Tag Archives: Year A

Children Sermon Pentecost 15A: Matthew 21:23-32

Faith+Open: Gather the children. If they have not heard the gospel story yet, recap it. If they have remind them of what was said along the lines that a father had two children and one said he would do something and didn’t and the other said he wouldn’t but did.

Faith+Share: Say, “Hhhhmmm… this sounds familiar to me! I think I hear this at home a lot from my own two kids. But you know, I can remember times that I have said I would do something for another person and then either forgot or got busy and didn’t do it. One time I told my son that I would help him out by sewing his cub scout badge onto his uniform shirt and then it was time for the meeting and guess what, I hadn’t done it yet. Or another time, I told a friend I would pray for her when I got him but then I just plain forgot. Has this ever happened to you? Where you said you would do something but then didn’t do it?” Take some answers.
“I am thinking that one of the things that Jesus wants us to know is that what we say AND what we do matter. It is another way for us to think about being in service to one another. Once my daughter told me she WAS NOT going to move the clothes from the washer to the dryer and I was pretty tired and didn’t want to fight with her so I sighed and walked away. But then I came upstairs and she had done what I had asked. That meant a lot to me. It was a way for her to help me out in a busy day.”

Now get quiet and whisper and make a deal out of this being a ‘secret surprise”
“Let’s think of some kind of act of service you can do at home for someone you live with. Any ideas?”
Get their ideas and then challenge them to go home and do a mystery act of service for someone in their family.

An extra idea would be to have little “mystery service” cards to hand out to them so they could leave the card wherever they had helped out.

Faith+Prayer: God, help us to remember to talk about you and be in service to others, showing them our love and your love. Amen

Faith+Blessing: God in my head, God in my heart, God on my left, God on my right Amen.

Children Sermon Matthew 20:1-16 14A

Summary: The parable of the labors in the field could be summed up by saying “that’s not fair,” a familiar phrase in households with children. They will understand the idea of something not being fair so we emphasize living in God’s grace means that mercy trumps being fair in the kingdom of God. 

Preparation: a small something to give away (i.e., candy, small crosses, pencils)

Faith+Open: Gather the children with you. Have the line up from oldest to youngest (or tallest to shortest if that is easier. You can also do a just a few kids if you have too many to do it with all of them) and spend some time examining them in this order making sure it’s right.

Faith+Share: “Let’s see here. We have the oldest/tallest here at this end of the line and the youngest/shortest here at this end of the line. I have here these (candy or small crosses or some small giveaway) to give out but who should go first?” If you don’t get kids vying to go first right away then prompt them a bit by asking should oldest go first? Or tallest? Or those who got up her first?, etc.

“Do you have line leaders at school? And what is the line leaders job? So they go first for the day? Hhmmm. Well if this is my line leader then it means the kid at the very end is very last right?” (You may want to have the kids sit at this point, but stay in their line)

“Well we heard/will hear this gospel story from Jesus that there were workers in a field and some worked from the beginning of the day and some didn’t work until the end of the day but they all got paid the same. Do you know what the workers who got their first said? Yep, they said, ‘That’s not Fair!’ we worked longer and harder and we should get more. But they were given what they were promised, it was just the same as what the workers who came later were promised. Have you ever had something be not fair? So we know what it feels like think that we didn’t get treated the same. BUT Jesus tells this story to teach us about GRACE. See the workers who were hired later still had families to bring home food to and the landowner did not want anyone to go hungry so they were all paid the same. Jesus says that God is like this. God gives us what we need and loves us all so much that we don’t get what we deserve, we get GRACE. Jesus said the last will be first and the first last! This might sound unfair to let the last go first but with God we are all included and we are all a part of God’s GRACE and we are all God’s Children.”
“We are going to say a prayer of thanks and then I will hand these out. Can you guess which way I will hand them out? The last shall be first!”

Faith+Prayer: God, you give us grace and love. Thank you for your love for us and for all people. Help us to remember that no matter whether we are first or last we are your children. Amen

~LB

Children’s Sermon Matthew 18:15-20 Pentecost 12A

Faith+Open: Gather children with you and a copy of the 10 commandments with you. Show them what you have and explain what it is.

Faith+ShareI am going to tell you a commandment and I want you to tell me if it’s about loving God or loving people. Read all or some of the commandments and have them respond with God or People. The commandments are there for us to know that loving God and loving people are the most important ways we live together. Now, we may know this is important but let me see… raise your hand if you ever have a disagreement with someone during the day. Think of all the people you see in a day and if you ever have times that you don’t get along…. I can tell you that I am remember that my brother and I argued probably a lot when we were kids. And we would often go and run and tell our mom–how many of you do that? We wanted her to pick one person to be right, but you know, she never really did–even when I KNEW that of course I was right! Instead she wanted us to work out. Do you ever hear those words to ‘work it out’?   Today our Gospel story Jesus tells us how to work things out with other people. It’s not always easy but first we need to tell the person why what they are doing is not okay with us. Then if that doesn’t work we can go get help to work it out. And you know what–we are asked to do this with love. Wow. That’s hard. I remember one time my brother and I had to hold hands while we were arguing, that sure made us want to figure it out quickly! Jesus asks us to work things out and to remember that the other person is a loved child of God just like we are–and Jesus promises to be with us even when we are angry or in a fight with someone else. You can take anytime in your life and Jesus promises to be there with you and with the other person. 

Faith+Prayer: God, we don’t always like everybody. We don’t always get along. Be with us when we argue and help us to remember to love. Thank you for your promise to be with us all of the time. Amen

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

Make the sign a second time together saying
God in my highs
God in my lows
God with me today
God with me wherever I go

***idea for using the 10 commandments is modified from Worshiping with Children

Extended resources: Worshiping with Children Year A Proper 18 has some excellent ideas and refers to two books that would work well to read for children’s sermon instead of using the 10 commandments.

Children’s Sermon Pentecost 13A: Matthew 18:21-35

Scripture: Matthew 18-21-35

Faith + Open: Welcome the children to children’s time. Begin by asking them how school is going and about their friends.

 Faith + Share(If you have an object that perhaps was damaged by a friend or sibling bring it in to show the children. You can use it to talk about how it reminds you that your relationship with your friend/sibling is more important than the object.) 

Say: “you know one time my friend/sibling broke something that was mine. I really liked this thing and I was so mad when I found out that they broke it! I didn’t want to talk to that person for a really long time. They said that they were sorry, but I didn’t believe them. I even told them back “I forgive you” but I didn’t really mean it. I wanted them to be sad like I was and I even thought about breaking something of theirs! Has that ever happened to you where you were that mad at someone who broke or took something that was yours? Well, even though I felt that way for a while, I began to be sad that I was having fun with my friend anymore. They knew that I was still mad so they did not play with me at school or after school. I wanted to be friends again so I had to really mean the words “I forgive you” and act like a friend again. This is so hard isn’t it?? But have you ever accidently broken a toy of a friend or sibling? Yeah, I have too, you feel really bad don’t you and the only thing you can say is “I’m sorry.” We feel really good when that friend forgives us and still wants to play with us though, right! Right!

God loves us very much and in our Bible story today Jesus says that we are to forgive people over and over to be a good friend and show God’s love to them. God forgives us over and over and over and over….and so we should love our friends and everyone we meet that much too!” (You may need or want to say at this point that if someone is hurting you that you, forgiving them doesn’t mean you have to hang out with them and let them hurt you again.)

When we forgive, we are praying that we want everyone to be the kind of friend who helps each other and not hurt each other. This is very hard and we have to ask God to help us every day! Jesus taught his disciples the Lord’s prayer which talks about forgiveness for this reason! We will mess up, which is why we ask God and our friends to forgive us! God does not want us to be hurt or to hurt anyone so we have to talk to each other to get along! This is why learning the Lord’s Prayer can help us with this.

Faith + Prayer:  Lead the children in a short prayer followed by the Lord’s Prayer:

Dear forgiving God, we thank you that you love and forgive us when we mess up. Please help us to be kind to one another too! Thank you for sending Jesus to show us how to love people. Jesus taught us to pray…Lord’s Prayer

Children’s Sermon Matthew 16:21-28 Pentecost 11A

Follow Me… (not me, Jesus)…

Faith+Open: Before the service enlist a couple of older children who will come up and follow you wherever you go. Think about how they could follow you as you go to the front, etc.
Gather the kids. Have the 2-3 children who are trailing you stick close and walk around a bit.

Introduce the story by saying something like, “Today we are going to hear readings about love and following. Jesus in Matthew tells his disciples to follow him and Paul in Romans is talking about how to love one another…”

Now, ‘notice’ the children following you. Ask, “What are you doing?” Prompt them to respond, “Following you”
“Oh is this kind of following we are to do when we follow Jesus? So you are just going to follow me whatever I do… So if I do this.. (jump, or skip or hop or do some silly things–end with sitting down and having the kids sit with you.”

Faith+Share: How many of you have followed someone or played follow the leader? How about when you are not playing a game, can you think of people that you follow or that follow you? (get answers about teachers, or parents, siblings, etc). When we follow other people we sometimes are trying to be like them. Which if they are teaching us good things about living in the world that is a great thing! What about following Jesus, how do we follow Jesus when we can’t walk right behind him and jump when he jumps?
(get answers)
We can read scripture and stories about Jesus to know how to follow and we can remember that Jesus asked us to follow him with love. We love the people around us and we love those we don’t even know. We love people by being kind, helping them, and praying for them. Is it always easy to do this? Is it easy to love or pray for people that aren’t nice to you or that are difficult? Do you know people at school or in your neighborhood that it might be hard to love? Jesus even wants us to love those people, we don’t have to play with them all the time or hang around them if they are mean but we do follow Jesus by praying for them and by showing that we care about people. This is not always easy but the good news is that Jesus is with us and loves us and all people first so we can follow Jesus.

Faith+Prayer: God, help us to love and care about people. Thank you for your words and your love that we can follow. Amen

Extended: 
1. There is children’s book called Miss Tizzy that is review on Children’s Literature blog. This could be read as the children’s sermon or used in children’s church or another time.
2. Have a simple service project, like filling backpacks with school supplies or baggies with health care items for a local shelter.

Children’s Sermon Matthew 16:13-20 Pentecost 10A

Faith+Open: Gather the children around you and ask them, who am I? Get their answers (if they can only come up with ‘pastor’ or ‘youth director’ or whatever your role may be help them along and name some things that you are (mother/father, son/daughter, fisherman, hiker, etc). How do you know who I am?

Faith+Share: You know who am by things you see me do or by what I tell you or teach you. Give an example–you would know that I like bike riding if you saw me out on my bike enjoying a ride. Or you might know that because I have told you a story about one of my bike rides. How do we know who Jesus is? Gather their answers–help them along if needed.

We know who Jesus is because of the stories we have in scripture, the prayers we say in worship and on our own. The disciples are with Jesus in our gospel today. (If you have time use the book mentioned in the extended activities). They know who he is because they have been following him for awhile now. But there are many people who aren’t sure who Jesus is and Jesus is asking what people are saying about him. Some think he is one of the prophets who lived before him who has come back. Peter says to Jesus that he knows who Jesus is, That he is the messiah, the Son of God. Peter knows this because of what he has seen and because of what Jesus has told him.
We might not live in the time Jesus did but we still know who he is–can you think of some words or names that you have heard to talk about Jesus?

Do you know what else we know because we know who Jesus is? We know who we are! You could say to that you know who I am because I am a child of God and I know who you are because you are a child of God. We all belong to God and we are marked with that blessing in our baptism and in our prayers and in our confessions and when we come to the table–we are a child of God all the time and everywhere. Each and everyone of you is a loved child of God–the most important part of who you are!

Faith+Prayer: God, you love your son Jesus who is our Messiah. Help us remember that we are your loved children so that we always know who we are and who we belong to. Amen

Faith+Blessing: Have children repeat this blessing with you using your hands to make the cross. May you always know you are loved child of God. Invite them to go give that blessing to someone they are sitting with in the congregation.

Extended Idea:  Read Jesus, This Is Your Life: Stories & Pictures by Kids edited by Jeff Kunkel summary found at Children’s Literature: A Resource for Ministry and have children draw their own story of Jesus’ life in their own life. 

Children’s Sermon Isaiah 56:-1-8 Pentecost 9A August 14, 2011

This week texts are full of images of inside and outside that may be difficult for children (and adults for that matter!) to pick up on. Spend some time focusing on how Christ came with an openness that extends past all the boundaries we put up knowingly and unknowingly. 

Faith+Open: Gather the children at the front with you. Ask them not to sit but to stand and make a circle. Stand in the middle of the circle. Ask the kids to put one foot in the circle and show how they are on the inside of the circle. Ask, who is on the outside of this circle? (answers like others in the congregation, etc)

Faith+Share: We will hear from a prophet today–Isaiah. Isaiah is a prophet who wanted the people of God to understand that how they lived with others mattered to God. Isaiah talks about some people who were difficult for the others to welcome in or get along with or understand. They were people that most others would not want to let into the inside of this circle. They wanted God to be just for them. Can you think of people who might be hard for you to get along with or people that would be hard to welcome? Yeah, that is a reality of life we don’t always let people in the inside of our lives or even the inside of groups that we belong to. Where do you think Jesus is in the circle? (get answers) I was once told by a wise person that whenever we make a circle around Jesus, trying to keep Jesus in one place with us–Jesus moves to the outside of the circle (move to the outside of the circle). Jesus wants everyone to know God’s love and does not stay inside one little place or with one group of people. Jesus’ love opens up the circle. (at this point pick a place at the top of the circle, have the two ends open up to make a line and ask them to hold their arms out).  Explain that now we have this open circle that will allow anyone in (even all those people out in the congregation, ha, ha).

Faith+Prayer: Let’s all Pray together: Jesus, help us to open our circles and open our hearts. Be with us today and with all those who need to hear your voice of love. Amen

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

Extended ideas: I love this idea at Worshiping with Children. Click the link to see the explanation about having people collect prayers in baskets for those on the outside.

Children Sermon August 7, 2011 Romans 10 Pentecost 8A

This children’s sermon is based off of the Romans 10: 5-15 focusing on verse 15.

Faith+Open: Gather the children up at the front and welcome them. You may want to have them sit in a circle at this time so that when you do the faith + blessing they are already in a circle. So when your teacher at school wants you to know something important what does he or she do? Answers may range from telling the students about the subject matter, showing a video, or showing an object that is related to the lesson, etc. That’s right! When someone has something important to tell us they will use all kinds of different ways to tell us, not just with words! Did you know that you have something very important to share with everyone you know? You do! God! We are supposed to tell everyone we know about how much God loves the whole world. But it’s hard sometimes isn’t it? We may forget or get embarrassed or wonder what we should actually say.

Faith+Share: But this morning the Bible tells us that we can’t keep this wonderful love of God to ourselves! God sends us to school, the playground, to baseball practice, to our friends houses, everywhere, to tell about God’s love. Now we don’t always have to use our words we can share God’s love by helping people and by being a good friend, but our words are important too! It says in the Bible “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news!” Well, your feet bring the good news of God! And your feet are beautiful. To help you remember that you bring God everywhere you go we are going to do something special this morning. We are going to bless your feet! And we are going to give you a safety pin with red beads on it to attach to your shoe or sock to remind you that you bring the good news of God’s love everywhere you go!

Faith+Blessing/Faith+Prayer: Hand out the pins with the beads. Have other adults handy to help attach the pins to shoelaces or socks. Then do this blessing: Have all of the kids stand in a circle and put their foot with the pin attached in the circle. Pray: Dear God, thank you for all of these feet that spread your love in the world. You use all of our feet whether they are big or small, walk slow or fast or can walk at all. You promise to be with us always and we know that we can share your love with everyone we meet. Thank you for sending us! In Jesus name, Amen.

If you can’t get the pins made in time for Sunday, gather the materials in a baggie to give to the children to make later at home. You could expand this blessing to the entire congregation! Adults may like the pin as well!

Children’s Sermon Pentecost 7A July 31, 2011

Scripture: Matthew 14: 13-21

Faith + Open— Gather children together with you and welcome them. We hear a story today of a time when Jesus was with many people because they wanted to hear what he had to stay. They wanted to hear him so much that they followed him around even when he wanted rest, even when they started to feel hungry and tired they did not stop following Jesus. The disciples wanted to Jesus to send them away so that everyone could go find food for themselves. But Jesus did not want to send them away. He asked the disciples for the 5 loaves of bread and the two fish that they had so he could feed the people.

Faith+Share:  How many of you had bread at meal yesterday or maybe the day before? Bread is an important part of what we eat, just like other foods are too. They are to nourish us. Jesus could make enough bread for everyone—even people who did not have bread to eat or to share. How can we help make sure others have the bread and other food that they need? (use this time to get ideas for how we participate in the kingdom of God by taking care of our neighbor.  Summer can be a great time to remind people of donating to food banks or programs that are feeding kids in the summer when they don’t get school meals. Consider having a food drive for the next couple of weeks)

Show the children the loaf of bread for communion—or a loaf that looks similar. Jesus only had a few of these loaves but the Bible tells us he feed more than 5000 people. Jesus did not send them away at all! What do we use this bread for?

Yes for communion. We do not want to send anyone away either. Jesus helps us to know that all people are welcome to eat with us and all people are a part of God’s kingdom. And before we have communion we pray the Lord’s Prayer and we say, “Give US this day OUR daily bread”. When we say this we are not just praying for ourselves or our own tables but we are praying for all people to have enough of what they need to eat and drink and to live. At communion we remember that this bread is for the forgiveness of our sins and to know that God loves each and everyone of the children.

Faith+Prayer: Jesus, Thank you for the food you give us in bread and thank you for the food you give us in love. Amen

Faith+Blessing: Break off a piece of bread for each child. Say this blessing as you hand it out: “May you always know of God’s love.”

Extended activities:

1.    Practice the Lord’s Prayer and talk more about what WE and OUR mean when we are praying.

2.     Teach the children a new table grace for them to say meals with their families.

3.     Read the story of the Feeding of the 5000 from a children’s Bible.

~Leta Behrens

Children’s Sermon July 24, 2011 Pentecost 6A

Scripture: Romans 8: 26-39

This lesson is based on the Romans 8 text. At the crux of Paul’s message in this passage is that the summary of all salvation history and God’s love for us is in the three words “God with us.” We all have times when we are afraid and need to be reminded of this fact. Paul is clear that our fear of things real and imagined cannot negate the reality and promise of God with us.

Faith+Open: After calling the children forward say, “I am sometimes afraid. Sometimes it’s just little stuff like the car running out of gas or not knowing what to say to someone. Sometimes it’s big stuff like being sick, do my friends like me or of being alone. We all get afraid sometimes. Do you ever get afraid?” (Wait for responses. You may want to ask what they may be afraid of. Accept all answers.)

Faith+Share: “Yes those are all things that can scare us right? Well today we read part of a letter from a man named Paul who went around to all kinds of different places telling people about Jesus. Paul was writing to the people in the church in Rome. He knew about being afraid. People didn’t always like Paul because he talked about Jesus all the time. They would put him in prison, be mean to him and even sometimes hurt him. Paul knew that his fear was real. BUT Paul also knew who else was real…GOD! Paul knew that God’s love was so big that it would reach Paul no matter what! It didn’t matter where Paul was, what Paul did (even if he did some not so nice things) or what Paul said, God was always there!”

“Do you know what?” God is always with you too! (Ask the kids to name places where they go in their week: school, grocery store, day care, swim lessons, etc.) “Yep! God is with you in all of those places! How can we remember that God is always with us?

Faith+Bless: Hmmm let me think….have you ever noticed how in church some people make the sign of the cross on themselves like this (demonstrate crossing yourself). Do you know why they do it? It is to remind them that God is with them forever! I am going to teach you this today! So take your right hand and use your pointer and tall finger together and start at your forehead. We start there because we want to remember that God in our head. Then we draw an invisible line with our fingers to our chest. This reminds us that God is in our heart. Then we go to our left shoulder, God is on our left. And then our right shoulder, God is on our right. So where is God? Everywhere! We can say, ‘God be in my head, in my heart, on my left and on my right.” (Make the sign of the cross as you say this together. Practice a couple of times.) Now you can do this in church too anytime you want or when we say, “In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit,” which is God!

Faith+Prayer: Let’s pray: God we thank you for always being with us. You love us and hold us no matter where we are or what we are doing. Be in our head, heart, on our left and on our right always. Amen”

Bonus ideas: If time allows sing a verse of “God’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.” You could also bring the children to the baptismal font and make the sign of the cross with water on them while the whole congregation sings.

In my sermon on Romans 8 I am going to ask the adults to write down what their fears are and place them in the offering plate to give to God. Have crayons available so that young children who cannot write can draw their fears and participate. 

~Brigette Weier