Have a tulip, a tulip bulb (or some other bulb flower) or the poinsettia. Gather the children around the tulip/poinsettia. If using the poinsettia ask the children when they last saw this plant. Christmas! The cool thing about poinsettia’s is that they “bloom” (red leaves) when it’s cold and actually need to stay in a dark closet with no light for much of the year. We bring them out in the fall when there is less sunlight and that is when they thrive. In the dark the poinsettias are renewing and getting ready to grow!
If using a tulip and bulb ask the children if they have every planted bulbs before. Does this bulb look like it could become a flower right now? No. It doesn’t. It just looks dead and pretty useless right now. But we plant the bulb in the fall about 6-8 inches underground so that no sunlight gets to them. All winter they stay a bulb in the ground, dead and not doing much. And then when the weather gets warmer and the ground unfreezes and becomes softer and warmer, the bulb begins to grow a stem. And a couple of weeks later you get these beautiful tulips that grow! This dead bulb will stay just the way it is unless we bury it in the dark and let it sit for a while. Beautiful things can come from the dark!
In our Bible story from John today Jesus talks about how new life can come from things that look dead and useless. In nature, tress, flowers and plants have parts of them that die, these become seeds that grow into new life. Jesus was trying to explain to his disciples that he too will die, but it’s not what they think. Jesus will die, they will be sad, but God will bring new life from Jesus’ death-like this flower. Jesus’ death and God raising him to life means that we have new life too! Each and every day God makes us new and we can grow like this flower to share God’s beauty and love with the whole world. When we die, we go to be with God in new life after we die. Jesus gathers us all up in this life and in the next and we are never alone! God brings life from EVERYTHING NO MATTER WHAT! Pretty cool, huh! We have new life and we are never alone.
For a worship station have soil, (small cup for scooping the soil), small terra cotta pots, and seeds. Permanent markers are the best way to draw on the pots so warn parents and have supervision. Have people draw symbols of new life on their pot and then plant a seed. You can have them take them home for the plants to grow during the Easter season, or give them away to an assisted living facility, half-way house or other places where your congregation can share the good news of new life and community forever in Jesus.
God, you bring new life from everything around us. You promise that we are with you always, even when we’re in the dark and can’t see the sunlight. Gather all your people so that the whole world will know your presence and love. Amen.