itself is pretty amazing.  And then there is the whole story about Thomas and Jesus.  Thomas wasn’t there the first time, and didn’t believe Jesus came, so then . . . wait, that’s not the part of the story that I wanted to tell you about.  Man, I really got sidetracked!  Do you forgive me?   (Wait for an answer)

Oh, good, because that was what I wanted to talk about!  Jesus said something else to the disciples when he first came to them, he said, “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them, if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”  Think about it this way, if you forgive a person for something then the sin goes away, but if you don’t forgive the sin sticks around.  It’s kind of like this tape (or whatever sticky thing you brought).  If I don’t do something about this it will just stick to my hand and get it my way, and stick to other things.  It might even switch hands on me and it just won’t go away.  Here’s the crazy thing.  This tape on my hand isn’t really my sin, it’s the sin that I don’t want to forgive, it’s someone else’s sin, but it’s stuck on me!

To get this tape off my hands I have to pay attention to it and make sure that I don’t grab a stick part and fold it up and get rid of it (Do this while you talk, or wipe off the honey, or . . . )  Part of forgiving someone is getting their sin out of your life and out of your way.  If you let that sin stick around it just keeps getting in a way.  Sometimes we call this holding a grudge, and it usually makes people grumpy and sad.  When we hold grudges we spend a lot of time and effort staying mad at someone.  When we forgive and let go of any grudges we can be happier and spend more time loving and caring for people and less time being grumpy.

Faith+Prayer:   Loving Jesus, help us to forgive people when they do things that hurt us or make us mad.  Help us to learn to forgive like you forgive us. Amen

Faith+Blessing:  Say, “Alleluia! Christ is risen!” – Let then respond, “Christ is Risen indeed! Alleluia!”

~GB

Permission to use for nonprofit. When printing give credit to Faith Formation Journeys. Intellectual property rights apply.

Children’s Sermon Easter Sunday, Luke 24:1-12 – March 31, 2013

ffjChildrenSermon

Faith+Open:  Greet the children with, “Alleluia! Christ is risen!”  If they do not know the response, teach them to say, “Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!”  This will be important at the end.

Faith+Share:  Have you ever lost something important?  Or even worse, have you ever had anything important stolen from you?  (While this is a real story from my life, it can serve as a generic story for anyone to tell.  It would be even better if you had your own story!)  I remember one time when I had something stolen from me.  I was at work and when I came out after work and walked to my car I noticed a pile of broken glass.  Someone had broken the window on my car!  I ran to the car and looked inside, and they had stolen my radio!  That was a terrible feeling.  I was mad, I was nervous, I was sad, I was worried, and I felt completely helpless.  Now, let’s be honest about this, it was just a car radio, and I needed to get a new window.  Overall it was not a big deal, but it still made me feel all those bad emotions.  I never did get the radio back, but I had insurance that helped me replace the window and get a different radio, so I guess it turned out ok.

Well, in today’s Gospel story we hear about something that starts out kind of the same way, but is much worse at the beginning and unimaginably better by the end!  This is day that we remember when some of Jesus’ friends went to see his body, remember he had died on the cross a few days before.  They were planning to clean and prepare his body the way that they always did when someone they loved died.  Well, when they got to tomb where the body was supposed to be it was not there!  They thought that someone had stolen Jesus’ body!  This isn’t a thing, like my car radio, it was the body of their friend, of their teacher, it was the body of Jesus.  Can you imagine how upset they must have been?  How scared they must have been?

But then, two angels appeared and gave them amazing news!  Do you know what they said? (Give a little time for answers.)  That’s right, they said, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here, but had risen.”  WOW!  Isn’t that exciting!  Sometimes it is hard for us to really be excited about it because we have heard this story before and we know the ending, but try to imagine how they must have felt then.  Amazed, confused, excited, maybe even more scared?  Let’s share the excitement of the story.  I want you to greet people today with Easter greeting that we used at the beginning.  We will practice again at the end, but let’s pray first.

Faith+Prayer:   Risen and Living God, Alleluia!  We praise you for the miracle of the resurrection.  Help us to live in the excitement of the risen Christ today and every day. Amen

Faith+Blessing:  Say, “Alleluia! Christ is risen!” – Let then respond, “Christ is Risen indeed! Alleluia!”

~GB

Permission to use for nonprofit. When printing give credit to Faith Formation Journeys. Intellectual property rights apply.

Faith + Home Connection April 2013 John 20: 19-31

FaithCross_ConnectALT Gather the household to a location where all can be comfortable. Share the highs and lows of each person and then pray for one another.

FaithCross_BibleALT Have on hand a Bible and/or a children’s Bible. Read John 20: 19-31in parts. Ask one person to be the narrator, one to be Jesus and one to be Thomas.

FaithCross_ConversationALTFor children: Has anyone ever told you something that you didn’t believe? Tell about that time. Well Thomas didn’t believe his friends that they had seen Jesus. But then Jesus appeared to Thomas. Jesus knew that Thomas needed to see him to help him know that Jesus was really alive. We don’t see Jesus like Thomas did but we do see God in many different ways in our lives that let’s us know that God is with us always. How do you see God in your life? Just like Jesus came to Thomas, Jesus promises to come to us in our lives and be with us always-even when we are not sure if Jesus is really there-he is!

For  youth/adults: Thomas often gets a bad rap for his “doubting.” Thomas is actually a very faithful disciple in the rest of the gospel stories where he is present. The issue here is not that Thomas demands a little proof, but that Jesus comes to us and stands among us no matter what-even when we have a hard time understanding. Tell about a time when you knew that Jesus was present in your life. Tell about a time when you wondered or doubted that Jesus was present. Doubt is not the opposite of faith-doubt helps us to ask the questions that we are wrestling with to go deeper in our relationship with God. Thomas is the only one in John’s gospel to proclaim Jesus “Lord and God.” Out of Thomas’ doubt sprang a declaration of deep faith and recognition of who Jesus is. When was a time that you wrestled with some questions about God or to God that helped you deepen your faith?

FaithCross_ConnectALT April 2nd is officially PB and J day-so a church in Denver, CO USA, decided to honor that day by starting a service project for April 7th called “PB and J for Hunger”. Make as many PB and J sandwiches as you want/can and go to a location where those without a home may be and hand them out. Food scarcity and access to food is a large issue for many in our communities. You can also donate loaves of bread/peanut butter and jelly to a local food pantry for distribution.

FaithCross_PrayALT Dear Jesus, you come and stand among us even when we doubt. You welcome our questions and promise to be with us always and give us peace. Let us be open to share our questions and struggles with other people who may be questioning as well. We pray to share your unending peace and love with all people, amen.

FaithCross_BlessALT“Peace be with you, share that peace.” (Make the sign of the cross on one another.)

Children’s Sermon March 24, 2013 Palm Sunday John 12:12-16

ffjChildrenSermonPreparation: Palms for the kids and/or whole congregation and a hymn or song with Hosanna

Scripture: John 12:12-16

 

 

FaithCross_ConnectALTGather the children–you may want to do this at the beginning instead of at the tradition time but either way will work. Give each child a palm branch and show them how to wave it in the air.

FaithCross_BibleALT“Today is Palm Sunday! Does anyone know what you are holding? Yes, a palm branch. We have palm branches today because in our scriptures today we are told about when Jesus came into Jerusalem. Does anyone know what he was riding on? Yes, a donkey. And the people who knew who he was were excited to see him and welcomed him into Jerusalem by waving palms, putting their coats on the ground as a sign of honor and by saying the word Hosanna! Do you know what this word means? It is a way of showing honor and calling Jesus God–saying Save us Jehovah or save us God. The people where saying they believed Jesus was the son of David and the son of God. So we can shout today also Hosanna! Every time you hear that word I want you to shout i back and wave your palms.” Lead the children on a parade through the church. If your choir has a song they are singing with Hosanna do this then or have the congregation sing a hymn with Hosanna and lead the children around the sanctuary waving palm branches. End at the altar and invite the children to lay their palms at the altar.

FaithCross_PrayALTGod, we thank you for sending Jesus to save us, to love us, to show us how to live in your world. Amen

 

FaithCross_BlessALTMay you know the love of God. Hosanna!

Children’s Sermon March 17, 2013 John 12:1-8 Lent 5C

ffjChildrenSermonPreparation: paper bags with different things that smell strong enough that kids can guess what they are in them–one bag per smell. For example: cinnamon sticks, garlic, hot chocolate, flower, other spices or herbs. One bag that has perfume or smelly lotion that you can also use.

Scripture: John 12:1-8

FaithCross_ConnectALTGather the children with you. “Do you have a favorite smell? Take answers. I brought some things for you to try to guess what they are by the smell.” Open the bags and one by one (so only do 2-3 bags) pass them around and have kids close eyes and smell.

FaithCross_BibleALT“Our sense of smell is very powerful, did you know that? Sometimes we can remember whole events or people just by what we smell. (share an important smell for you). In todays’s story from John we are told about how Mary poured nard or a perfume on Jesus and that the smell filled the house. She did this because it was a way that people prepared for a body for being buried and she was saying that she understood that Jesus was going to go to Jerusalem and one day die to show her and the whole world how much God loves. So this smell filled the house and was likely a smell that after Jesus did leave and die and rise again reminded Mary and the people who there not only about Jesus but about God’s love and forgiveness. Just like when I smell _____ I remember and think of _________. (fill in your own smell story or say cookie and grandma if you can’t think of anything!). I am going to give you each a little spray/squirt of perfume/lotion and I want you to smell it while you pray and then throughout the day when you smell this on your skin you can remember that you are loved by Jesus.” Spray the perfume or give a little lotion to each kid.

FaithCross_PrayALTLet’s pray, Jesus, we have many ways we can remember you. Help us to know that you are with us in all of our days and that even our sense of smell can show us how to be a part of your kingdom and love.  Amen

FaithCross_BlessALTGo with this blessing: May you know the sweet smell of love today!

 

Children’s Sermon March 10, 2013 Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32 Lent 4C

ffjChildrenSermonNote: The Jesus Storybook Bible is an excellent resource for this story. The author does a beautiful job of emphasizing how God’s love never fails. Consider reading this version as the Gospel that everyone hears (audible gasp! I know, but could be awesome!!)

Scripture: Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32

 

FaithCross_ConnectALTGather the children and welcome them. Start by asking how many of them have a brother or a sister. If you have kids that do not ask if they have a good friend. Do you ever feel like they get something that you don’t? Or have you ever said, “that is not fair!”? Hear there comments–but be prepared they may have more stories on this topic than normal!

FaithCross_BibleALT “There is a story that Jesus told about a family.” Read the story of the prodigal son from a children’s bible or paraphrase the story in your own words. Highlight that Father loved both the children no matter what and that forgiveness happened before the younger son could even say he was sorry. Then ask, “Are you surprised by how the father greeted the son who returned? Have you ever forgiven someone or been forgiven? How does that feel?… In Lent we often talk about focusing on the cross. One thing the cross reminds us of is that Jesus died on the cross because we are loved and forgiven no matter what–even if we are mean to someone, even if we are jealous, even when it does not seem fair.”

“Now take your hands and whisper something into them that you would like to tell God–either an I’m sorry for something or thanking God for something.” Show them by cupping your hands and whispering. Say, “Hold this in your hand while we pray and then we will release them up to God on the Amen.”

FaithCross_PrayALT Jesus, we are sorry for the things we have done that have hurt other people. We thank you for your love and forgiveness. Help us to remember your love is for us and for others. We release our prayers to you (open hands and lift them up to the sky). Amen

FaithCross_BlessALT Go with this blessing: You are loved and forgiven always.