Tag Archives: John

Children’s Sermon Maundy Thursday Year B John 13:1-17

Scriptures: John 13:1-17

Preparation:  Find a crown, or some other object that will make the children think of a classic fairy tale king, and a towel.  Put both the crown and towel into a bag with crown on top so you can get it out first, without showing the towel.

Faith+Open:  Start by reminding the children of the Palm Sunday chant, “Hosanna! Hosanna!”  Remember that great king we welcomed into Jerusalem on Sunday?  Now pull out the crown.

Faith+Share: :  I was thinking about that king, too, so I brought a crown.  What do you think about when you see a crown, or hear about a king? (wait for a few answers – since you are in “church mode” you might get a few answers of “Jesus!”  Try to get them to talk about the more fairy tale image of a mighty king.)  Yeah, kings are powerful and proud!  Do you think a king like that would come to your house and make your bed? Clean your room?  What about cleaning your bathroom for you?  No, probably not.

Well, listen to this, I know a story where a king sat down with his friends, then he washed their feet!  No kidding, he got a towel and a bowl of water and washed a bunch of stinky, dirty feet.  How would you feel about that?  A king washing your feet?  Well, by now you’ve probably figured out that I’m talking about Jesus.  That might be even more strange, don’t you think?  Jesus washing your feet!?!  I mean, he’s God’s son, he can do anything, and he chooses to wash a bunch of feet!  One of his friends, Simon Peter, feels the same way, he tried to get Jesus to stop, but Jesus says you must let me wash your feet, the smelliest, dirtiest part of you so that you can be really clean.  I think Jesus is talking about more than feet here.  Jesus cleans out all the bad things that we do, all the stinky parts of our life and forgives and loves us, even when we have stinky feet.  Come back on Sunday to hear the rest of the story!

Faith+Prayer:  Loving God, we thank you for washing away the stinky things that we do, and for forgiving us when we make mistakes.  Keep us ever in your love and forgiveness. Amen.

Faith+Blessing: Make the sign of the cross and say:

God be in my head
God be in my heart
God be on my left
God be on my right

Children’s Sermon Palm Sunday B Mark 11:1-11-or-John 12:12-16

Scriptures: Mark 11:1-11-or-John 12:12-16

Option 1: If your Palm Sunday Worship does not include a procession you can use children’s time to celebrate the story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.  With or without palms, have the children gather into a parade and walk around the sanctuary shouting “Hosanna! Hosanna!  Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna!”  Get them to make some noise!  Talk about how exciting it must have been to have see Jesus coming into the city, let them dance and shout.  Gather them together and use the prayer at the end.

Option 2:

Faith+Open:  As the children gather, make a significant change in your ritual.  For example, if you always have the children sit in a specific place, tell them that they can no longer sit there because someone spilled some really sticky glue on the floor and they would be stuck there forever.  Really ham it up.  Once you have a few of them going say “April Fool!”

Faith+Share: Do you guys know what an April fool’s joke is?  It’s what I just did to you, you try to convince people of something that’s just crazy or silly, then you say “April Fool!”  It’s one of my favorite days of the year, and this year it happens right on Palm Sunday, which I think is fantastic!  See, a really good April Fool’s joke makes people believe one thing, then surprises them with something else. 

NOTE:  This is where it is really important to make sure that you don’t make Holy Week into a joke.  Use the April Fool’s idea to get into the story, but don’t take it too far!

Today is the beginning of the greatest story in the Bible, the story of Holy Week.  I love it when Palm Sunday and April Fool’s Day are the same because the people in the story are expecting something when Jesus comes into Jerusalem.  The people who are cheering for Jesus are Israelites, and they are looking for the next great king to help them.  They imagine Jesus to be a king who will build an army, kick the Romans out of Jerusalem and save them from their enemies, but that’s not where the story goes.  Jesus certainly has come to save them, but not from the Romans, and not from any enemy that we can see.  Over the course of this next week, Jesus goes from being the crowd favorite to being the one person that everyone seems to hate.  His closest friends turn their backs on them, and the crowds that cheered for Jesus call for his crucifixion, call for Jesus to be killed.  The story doesn’t go the way they expect.

But there’s one more twist.  This craziest thing happens, something that people in the Bible even describe foolish or silly.  Jesus . . .well, you have to come back next week to hear the rest!

Faith+Prayer:  Hosanna!  Amazing God, we praise you for your love and mercy.  Travel with us through this Holy Week and be with us when the story doesn’t go the way we expect.  Amen.

Faith+Blessing: Make the sign of the cross and say:

God be in my head
God be in my heart
God be on my left
God be on my right

Faith+Home Connection April 2012

Scripture: John 20: 19-31

Faith + Open: Gather all in your home to a place where you can be comfortable. Light a candle and open with prayer.

God of life, you come to us wherever we are so that we may know you in our lives. Thank you for the gift of faith and may we share that gift with everyone we know. Amen.

Faith + Share: Read John 20: 19-31 in your favorite family Bible.

With young children have them act out the story for a different perspective.

With adults, have different people read the different parts in the story.

Questions For children: Tell of a time when you were afraid? Who were you with? What made you feel better? We are all afraid sometimes, but when we are afraid we know that just as Jesus came to the disciples to give them peace, Jesus is with you and will give you peace too! Who can you tell about the peace of Jesus to?

Questions For adults: The disciples were hiding and afraid to go out into the world. Jesus came and gave them his peace and told them that they were now to go out into the world with the transforming message of God’s forgiveness and love. When we are afraid God comes to us, not once but over and over to share God’s peace with us and to remind us that we are not people who live in fear but in the proclamation of the good news of the resurrection of Jesus and we must go out and tell the world. What holds you back from fully embracing the message of Easter? Do we live as if Easter is real? What holds you back from telling your friends and neighbors about the love of God?

Faith + Serve: There are people afraid all over the world for a myriad of reasons: war, famine, violence, disease just to name a few. Begin by praying for those who live daily in fear for God’s Spirit of peace to flow into their lives. Then go to http://www.elca.org/Our-Faith-In-Action/Responding-to-the-World/ELCA-World-Hunger.aspx and read about how you can make a difference in someone’s life!

Faith + Blessing: Jesus came and told the disciples “Peace be with you” and breathed the Holy Spirit on them. Give each other this blessing this month everyday:

May the Spirit and Peace of God be with you today. You can either give each other the “peace sign” or make the sign of the cross on each other.

Faith + Close: Extinguish the candle, give each other the blessing and then pray: God of life, we want to live as Easter people. Breathe on us everyday your gift of peace and love so that we may carry that out into the world. May all of creation be at peace! Amen

~BW

Childrens Sermon Lent 5B John 12:20-33 or Jeremiah 31:31-34

Scriptures: John 12:20-33 or Jeremiah 31: 31-34

Supplies: a cross magnet (this can be made by attaching a magnet to any sort of cross-but make sure it is a strong magnet!) a large plastic tray and metal nails (be sure that they are have iron in them)

Faith +Open: gather the children to the space where you hold children’s time. Ask them if they know what a magnet does. Accept all answers. Show them the cross magnet and the nails. Ask them what they think will happen if the magnet comes close to the nails. Accept all answers then show them!

Faith + Share: The nails should have stuck to the magnet (practice this one before worship!). Say: “In our Bible readings today we hear about how God loves us and wants us to be close. God calls this being God’s people and Jesus said that all people will be drawn to him. Just like this magnet “draws” the nails to it so does Jesus on the cross. Because Jesus died on the cross for us we are now as close to God as these nails are to the magnet. Does the magnet let go of the nails? NO! And God never lets go of us either! God’s love is a very strong bond!”

Faith + Blessing: today as you go back to your families I am going to make the sign of the cross on your forehead and say “God never lets you go.” So this week you can bless your family and friends with these same words! We all need to hear that God is always with us!

Faith + Close: Prayer: Dear God, we are so grateful that you never let us go! Remind us that you are with us always. We thank you for Jesus who keeps us close to you! Amen.

Additional idea: have a cross magnet for each child OR even each person/ family in your congregation.

BW 3/16/2012

Lent 4B John 3:14-21 March 18, 2012

Scripture: John 3:14-21

Preparation: Get the book Mama do you Love Me orPapa Do You Love Me by Barbara M. Joosse
**other books you could use: Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown, Guess How Much I love Youby Sam McBratney

Faith+Open: Gather children to you. Today we are reminded how much God loves the world and that Jesus came not to condemn us–not to tell us all how bad we are but to save us, to make everyone children of God. Sometimes we think about God as a mom or a dad or grandparent or someone who takes care of us and shows us love even when do do things to frustrate them. Does that ever happen in your house? I have a story to share with you today to help us think about God’s love. 

Faith+Share: Read the story you have chosen. All these books use images to help explain unconditional love. You can shorten the story and pick favorite pages as well. End with summary statement and/or saying John 3: 16-17

Faith+Prayer: Jesus, you came to the world to show us that your love is high, wide, deep, long, and never ending. Hold us in your big love always. Amen

Faith+Blessing: Make sign of cross and say:
God in my head
God in my heart
God on my left
God on my right

~LB

Lent 3B John 2:13-25 March 11, 2012

Scripture: John 2: 13-25

Preparation: Pictures of the temple and a very large heart

Faith+Open: Gather children to you. Say, today in our Gospel reading Jesus goes into the temple, do you know what the temple was? Take answers and show your picture/s of the temple.

Faith+ShareThe temple was a place that people went to worship God, but it was also a place where all the rituals took place and where people could gather together. People at that time would bring animals and food and money to the temple to give to God. They needed a way to have the animals checked and a way to exchange money so they had the right kind for the temple. In order to do the rituals the best way it took a lot work. Jesus today goes into the temple and gets very angry at what is going on there. He says that the people have forgotten what it was that God meant to do by giving them a temple, a place to worship. He says that now that God is doing a new thing with Jesus. God is not just in the temple but is in Jesus and in the world. This story shows us not only that Jesus was very human and could get very angry like we get angry sometimes but that also God’s love was bigger than any temple or any building or any gift or sacrifice could ever hold. God’s love is so big that it bigger than anger and bigger than all the sins, all the things we can do wrong. So even though Jesus is angry with people in this story, Jesus is also declaring God’ love to be so very huge. 

I have here a very big heart so show God’s love. Do you think it’s even bigger than this heart? It sure is! I am going ask that all of you write your name on this heart because God’s love is big enough to hold us all. You can have children write their names during this time or tell them it will be in the back of the church or it will be out during the offering time for them to write one–whatever works best in your setting.

Faith+Prayer: Jesus, we know that you lived like we do. We know that you live in the world and that you are here with us in worship but that you are also everywhere and always with us. Help us to remember how big your love is and to share that big love with others. Amen

Faith+Blessing: Make the sign of the cross saying:
God in my head
God in my heart
God on my left
God on my right

~LB

Epiphany 2 Year B John 1:43-51

Scripture: John 1:43-51

Preparation: Small toy of a large animal (like an elephant, or dinosaur), either in your pocket or in a small bag or backpack.

Faith+Open: As the children start to gather, call to them and say, “I have a whole elephant in my pocket!  Come and see!”  As the kids gather around, ask them what they think of you having a whole elephant in your pocket.  Take a few answers and then show them the toy.

Faith+Share: OK, I tricked you a little bit.  I did have an elephant in my pocket, but just a toy.  Sometimes this trick happens in a bigger way!  For example, in Kansas there is a sign by one of the main highways that says, “Come and see the World’s biggest prairie dog!”  Did you hear those three words again?  “Come and See.”  The prairie dog is huge, but it’s made out of concrete, it’s not real, just like the elephant.  We hear things like this all the time, maybe not exactly “Come and See,” but people talking about amazing, fantastic stuff that just isn’t real, or is not as amazing as they make it seem.

Today’s Gospel story has this same thing, an amazing, fantastic, unbelievable story, and it’s not quite what it seems; but this time it’s even better than it seems.  Jesus is talking to the people who will become his closest friends, his disciples.  Some of them just don’t quite believe that Jesus is who he says he is.  One in particular, Nathanael, says something kind of mean.  He says, how can Jesus be any good at all, look where he’s from!  Nothing good can come from that place.  His friend, Phillip says those three words, “Come and See.”  When Nathanael meets Jesus, Jesus tells Nathanael something that Jesus could not possibly know.  When Nathanael hears it, he believes that Jesus is the Son of God.  Jesus says, “but wait!  There’s more!”  If you think that was amazing, I tell you that you will see heaven opened up and the angels of God flying around me.  The story just gets better, Come and See!

Faith+Prayer: Amazing God, you keep surprising us with you love and mercy.  Help us to open our eyes and see the wonders of the world you made.  Open our hearts so that we might love each other as you love us. Amen.

Faith+Blessing: May your eyes be opened to see all the amazing works of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Christmas Day Year B John 1:1-18 Children’s Sermon

Scripture: John 1:1-18

Preparation: small birthday candles.

Faith+Open: Gathering children. Start humming “Happy Birthday to you”… when kids arrive say, There are so many good Christmas songs, I wish we could sing them all. Like my favorite one, can you guess what it is? Hum “Happy Birthday”  Kids should recognize it and may even tell you it’s not a Christmas song. Yes, I’m humming Happy Birthday to you… such a great Christmas song… 

Faith+ShareDo you think it’s a good Christmas song? No/Yes.. take answers and go either way with it. Well, it may not be exactly a Christmas song and it doesn’t do a good job of telling the story of Jesus. But it is a song to sing together today to help us remember what we are celebrating. Let’s Sing. Sing Happy Birthday together. How do you celebrate a birthday? Take answers. Comment on what is the same or different. I was thinking about the ways we celebrate Jesus’ birth–we have candles (point to advent wreath or other candles), we give gifts of offering (show offering plate), we sing to ether and we have a meal that Jesus gave us (point to altar/bread/wine). Our gospel story today says that God become flesh and lived among us and that Jesus was the word and the light for us to know God’s love. One of the ways we know each week is when we gather for the bread and the wine. The bread and wine are ways that we can touch and feel and know the low of God who came to be with us. They help us to feel God’s presence here. 

I have hear a small birthday candle for each of you. I would like you to take this home and find a time to light it and try to put it in a piece of bread so we remember the words that Jesus came to be with us.  Gather your family to sing Happy Birthday to Jesus or another favorite song. Then thank God for the light of Christ in the world and in our lives. 

Faith+Prayer: God, thank you for coming as real person. Thank for the word of life in Jesus. Help us to share our bread and our story of your love. Amen

Faith+Christmas Blessing: May your days be filled with the peace, joy, hope, and love of God +

All intellectual property rights apply. This may be used in a home or ministry setting but not sold or used for profit. Authors: Leta Behrens, Brigette Weier, Gus Brockmann

Advent 3B John 1:6-28 Children’s Sermon

Scripture Focus: John 1:6-28

Preparation: Simple nativity set or picture

Faith+Open: Gather children to you. Show them the nativity set or scene. Ask them to tell you who they know about in this scene. Name the different people present.

Faith+Share: Is there anyone that is important to the Christmas story that is not here? See what they say. There could be several answers… or they might just say no… or they might look at you blankly!
Our Gospel today comes from the Gospel of John. And we heard/will hear about a man named John the Baptizer. Has anyone heard of him? Well he was a cousin to Jesus, Elizabeth is his mom and Mary went to visit her while they were both pregnant, Mary with Jesus and Elizabeth with John. John knew about Jesus, he know that his cousin was one who would come to bring light into the world, to show people just how loved they are by God. John wanted everyone to know this as well so he did all he could to tell the people to get ready for Jesus to come—not just be born but to show up and walk with them and talk with them. John was so serious about this that he started baptizing people to help them get ready. He wanted them to hear that their sins were washed away and that were loved by God. So, John was not in the manger when Jesus was born, he was just a baby himself, but John is an important part of our Christmas story because he reminds us that while we wait in Advent we are not just preparing for Christmas, we are telling the world this great story!

You know, I think someone else is missing from this nativity scene too. Each one of you. Because the Christmas story is not just John’s story and it’s not just Jesus’ story, it’s your story too because you are loved by God and Jesus came to show you the way too. 

Faith+Prayer: Jesus, we watch and we listen and we wait for Christmas. Help us to tell our story about Jesus birth and about your love to our family and our friends and our neighbors. Amen

Faith+Blessing:May the light of Christ be with you today and all your days. +

Living Water Children’s Sermon Lent3A

Scripture Focus John 4:5-42

Children’s Sermon #1 (Within Worship/shorter version)

Faith+Open–Welcome children to gather with you.

Props: a fish bowl/aquarium or pictures of water life.

We heard story today of Jesus meeting a woman at a well where she was getting water. He tells her that she is loved by God even after knowing the things she had done wrong in life. Jesus says that the water she needs is from him—Living Water.  What do you think of when you hear the words ‘living water’?

Faith+Share:  Show your ‘living water’… I think of this kind of water. Fish and plants and mud and dirt and all those things that live in the water. What else needs water? What do we use it for?

We need water for life, all of us, every human and plant and animal. And we have water in our church building all the time—where is it? Yes, the baptismal font helps us remember what Jesus said about the kind of water we need from God. That water is a water of promise that we are loved and forgiven and held by God all the time, no matter who we are and no matter who we meet in our lives, humans are held by God’s grace in living water.

Faith+Prayer: God, thank you for water, for giving us what we need to live. Please help those who do not have enough water or clean water. Fill our hearts with your living water of love and mercy. Amen

Children’s Sermon #2 (Children’s worship time/longer version)

Faith+Open–Welcome children to gather with you.

Props: a fish bowl/aquarium or pictures of water life.

We heard story today of Jesus meeting a woman at a well where she was getting water. He tells her that she is loved by God even after knowing the things she had done wrong in life. Jesus says that the water she needs is from him—Living Water.  What do you think of when you hear the words ‘living water’?

Faith+Share:  Show your ‘living water’… I think of this kind of water. Fish and plants and mud and dirt and all those things that live in the water. What else needs water? What do we use it for?

We need water for life, all of us, every human and plant and animal. And we have water in our church building all the time—where is it? Yes, the baptismal font helps us remember what Jesus said about the kind of water we need from God. That water is a water of promise that we are loved and forgiven and held by God all the time, no matter who we are and no matter who we meet in our lives, humans are held by God’s grace in living water.

Activity ideas:

Art—create pictures of living water either from cutting out shapes and gluing or coloring

Science—have buckets or milk jugs filled with water. Talk about the well water and what that may have been like to have to carry water a long way. Have kids do a relay to see if they can carry the water across the room.

Faith+Prayer: God, thank you for water, for giving us what we need to live. Please help those who do not have enough water or clean water. Fill our hearts with your living water of love and mercy. Amen

Written by Rev. Leta Behrens