Scripture: John 3:14-21
Prep: For this children’s sermon you will need a blank white piece of paper, a pencil (no pens, markers, etc.) and a flashlight. On one side of the blank paper draw half of a heart. Flip the sheet, hold it up to the light so that you can see where you left off and then draw the other half. When you shine the flashlight from behind you will see a “whole heart.” You can also write the word LOVE with L-O on one side and V-E on the other. This must be done in pencil to be the most effective.
Invite the children to gather where you hold children’s time. Ask them about a time when they were looking for something in a dark closet, under a bed, etc. When it was dark could they see very much? What did they use to see better in those dark places?
Our Gospel story today tells about how Jesus is like that has come into the world. The first part might be familiar, the God so loved the world that God sent Jesus into it. And the promise is that we will be with Jesus for always. It goes on to tell us how sometimes we feel that we are walking in darkness–or maybe sometimes we really are like when we are looking for something in our rooms at night! But darkness can also be the hurtful, scary, or sad things in our world. Jesus promises to be even where it is dark. And Jesus wants us to shine like lights with God’s love for everyone so that everyone can see ALL of God’s love! Look at this piece of paper I have (hold it so that they cannot see the back at all). What do you see? (Accept all answers, someone may even guess half a heart or half of the word “love.”) When I shine a light from behind what do you see? The whole heart or the whole word. God’s love is like this in our lives; God’s love shines on us and through us so that ALL can see God’s love! What are some ways that God’s love “shines through” you? Maybe when you give a hug, or help at home…what else? (Accept all answers.) That’s right! God wants love to shine everywhere!
Have paper hearts or paper and scissors to make hearts and flashlights at a table. Encourage people to write a message of love on the heart OR a word about what they are struggling with and then shine the light of Christ through it. Offer up a prayer together of thanksgiving for God’s light that shines through even the darkest moments.
*original heart and flashlight concept by Brigette Weier