Tag Archives: Children’s sermon

Children’s Sermon, 4th Sunday after Epiphany – Matthew 5:1-12

Prepare: You really don’t need anything for the children’s sermon, but if you want to have something (I find it works better to have something to show), find something that says “hope” on it.

 As the children gather, invite them to talk about what they hope for.  Give them a little time to think, and a little space to enjoy being hopeful.

  Those are fun things to hope for!  I wanted to think about hope today because I hear “hope” in the Gospel today.  The Gospel story that we hear today is often called the Beatitudes.  There are whole books written about this little story in the Bible. People wondering who Jesus was talking about and why.  People wanting to point out who is on each side of the sayings – these people are poor, so Jesus must be talking about them.  Or, when I’m sad I know that I am one who is mourning.

I hear many of those things in this story, too! But I also hear a message of hope.  At different times in my life I think that I have been on both sides of all of these sayings.  I have been merciful, but I have been mean, too.  I have been poor, and I’ve had more than I needed. I have been happy and sad.  I have been put down because of what I believe, and I have put others down for what they believe. When I think about it like that I start to see this a little differently.

No matter who you are, no matter what is going on, there is always room for hope.  Hope doesn’t always mean that you are going to get what you want – hope is more like a sparkling of something that keeps you going. Jesus gives us hope that when we feel like we are at the bottom – under a pile of worry and sadness, we can still rise up out of it.

 God of hope, be with us when everything seems to be going wrong. Give us hope to see a better way forward.  Joyful God, be with us when everything seems to be going right and help us remember your love for the times when we need hope the most. Amen.

 Jesus loves you in the good times and in the bad times.

  What do you really hope for?  Ask the congregation this question and offer a chance to put into prayer.  One way to do this is to have paper handy for everyone, invite them to write their hopes on the paper, then collect it and read it as part of the prayers of the church.

You could also form prayer circles if you have room and time!  Have people gather in groups of 4 to 8 (no more than that!) and offer hopes within the small group.

Children’s Sermon — God’s People Caught in Light and Love Matthew 4:12-23

Gather the children with you. If you can get a big net or even a small one as a visual that is good. If not, it’s ok to to just describe it. Ask the children if they have ever seen a big fishing net? How many fish do you think it can catch? Some big fishing boats can get 100,000 fish a day! What kind of fish do you think they catch? Yes they may be trying to get a certain kind of fish but when they put out the net and scoop it up, they will catch whatever kind of fish are together in that area.

In today’s story, Jesus is calling his disciples, so inviting specific people to follow him and help him share about and tell God’s love to all the people. He goes out to towns and areas where people who do not know about God are told that they too are a part of God’s children and a part of God’s love. So Jesus wants to catch all kinds of people to hear about God. So I was looking around at everyone here up front and you have something the same–you are all kids! Wonderful children of God! Now look behind you, is everyone out there a kid? No! Are they all the same age? Look around the whole room, are we all exactly the same kind of person? No! But does God want to catch us all? Yes, God wants us all to be caught up in God’s love. So let’s see how can we show that together? Let’s invite some volunteers who are not kids to come up here and join us around (or in) our net! (It can be a good idea to plant some people who would be willing to come up at this point). Will any of you who are retired come up front and join us? Will any of you who are grandparents? Parents? Young adults? Teenagers? Gather a few people to come join the kids.

OR if you cannot get people to come out or think your group will not go for that. Have the kids stand up and hold hands and then connect them to adults sitting in the pews by holding hands and ask everyone to hold hands for the prayer showing we are all a part of who God loves.

Jesus who fishes for people! Thank you for catching us in your love. Help us live in this love and share it with others. Amen

 

You are caught and held in God’s love all the time +

 

 

Have fish shaped paper for people to write prayers or thanksgiving for a person or an area that is not like them but that God loves.

Children’s Sermon – Baptism of Our Lord

Prepare: Find a few kinds of seals. They can be images, but better would be examples that the children can touch and hold like a sealed jar of jelly, a wax seal on paper, maybe your church’s seal if you have one. Also find an oil stock for baptism, or a little bowl with olive oil on a cotton ball.

 As the children gather ask them what they think of when you say the word “seal.”  You will probably get people talking about aquatic animals, not wax seals, but that’s fine!

Today in the Gospel we hear a story about Jesus getting baptized.  Jesus is in the water, but there were no seals there.  The kind of seal want to talk about isn’t an animal, and really isn’t even in the story about Jesus that we hear today!

(you could gather around your baptismal font if that is possible)

We still baptize people today, sometimes it looks a lot like what happened to Jesus, sometimes we use a bowl of water, called a font, and lots of different things in between.  But there is something that we often say at baptisms that we don’t hear in the story, it is a blessing that sounds like this:

“(name), Child of God, you have been sealed with the Holy Spirit and marked with the Cross of Christ forever.”

Did you hear the word “sealed” in there?  Yeah, really not talking about an animal! That kind of seal keeps things fresh, or secure, or shows who something belongs to.  I have a few examples here – this jar is sealed to keep this jelly fresh until we want to eat it.  A wax seal on an envelope show not only who it came from but also proves that it hasn’t been opened, and a seal like this one shows that this book belongs to this church. (Modify this as needed!)

So when we hear that we are sealed with the Holy Spirit in Baptism, what do you think that means? (give a little space here)

Right!  Good!  And when we seal people in Baptism we often use a little bit of olive oil on their forehead. 

Now you get to decide what to do.  Either have the children seal each other with a tiny amount of oil, repeating the words that you say, or the time to bless them all yourself.  depends on how much time you have!

 Loving and merciful God, we rejoice in the gift of baptism. Thank you for claiming us as your own and sealing us into your care. Amen.

 Child of God, you have been sealed with the Holy Spirit and marked with the Cross of Christ forever.

 Invite your whole congregation to come up and remember their baptism!  You can either just let them dip their hands in the water, or you can offer them oil to seal someone that they came up with.  Or!  Even better – ask some of the children to stay and bless people!

One warning – mess with the amount of oil you use on the cotton BEFORE you try this.  it really only takes a very little bit.  You don’t want oil dripping down faces!

Holding It Together Matthew 2: 13-23 Christmas 1 Year A January 1, 2017

Invite the children (and adults!!)  to come forward and immediately grab a hold of a rope tied to create a circle . Make sure everyone is holding on! Ask,” Could you hold this rope in the shape of a circle all by yourself? No, that would be very hard wouldn’t it! We need each other to do hard things and I’m so glad that all of you are here! This rope reminds us that we are all connected and when we need help all we have to do is look around to see that we are not alone. God’s love holds us together, much like this rope connects us.

 In our story today, we hear that baby Jesus and his parents, Joseph and Mary had to go to Egypt in order to keep Jesus safe. It would have been scary for them! But God was with them and do you think that people would have helped them along the way and when they arrived in Egypt? Yes! God makes sure that we are never alone! All we have to do is look around to see those who are helping! Just as we hold on to the rope, we hold on to each other and God holds on to all of us! How can we hold someone with God’s love? What if there is a new kid in class? Or in our neighborhood? Or someone who is scared or alone? You are part of God’s work in the world to hold us all in love!

 Have a simple, printed calendar of January 2017 with room under each day for writing (perhaps a calendar where each day is a square). People can take one home to write where they see God holding them or a neighbor each day. Also, have a paper map of the world hanging up and people can place a pin for the part of the world that they are praying for.

God of yesterday, today and tomorrow, you hold us always in your love. You promise that we are never alone no matter where we may be. Bind us and hold us together! Amen

+You are held by God+

Children’s Sermon for Christmas Eve/Day – Luke 2:1-20

Prepare: You don’t need much for the children’s sermon.  You can, if you want, have some small gift for the children.  I would suggest a small star or small sheep if you want to do that.  The only other thing that might help is a familiarity with the Christmas song “Do You Hear what I Hear?”

 As the children gather ask them  if they know the Christmas story. If they do, ask them what their favorite part of the story is.  If you have a tight schedule you might want to skip this, but it is a chance to hear where they are with the story and it might change how you do the next part!

 Well, I have a story about the Christmas story. I think that most of us know the Christmas story, but did you ever think about how that story got to us?   I was thinking about that because I was listening to a song called “Do You Hear What I Hear?” The song starts with the wind whispering to a lamb, the lamb tells the shepherd, the shepherd tells the king and the king tells everyone!  The message is that Christ is born!

As I was listening to the song I started thinking about the story of Jesus, and I realized that the song is probably not that far off.   OK, OK, in the actual story there isn’t a talking sheep, but think about the story that we hear at Christmas.  Mary and Joseph know what’s going on because an angel told them – that’s kind of like the wind whispering to you.  The angels also told the shepherds who came to see.  Later on there were thee wise men, or maybe kings who heard about Jesus somehow and came following the light of a star!

So there is just this handful of people who know what is really happening in that little stable in Bethlehem, and they all manage to keep it quiet for a long time. We don’t really hear much about Jesus as a child, but then Jesus’ story gets really interesting! More people hear about Jesus as a teacher and healer, they tell their friends and neighbors, who tell their friends and neighbors.  The word of God spreads far and wide, churches spring up in the far corners of the world, books are written, songs are written, there are paintings and sculptures made, plays are performed, people are feed, baptized, blessed with God’s Word all over the word and throughout the centuries of time.

And it all started with an angel telling people to “Come and see.”

So, this Christmas, I encourage you to invite some one to come and see. It doesn’t have to be today, or tomorrow, or even this month.  But be like those angels and shepherds, the friends and neighbors – invite someone to “come and see!”

 Emmanuel, God with us, thank you for coming to us. For coming to us as a baby at Christmas, as a healer when we are sick, as a teacher when we are struggling, as a savior when we are lost. Give us the courage to tell the story, and to invite people to come and see! Amen.

 May God’s peace go with you

 A game of blessing telephone!  Start with two children.  Give them each a blessing and ask them to go bless two other people. Each person then blesses two more, etc.  Give it a little time to spread through the whole congregation!

You can use the blessing above, encourage people to make the sign of the cross on foreheads or on hands as they bless.

Children’s Sermon for Advent 2, Year C – Matthew 3:1-12

Prepare:  You will need to create an “obstacle course” of some kind.  If you have a place to make an actual course go ahead!  If not, you can just come up with a wondering or difficult route to get to the children’s sermon place.  Maybe make a few cards that have instructions for how to move, like hop on one foot, crawl, crab-walk, etc.  You will probably want to gather the children in a different place than usual, so that you can travel a little.

20130822-223454.jpg As the children gather, tell them that you are going to be traveling across the sanctuary to the place they can hear about the story.  Tell them that the journey is to “prepare” them, because the story says to prepare the way of the Lord! And that the rest of the story is waiting for them when they get there. Then go ahead and travel by what every way you have come up with.

20130822-223633.jpg Finally here!  That was a tough trip just to go across the room.  Now, the rest of the story!  We heard that we are supposed to prepare the way of the Lord, and Jesus seems like a complex guy, so I came up with a complex way to get here.  Let’s see if I did it right!

The story says, “Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.” 

Straight?  uh oh.  Our path was not straight! Sometimes we do that same thing to Jesus.  We say that we are all set to let Jesus in, but we put up road blocks, and make Jesus do funny walks just to prove that he really wants to be part of our lives.  But in Advent – as we prepare for Christmas – we are told to clean out all the road blocks, to get rid of the rules and restrictions of what Jesus can and cannot do, and make Jesus’ path straight and easy.

We are called on to do some work!

20130822-223749.jpg Loving God, we thank you for sending us your Son, Jesus. We are trying hard to make a straight path for Jesus, but sometimes it’s really hard to do.  Give us courage to keep working, and thank you for sending Jesus, even when we are not ready and the path is not straight. Amen.

20130822-223908.jpg God finds you even on the crooked path!

FaithCross_Worship Find something that you congregation is working on – like a long-term service relationship in the community, or having supplies on hand for people in need – and create a list of “road blocks” to getting that done.  Put the list up somewhere in the worship space, or include it in the printed materials. Start a discussion about how to move forward.  What can be done to get the blocks out of the way and move on with the project?

Children’s Sermon Christ the King Year C Luke 23:33-43 November 20, 2016

Preparation: For the children’s sermon you will need a regular wall calendar and a liturgical calendar–a larger size will be helpful. For the worship station or to hand out at children’s sermon if you choose you will need liturgical calendars, preferable not colored in, and copied on regular sized paper.

20130822-223520.jpgGather the children up front with you and show them your regular calendar. “Ask, what is this? Yes, it is a calendar. It shows us in straight lines what days are coming next, which ones have past and what we can see coming in the future. What are some things you know are coming on the calendar” (point out Thanksgiving, Christmas, maybe have other church saint days or festivals on there too, anything that might be important to your context)

20130822-223633.jpgI brought another calendar with me as well. Show them your circle, liturgical calendar. What is different about this one? Yes, it goes in a circle. And it tells a story about our life with Jesus. Point out the different seasons in the circle. Then explain where we are now–on the edge of the end of one year and the beginning of the next:  “In the bible reading today we heard the story of Jesus on the cross, being made fun of really and crowned the king. And it is the story of how he died and the promise that God is with us in life and death. And next week you will start to hear the stories of Jesus being born–how God came to be with us in life and death. So it goes in a circle, our story with Jesus. It does not have an end and it is not a straight line because God is with us in our stories and experiences of life that start with birth, give us life, and remain with us in death. And the story of God keeps going like a circle, with no end. This is why the church calendar goes in a circle too, to help us remember these promises of God.”

20130822-224425.jpgNever ending God, thank you for your story that keeps going. Thank you for your love that is with us and keeps going. Show us how to follow Jesus in all the days of our calendars and all the days of lives. Amen

20130822-223908.jpgMay you know God’s circle of love and never ending life +

 

FaithCross_WorshipPrint out individual liturgical calendars and use a color code to have people color in their own calendar to take home. If you google liturgical calendar images there are many choices, some free, some you need to pay a small download fee. You cans also draw a circle and make into sections and label yourself!

Children’s Sermon for October 23, 2016 – Luke 18:9-14, Lectionary 30

Prepare: Get a long piece of paper – comically long! – to use as a scroll.  This could be a long strip from an art roll, or several pages taped together.

For the worship station you will need posters, images or objects that reflect concerns in your community or in the world, containers and beads (or something similar).

20130822-223454.jpgAs the children gather tell them that you are going to show them the best way to pray.  Have your scroll ready and start a prayer with the most grand address to God that you can think of.  Something like, “Gracious and merciful God, ruler of all creation, Lord of the storms and sea, Spirit if Truth and understanding,” and so on. Then finish with, “let me tell you all the ways that I am humble!” At this point drop one end of the paper so that it unrolls across the floor.  (Make a big deal of it!  You are going for a laugh!)

20130822-223633.jpgSo, what did you think of my way to start a prayer? Pretty fancy huh? I totally think that Jesus would think this was great.  I bet God can hardly wait to hear the cool stuff I do! Let’s take a look at the Gospel lesson today and see what Jesus says.  I hear it’s about praying . . . 

(take a minute to review the lesson, or maybe read it if they haven’t heard it yet.)

Or, maybe not!  Did you guys even hear the Gospel story today? This is exactly the wrong! Jesus was kind of upset with the guy who was bragging, and he really seemed concerned for the guy who asked for mercy.”

Jesus is calling us to action rather than words. We are called to go do stuff, not to talk about what we have done. We are called to be gracious and merciful, and to be good and just and kind. If we spend out time focused on how our actions make us feel we kind of miss the point. How do your actions, how do your words make others feel? How are you God’s hands and feet in the world?  That is what Jesus is hoping for us.

20130822-224425.jpgGracious Lord, sometimes we forget that our actions tell more about us than our worlds. Lead us to be compassionate, caring, and merciful as we live out our lives. Amen.

20130822-223908.jpg+ God is merciful to you +

 

 

FaithCross_WorshipFor the worship station, set up a prayer station with items, images, etc, that call attention to injustice or problems in and around your community. Invite people to offer prayers by dropping beads into baskets or jars in front the the things that concern them the most.

This does NOT need to be a quiet time, you may invite people to talk about what they see and feel!

Children’s Sermon, October 16, 2016 – Luke 18:1-8; Lectionary 29

20130822-222604.jpg As the children come forward, begin asking each one of them for a pencil (or any item will do! Maybe something you need for worship that day!). Keep asking them over and over and over. Ask them if they are annoyed by your questions yet…Hopefully, one of them will be, will find a pencil or pen in the pews/chairs and give it to you! Ask them how it felt when you were asking them over and over for the pencil. Accept all answers. Say, “Sometimes people do annoy us when they keep asking us for things or to do something.  But when someone asks you for something, especially when you know that they really need it or it will really help them, you also want to do that thing for them or get the item that they need. As people, we really do like to help others when we can and are able!”

FaithCross_BibleALTIn today’s story from Luke, Jesus tells a story of a woman who is all alone, no family and she needs help. A judge in Jesus time was more than a person who worried about laws, but also could help people in all kinds of different ways. So the woman went to the judge for help. The judge thought that it would be easier to not help her, but she kept asking him! Just like I kept asking you for a pencil! Finally, he does help her! Jesus tells the people listening to this story that if people can listen to each other and help one another, then think about how much God listens to you! God wants us to talk to God all the time, about everything. Even if we think that it’s not important, or something your ashamed you did, or who your mad at, or the beautiful flower you saw. God wants us to know that it we’re not annoying when we talk to God. God says, “Tell me everything! Tell me about your bad day! Tell me about the new toy you saw! Tell me when you mess up! Tell me when you help someone! Tell me you love me! Tell me you are mad at me!” God can handle anything we say. Even if like the woman, we say it over and over and over.

What do you want to tell God today? (Write it down quickly and use it for the closing prayer. Depending on the ages, offer to have each child offer a prayer.) Yes! We can tell God anything!

FaithCross_PrayALTInvite the children to pray what they named earlier. End with the Lord’s Prayer if that is appropriate for your context and congregation. Jesus told his disciples that this prayer encompasses everything we need.

FaithCross_Worship For prayers of the people (or prayers of intercession) have a quarter sheet of paper in each bulletin or in a basket accessible for all with pens or pencils. Invite people to write what they would like to say to God today. Depending on the size of your congregation, read them all out loud, or have a large wooden cross where people can hang their prayers to God. You can also offer a time for people to pray the prayers on the cross.

Another option is to have a list of needs from the congregation and community: meals, help with house/yard work, donations, prayer, companionship, etc. Have a place where people can write a need and someone else can offer to fill it.

20130822-223908.jpg+God hears you and loves you always+

Take hold of life that is real life! Children’s sermon/worship station on 1 Timothy 6:6-19 and Luke 16: 19-31

20130822-223520.jpgGather the children to the front of the worship space. Ask them what they can see from there. Ask them who they see. Then move them to the back of the sanctuary. Ask them the same questions. If time, move them to either side of the sanctuary and ask the same questions. Hopefully they will see different items and people. Coach them a bit in this if necessary.

20130822-223633.jpg Say, “Our Bible story today is kind of hard! Jesus tells a story of a man Lazarus who is left all alone: no one really saw him or they ignored him because they had much more fun things to look at, such as yummy food, pretty clothes, exciting toys. There was a man who had lots of food, clothes and money and he should have seen Lazarus and helped him but didn’t. Jesus tells this story to remind us that sometimes we need to move around and not be in the usual places in our lives to see new people and maybe see what they might have to teach or give us or for us to teach and give them. Jesus wants us to see everyone, even people who look, act or think differently from us. Jesus always sits with all of us together! And Jesus invites us all to be together. Everyone is invited to be with Jesus!”

I want us to go back to those different places in the sanctuary and tell the people there that we see them, God loves them and so do we! (Go to the back of the sanctuary and say, “We see you, God loves you and so do we!” Repeat on the sides of the sanctuary and the front.)

20130822-224425.jpg Dear Jesus, open our eyes to see people around us who need us to show your love. Move us to new places, so that all people are fed, clothed, and loved. Amen.

FaithCross_WorshipOn a table that is accessible for all, place quarter sheets of plain paper in a basket, along with paper crosses (cut out) pens, and glue sticks. Invite people to write on the quarter sheet a material item or an activity that they “cannot live without.” Have on the instruction sheet this message: “We have many items or activities in our lives that we hold closely and are an integral part of our lives. We might even go as far as to say that we “could not live without them.” Is that true? Are those items/activities pointing you to life with God or life with those items/activities? What might replace them if you gave them up? More time for prayer? For service? For your neighbor? Those items/activities are not “bad” in and of themselves, but might be distracting you from life with God. Jesus tells us that life with God is focused on God and other people, not ourselves. Glue a cross over the item/activity that you wrote as a reminder that Christ comes first in our lives.”

20130822-223908.jpg +Take hold of life that is real life!+

*You could also print this blessing on the crosses.