Preparation: symbols of freedom like: flag, Bible, peace signs, statue of liberty, cross, hymnal (the old red hymnal was a sign of freedom in Namibia, Africa as it was given to them in a time of occupation and war but was used to declare their freedom to have english as a common language when the country gained independence)
Faith+Gather: Gather the children with you and welcome them. Say, “I have some items with me today… let’s see if we can figure out what they have in common” Have items in a bag or hidden and pull them out one at a time. Save Bible and/or cross for last. Ask kids to see if they can come up with their common element. Give them hints like, “What does this symbol mean?”
Faith+Share: After you have explored items for a minute say, “All these things are a little different and they do have different meanings, but one thing they have in common is that they bring to mind the word ‘freedom’. See the flag is a symbol of freedom for our country and the statue of liberty is a symbol of welcome and freedom not only for us in the United States but to those who come from other places. I also have the Bible here that is a different kind of symbol of freedom–this Bible is in English and did you know that a long time the Bible was only written in Greek and then in Latin? So people who didn’t know those languages could not read the Bible. Today we are talking about the day of reformation which is a day we remember a part of the history of our church but also a day that we look forward to how we are always being made new by Jesus. Part of the history of reformation is that a man named Martin Luther thought it was very important for everyone to be able to read the Bible and to teach their children what it says. So he translated the Bible and that is how the Bible is now like a symbol of freedom because it means that we can all read and know the stories of God. I also have a cross here–in today’s gospel Jesus says, ‘The truth will make you free–you all sin and are not perfect and cannot be without sin, but I have come to make you free.’ (paraphrase, you can read the scripture directly). Jesus went to the cross for you and for me and for all people, so this cross is a symbol of that freedom that we have through Jesus. It is freedom to love one another and help one another and tell the stories of the Bible to show God’s love for the world.”
Faith+Prayer: Let’s pray together. Jesus, you make us free. Thank you for your love. Thank you for the Bible which tells us your story. Amen.
Faith+Blessing: Make the sign of the cross and say + May you know God’s love and freedom today and always.
**Additional Idea: You could also do a children’s message that simply explains parts of reformation and how the Bible got translated. You could show many Bibles and talk about how we use scripture all throughout worship. Then use stickers as suggested by Worshipping With Children at this link to have kids find places in the bulletin where there are words from the Bible.
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