Preparation: For the children’s sermon you will need a cut flower of some kind. Doesn’t matter what it is.
For the Worship Station you will need a large piece of banner paper or art roll paper (white would be best), markers and/or crayons and a place to tape it to the wall. Prepare the banner paper by drawing a long vine down the middle of it and writing “Jesus, the true vine” on it.
As the children gather, ask them what they need everyday to live and grow. You are looking for things like water and food. Ask them also how they get that water and food, who provides it for them? Do they get it themselves or does someone get it for them?
Most of us depend on other people to help us get food and water, even adults! If we live in a city we might depend on plumbers and engineers to design systems to bring water to our homes. If we are not farmers we rely on people to grow and harvest food for us. We rely on people to pack that food and ship it to stores, and other people to work in the stores!
I thought about this because the story we hear from the Gospel of John today talks about Jesus as the true vine, and us as the branches. I was trying to figure out a way to understand how important the central vine of a plant really is, and then I through about food and water. We all need the plant needs food and water to live, and all of that passes through the central part of the plant. The water comes up through the roots to the leaves, and the leaves make food for the plant to grow (OK, that pretty simplified, but you get the idea). The central vine, or main stalk or trunk of a plant is essential to connect all the parts of a plant that need food and water. If any part of a plant gets cut off it cannot live for very long.
Like this flower here. Sure, it still looks nice now, but since it has been cut off of its plant it will only look this way for a few days, even if I put it in water. In needs the rest of the plant so that it can get food to live and grow.
Jesus is like that for our spirit and our community. Jesus is the center of our faith life and connects us to people that feed and nourish our lives so that we can grow in love for one another and be fruitful in the world.
Creative God, you are the true vine that brings us food for our souls and water for faith. Keep us refreshed and strong in our love for you so that we can help to share your love and mercy throughout our communities and our world.
Put your vine banner up somewhere, or lay it out on a table, and invite people to add their own little branch to the vine. Encourage them to share branches with family and friends and to write something like, “I am feed by the true vine!”