Children’s Sermon, Matthew 16: 21-28, August 31st, 2014, Year A, Pentecost 12

20130822-222604.jpg Have a musical instrument that you don’t know how to play or a hand held game of some sort. As you invite the children forward be attempting to play the instrument or game. Talk about how hard it is to learn and maybe you should just give up. Maybe it’s not worth it or important if it’s hard. It would be easier to put a song on and just pretend to play or to only do what you know. What would be the easy way out?

Ask the children about something at school, or learning something that is hard. What is it that makes it hard? When was a time that you did something hard but then found out that you learned, or it became important in some way? (Accept all answers). Say, “yes, we all have hard things that we have to do sometimes.”

20130822-223633.jpg Today Peter and Jesus are talking about hard things. Jesus says that he is going to die but be raised again. Death is a VERY hard thing isn’t it? If your friend told you that they were going to die, you would say what Peter said, “No that can’t be true!” But Jesus told Peter that this very hard thing that Jesus was going to do is the exact thing that needed to happen for something better-God raising Jesus from the dead would proclaim to the whole world that nothing separates us from God-not even death! Jesus would take this hard and sad thing and point to the promises of God to be with us always and to love us always. The cross is a very hard thing, in Jesus’ time it was about death. We have crosses all around us here in church, we wear necklaces or bracelets with crosses to remind us that Jesus is with us in the very hard things and will never leave us. God’s love is there when things are easy and when things are hard like: (school, fighting with friends or siblings, death, etc.) That is that is the promise from God and so the cross tells us of that promise. Jesus doesn’t want us to keep that promise to ourselves, even when it might be hard or scary to share God’s love. How can we share God’s love in the midst of hard times with our family or friends?

20130822-224425.jpg God, you promise to be with us always. When things are hard or easy, you are there. When we feel alone or happy, you are there. Thank you for sending Jesus to show us your love and mercy. Amen.

FaithCross_Worship For a worship station around this fairly difficult text you can have some cross necklaces (kits are at craft stores) for the children (of all ages!) to make. Have some cardstock with cross foam stickers and cross templates for tracing to make cards to hand out to people who need to be reminded that God is with them in hard times. Take them to a rehab facility or a hospital.

20130822-223908.jpg +Jesus is with you always+

Children’s Sermon Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost, Matthew 16:13-20, August 24, 2014

Prepare: You will need a large(ish) flat rock that will be stable and not rock back and forth, like a flagstone; and a box with some marbles in it. The box should be big enough to put the stone in (or the stone should be small enough to fit in the box!)

For the worship station, try to have several more flat rocks available. Flagstone is great for this! Have several colorful permanent markers out, too.

20130822-223520.jpg  As the children gather, set the stone out on the floor (someplace where it will not scratch the floor because the children will be asked to push on it! Maybe on carpet or bring a blanket if you have wood or tile floor.)  Keep the marbles hidden in the box for now. Ask the children if any of them have a nickname, something special that their parents or a good friend calls them.

FaithCross In the Gospel story that we hear today Jesus gives one of his friends a nickname, and it is such a good nickname that we sometimes forget his real name! Jesus gives his friend Simon the nickname Peter, which means rock. Have a rock right here! What can you tell me about this rock?

(You may need to encourage some answers here. Things like, “Does it move around, or is it steady?” “Do you think that it is breakable?” etc. You want them to see the rock as strong and stable.)

You could probably stand on that rock and feel pretty sure that you won’t fall over. Now, what if I do this? I am going to put this rock in this box that has some marbles in the bottom.  What happens now? Is it still stable? Do you still think that it would be ok to stand on?

When Jesus gives Simon the name Peter he does it because he wants to build a church on Peter! Not a building, but a community of people. Jesus wants Peter to be strong and steady for the people who follow Jesus. Jesus knows that this is a good choice because Peter has figured out who Jesus is. Peter knows that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. Other people say that Jesus is an ancient prophet who has come back to life, or that Jesus is trying to be John the Baptist – and that is kind of like the marbles under our rock. It makes everything a little less stable. Peter, however, knows who Jesus is, and doesn’t have any marbles under him to throw him off. He is steady as a rock!

FaithCross_Worship Have an area set up with the rocks and markers. Invite people to write the name of a person who is/was a rock in their faith formation.  It is not one name per rock, each rock should be covered in names!  Start with the all the rocks spread out, as they fill with names stack them together to make a cross, or a fish, or some other symbol of the Christian faith.

20130822-223749.jpg    Living God, we praise you for the people who have been rocks in our life. You have blessed us with people who build up our faith on a sure foundation. Teach us to be that sure foundation for people in our lives. Amen

20130822-223908.jpg  Be a rock for God’s church today and always!

 

~GB

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Children’s Sermon Pentecost 10A Matthew 15:10-28 August 17, 2014

Preparation: The word for peace or love or hope or a mixture of them in different languages–you can do this visually with a collage that you make or use one of the links below. Prepare a handout or a worship station (more on station below under Faith+Worship)
A list of languages and the word for peace from Columbia University
An image of Peace in different languages

20130822-223315.jpgGather the children with you. Ask them listen to you as you speak the word peace–it will help if they close their eyes (or substitute another word if you like) Say the word peace in english first, then say it in a few different languages. What did you hear? (take their answers, exploring that maybe they are not sure what they heard)

20130822-223633.jpgThose were all different ways of saying peace in different languages. I want to teach this word because our readings today talk about what comes out of our mouths being what is from our heart. And that when dirty things come out of our mouths, which the bible passage called things that defile, it is like our hearts are dirty. What would some of those things be that may be ugly that we say sometimes? (help them think of things like lying, exaggerating, not nice names, teasing that hurts people, etc) And our hearts probably don’t feel happy or kind when we are saying those things, but they feel closed up and hard (make a fist with your hand) So when our hearts are open (open fist) and willing to love, words that are good and kind and peaceful come out of our mouths and those are the kinds of words that help bring different people together. Can you think of some of those words? (take answers)

One way that we start to open our hearts and minds is knowing that others people, no matter how different they are from us, are a part of God’s world and they are children of God too. And when we learn about different people our hearts start to be open and not closed. So I wanted to give you some words for peace today in other languages. (either use the worship station for this or hand out an image or list of words and their languages.) Teach one or two of the words now and then instruct the children in the worship station if you are using it.

FaithCross_WorshipHave the words in different languages available on a handout or at a station on a poster board. Have paper and markers available and have some printed paper with a big word PEACE (or love, hope or all there) Then ask people to write down the different languages around the word peace and take them home and learn them.

20130822-223749.jpgJesus, God of peace, ____, _____, ______ (insert your choice of other language for peace) Help us to see others with open hearts and help us to have words that bring healing and love come out of our mouths. Be with all those who are hurt by words and help our world live in peace. Amen

20130822-223908.jpg+Go with God’s love to bring peace in the world+

Matthew 14: 22-33, “Jesus helps us always,” Children’s sermon, Pentecost 9, Year A, Aug. 10th, 2014

 

20130822-223520.jpg (Before worship ask a child to help you out at children’s sermon time. If you have an exercise ball, bring that to worship.) Call the children forward and have the child helping you come up where all can see him/her. Ask, “What are some things that you can do by yourself?” Accept all answers and if appropriate or feasible have the child act them out. Do maybe two or three things. Then ask, “what are some things that you need a friend to help you with?” (If they are stumped, offer like maybe balancing something or homework or a game, walking on a balance beam, etc) Say, “We need friends to help us don’t we? I have the exercise ball here. Do you think that (child’s name) can sit on it and raise their feet off the ground by themselves? Let’s try!” (It should be very difficult!) Say, “Who would like to help them to balance?” Let a couple of children help and try to balance. Have the children cheer each other on. Say, “We need each other don’t we? We need each other to keep from falling and we need each other to cheer us on!”

20130822-223633.jpg Say, “In today’s Bible story, Jesus is praying in the mountains and Peter and the disciples are in a boat in a storm. They are getting tossed about quite a bit. Then they see Jesus walking toward them on the water! What would you think about that? (Accept all answers) Peter wanted to go out to meet Jesus on the water. The other disciples stayed in the boat. Peter got out and got scared because, he WAS walking on water! Is that a common thing to do? But Jesus reached down and grabbed Peter, just like we helped (child’s name) balance on the ball. Jesus knows that we need other people to help us. They got into the boat and Peter and the other disciples worshiped Jesus. Peter helped the other disciples see that Jesus is God’s son who loves us, helps us and is always with us, even in stormy seas. The disciples needed Peter too!

How can we help each other see that God is always with us? (Accept all answers) Those are great ways! We can also help our family, friends at school and neighbors see Jesus helping them in their lives! Who helps you to know that Jesus is with you always? Yes, all of those people are important. Do you think that God created us all to help each other? Yes, I do!

FaithCross_Worship Jesus promises to be with us always and to catch us when we fall. It doesn’t mean that we sometimes aren’t afraid but that Jesus is with us in our fear. Have a large poster board cross on a table with magazines, newspapers, scissors, glue and markers. Have people cut out of the newspapers/magazines where they pray for people to know that Jesus is with them. People can draw or write prayers as well. Leave the cross up for the next week or two so that during Open Space or worship station time, people can “pray the cross” for the world to know Jesus’ love and presence.

20130822-223749.jpg Jesus, you are with us in good times and in hard times. We know that your hand will catch us when we are falling, just like you caught Peter. May we also help each other and offer a hand to catch someone else when they need it. Amen.

20130822-223908.jpg Make the sign of the cross and say, “Jesus is with you, do not be afraid.”