Prepare: The best possible set up for this is to find some “Pied Pipers,” Maybe a group of youth who are willing to follow you first and help call some of the children along. The idea is to generate excitement about something that has yet to be seen. You will also need something fun at the other end, like a Martin Luther bobble-head, or a cool poster of Jesus, or a beautiful cross, or . . . It almost doesn’t matter, as long as it’s something unexpected. Hide it somewhere so that you can lead the children around for a little while.
Start in a different spot than you usually would, and call for the children to follow you. Make sure that you “Pied Pipers” are ready to get up and encourage the children to come along, too. When you find the object, be excited about it and show the children what you found as you head the usual spot.
Well, that wasn’t what I expected to find! What did you think we were looking for? (take a few answers) I think that we were a little like the crowd in the Gospel story today. See, they were following Jesus even though they didn’t know where he was going or what he was planning to do. They were just following to see what would happen – kind of like you following me! Now I have to admit that what we found was fun, but it was nothing compared to what Jesus showed them.
The story goes like this, Jesus had just healed a slave that belonged to a Centurion (a Roman soldier) and the people were amazed that Jesus could heal him, and that Jesus would help a Roman soldier! So they all started to follow him. Then, as people saw the crowd, more people started to follow, even though they didn’t know what they would see. When they got to the next town they saw something amazing and unbelievable! Jesus talked to a widow! Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, why is that amazing? Well, a widow is a woman whose husband has died, and when Jesus was teaching widows were worse to talk to than Roman soldiers! People couldn’t believe that Jesus would talk to her. To make things worse, Jesus was interrupting a funeral – the widow’s son had also just died. Jesus, seeing how hard this was for the woman raised her son from the dead! Now the crowd was blown away by the things they had seen. So much better than the (whatever your object was) that we found.
I think that this is still true for us today. We often try to follow Jesus, even though we don’t know where Jesus is leading us. But, it we do our best to follow, and keep our eyes and ears open, we might hear and see some amazing things!
Amazing God, we do our best to follow you and see the things that you do in the world. Teach us to rejoice in the work that you do. Teach us to not just follow you, but to help you do the work that needs to be done. Amen
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