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.”

 

Holy Week Devotional Gospel of John, Year A

20130822-223520.jpg Share with one another the days or week’s concerns and celebrations. Be sure to write them down in order to pray for each other.

20130822-223633.jpg Read and reflect on the following passages each day:
Monday: John 12: 1-11
FaithCross Love can seem lavish and extraneous but Mary’s actions remind us that love can also keep us present with those whom we love. How can you show people in your life that they are important to you today? What are ways that we can remind ourselves that God loves us all in this same lavish and sacrificial way?
20130822-223633.jpgTuesday: John 20: 20-36
 FaithCrossThink of examples from nature or from your own experiences where something (or situation) had to “die” in order for something new to come about. Does the new life make the death any easier? How does knowing that God is still creating and making things new sustain us when we are experiencing all of the big and small “deaths” (losing job, divorce, empty nesters, moving, physical death, loss of independence) of life?
20130822-223633.jpgWednesday: John 13:21-32
FaithCross This is a difficult passage as it read that Satan entered Judas when he took the bread from Jesus. What does it mean that Judas, as one of Jesus’ disciples, still did not believe in Jesus and betrayed him? Does it change anything that Satan entered Judas? “The devil made him do it”? What do you think about that as a response to harmful behavior?
20130822-223633.jpgThursday: John 13: 1-17,31b-35
FaithCross To wash the feet of people was to be in the position of a very lowly servant in Jesus’ time. How do Jesus’ actions of foot washing along with the commandment to “love one another” as Jesus loved the disciples and loves us change how we treat other people? How do we truly serve those around us? How does the world know that we are followers of Jesus who came to serve, die and be raised to give us all freedom and eternal life?
20130822-223633.jpgFriday: John 18:1-19:42
FaithCross Trade off reading this long passage or assign parts. Light three candles at the beginning of your devotional time together. After John 18: 27, 19:16 and 19: 42 (the end), extinguish a candle and hold a minute of silent prayer before continuing on in the story. End your devotional time with silence.

20130822-223749.jpg Pray for the concerns and celebrations of those gathered. Pray to show lavish love to others, to allow new life to grow, for the wrestling with what we don’t understand, for the world to know God’s love and thanksgiving that God so loved the world that God gave Jesus so that no one is ever separated from God.

20130822-223908.jpg On Monday give each person in the household a cross of some kind (you can create one from cardstock or however you would like to), and write on it, “God’s love brings life from death.”

John 4 “The Woman at the Well,” March 23rd, 2014, Year A, Third Sunday of Lent

ffjChildrenSermonPreparation: Have water at different “stations” around your worship space. Station ideas: a small table top water feature, a pitcher and a small cup for each child, a bucket with water in it with a picture of a well, the baptismal font (be sure that there is water in it-maybe have some evergreen branches available). Leave stations available for Open Space time.

FaithCross_ConnectALT Gather the children towards the center of your worship space today. Briefly tell them that they are going to go on water walk.

FaithCross_BibleALT Say: God created water and God works in the world through water in many ways. Let’s go over here and this is our first stop on our water walk. God created rivers, oceans, lakes and waterfalls. Water is powerful isn’t it? What can water do? Do you know? (Water can smooth rocks, create new rivers, make sand, etc.) Water can create and change can’t it? Pretty cool. Ok, let’s keep walking.

Here is our second stop, a bucket and a well. Before people had sinks and bathtubs inside their homes people had to draw water from a deep hole in the ground called a well and sometimes carry the water a long ways home. Who can lift this bucket of water for me? Is it heavy? Would you like to carry it very far? But water is important-what do we use water for in our homes? If we lived on a farm who else would need water? Would only one bucket a day be enough? You would have to walk to the well several times a day! Jesus is at a well in our story today and talks to a woman. This woman is someone who doesn’t have many friends and almost no one speaks to, but Jesus does. He tells her that he is the living water and the water Jesus offers gushes with eternal life. Hmmm. I wonder what that means.

Let’s continue our water walk. Here is a pitcher of water and some cups. We’ve been walking a while, who’s thirsty? (Have a couple of helpers to pour water so that it doesn’t take too long.) Jesus says that those who drink from him will never be thirsty again. Do you get thirsty every day? I do! I don’t think Jesus is talking about our daily need for water. We are made up of mostly water and water keeps our bodies healthy. What do you think Jesus is talking about? (Accept all answers) I think maybe it might have something to do with our last stop on our water walk.

Let’s go to the baptismal font. When we are baptized we are declaring that God has acted first to say that we belong to God, God cares for us and we are part of God’s work in the world. Just like water in a river or from rain, the people of God working together can be powerful to spread God’s love all over the world. We can cover the world with love like an ocean covers a big part of the earth. (Sprinkle the kids with the water from the font.) This is water that is alive with the spirit and love of God, this is water that reminds us that God loves us and the whole world. This is water that we want to share with everyone we meet!

FaithCross_BlessALT Give the kids evergreen branches and have them dip them in the font and gently sprinkle the congregation and to say, “God’s living water for you!” (I have actually done this and yes, people get a little wet. J You can also have small bowls that you dip into the font to fill with water and have the kids use their fingers to sprinkle. )

FaithCross_PrayALT “God, you give us what we need. You know who we are and what we do and love us no matter what. Help us to share your living water with everyone we meet. Amen.”

 

Children’s Sermon John 3: 1-17, March 16th, 2014, Year A-Second Sunday in Lent

20130822-223520.jpg Gather the children where there is a little space. Read the story of Nicodemus from a children’s Bible or paraphrase in your own words.

20130822-223633.jpg In the story about Nicodemus and Jesus in John, Jesus is explaining to Nicodemus that God’s love is everywhere and God works in the world in many and mysterious ways. An example that Jesus uses is that the “spirit blows where it wants.” God’s love and grace goes all kinds of unpredictable ways!

FaithCross I have this fan here with paper shaped like hearts. Where do you think these hearts will go when we turn the fan on? (Alternatively, you could give the kids small hearts of tissue paper and have them blow them around. Just as unpredictable. J ) Turn on the fan and have the pieces of paper blow around for a bit. Turn off the fan and say: “Look at where all of these pieces of paper went! I never would have thought that they would blow to all of these places!” (Point out some specific places and maybe people the paper blew to.) “God’s love is just like that! God’s love goes everywhere to everyone! Can we help to move God’s love around the world like wind? Yes! What are some ways we can do that?” (Accept all answers.) Those are all good ways! Take one of these hearts with you and take some extras to give away!

20130822-223749.jpg “God of all, thank you for blowing your love into our lives and into our world. Help us to share your love with everyone. Amen.”

20130822-223908.jpg “God’s spirit is with you.”

Open Space Worship Station suggestion: If you do Open Space or worship stations have a table covered with butcher paper and the words “Where God’s Spirit Moves.” Have magazines, crayons, markers, tape and glue sticks available. Ask people to cut out of the magazines or draw where they see God’s work and love in the world. Hang the mural in your worship space and add to it in the coming weeks in Lent.