Tag Archives: community

Rejoice in the Lord Always! Philippians 4: 4-7 Advent 3C, December 13, 2015

 

20130822-223454.jpgGather the children while singing this song:

Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, Rejoice! 
Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, Rejoice! 
Rejoice! Rejoice! And again I say, Rejoice! 
Rejoice! Rejoice! And again I say, Rejoice! 

*Here is the link for the music: http://www.hymnary.org/media/fetch/104118

Teach them the song as they get settled. Ask them how many times a day they say the word rejoice? What does the word “rejoice” mean? Do you always feel happy? No, and that’s ok. Life can have some hard days where we don’t feel happy. But rejoicing isn’t necessarily about feeling happy.

20130822-223633.jpgPaul tells us in the letter he wrote to some people who lived a long time ago that even when they are having a sad day or a hard day to rejoice. He’s not telling them to be happy or just smile, but to remember that Jesus promises to be with them always and loves them no matter what. He’s telling them to give thanks that even when life is sad or hard to know that God knows that they are sad and will be with them. Paul also tells them that they should always talk to God about everything. There is no question that they cannot ask. When we talk to God all the time, we keep God as the most important thing in our lives. When God is the most important thing in our lives, we remember that we are the most important thing to God AND that ALL PEOPLE are the most important thing to God! We can remember to treat each other how God treats us: as very important!

If you could ask God something what would it be? (Warning adults: this could be loaded! Be sure you follow up with any families if something difficult arises. Great opportunity for pastoral care and connection!) What would tell God “thank you” for? God wants to hear it all! Most of all God wants us to always talk to God AND talk to each other. When we share our happy days with other people, those days are even happier and when we share our sad days with other people, our sad days might be a little easier.

20130822-224425.jpg Dear Jesus, thank you for hearing all of our prayers. May we share your love and peace with everyone we meet. May we care for our neighbor and make sure that no one is hungry, lonely, or cold. You love all people very much and we are grateful. Please help us to love everyone as much as you love them. Amen.

FaithCross_Worship Station 1: Have hearts cut out of card stock with a variety of colored markers on a table. Ask people to write/draw a prayer on the heart. What do they want to ask God for or give thanks for today? Have a large wooden cross in a location where the prayers of their hearts can be taped to the cross. You may want to have this available at your Wednesday evening Advent worship if you have one. Offer a time in your worship for people to gather at the cross to pray some or all of the prayers.

Station 2: Have a bowl of “worry rocks.” Have several permanent markers  (black or a dark color) and invite people to write a worry on the rock on one side and the word “peace” on the other. (Or they could draw a cross as a reminder that “the Lord is near.”)

20130822-223908.jpg+The Lord is near+

Children’s Sermon Matthew 25: 31-46, We are all connected in Jesus! Christ the King Sunday

Preparation: Have enough name tags with different identifications on them such as: “sick,” “hungry,” homeless,” “thirsty,” “stranger,” “lonely,” etc. You can have more than one child with the same “label.” Expand upon labels as is appropriate in you context. Have enough name tags with “Jesus” written on them for each child (or even congregational member).

20130822-223454.jpg Gather the children and give them each a name tag with the label on it as they come up. Ask them, “Have you ever needed help and didn’t get any? How did that feel? (Accept all answers) It doesn’t feel that good does it. Have you ever helped a friend or even someone that you didn’t know?” (Hopefully, they will say yes.) “We all have helped someone, even if we may not know it! When we offer a hug, a smile or say a kind word, very simple things, we can help someone know the love of God can’t we? Here at our church we help people we know and people we don’t know in many different ways. (List some of the internal ministries (meals for the sick, visits, etc.) and outward ministries here. If you have any that children participate in be sure to say so and invite more children and youth to be a part of that ministry!) Some of the people we work with are the people that Jesus talks about in our story today and are on your name tags. Why do we do that? Is it just to be good? Is it just because Jesus says so (Jesus does but…)?”
FaithCross_BibleALT “In our story today, Jesus does say that we should feed hungry people, give water to those who need clean water to drink, give people clothes, care for sick people, etc. And we do that! But it’s not just so that we can feel good about ourselves or make sure that God loves us right? No, God loves us no matter what. You each have on a name tag with a label of a type of person on it. We’ve all been sick, we might need shelter one day or food. We never know, one day we help someone else and the next day someone is helping us. That’s what we call “partnership” or working together. We all need stuff sometimes!”
“Here is another name tag for each of you. Whose name is on it? Jesus! That’s right! Jesus says that he loves us all very much, is with us always and we know that each one of us reflects Jesus to the world with every word, smile and action. Jesus says that you are a part of Jesus and Jesus is a part of you! And you, and you, and you and you (point to all of the children and all of the adults!)! Jesus says that we are connected to God and so we are also connected to each other-EVERYONE matters! We want everyone to know God’s love and to know that Jesus is with them and a part of their lives. So this name tag today reminds you that Jesus is part of you and your life each and every day and you are also connected to all of God’s people!”

FaithCross_WorshipWe are all connected and share in the life and love of God. Have a large wooden cross or a large poster board cross that can be attached to a wall or free standing. Have several post-it notes and pens on the table with the cross. Invite each person to write a way that they need that community to pray for them this week on a post-it note and stick it to the cross. Then invite each person to take another person’s prayer off the cross and pray for them that week. You can choose to have names on them or not.

20130822-224425.jpg We are grateful that you love us all and bring us together for community, support and help when we need it. We pray for all of those who do not have enough to eat, do not have clean water, shelter, or are lonely in anyway. We pray to look for ways to be your love and mercy to all in the world and we long for the day when all of your people have what they need for daily life. In the name of Jesus who is with us always, amen.

FaithCross_BlessALT +You matter to God+

Matthew 14: 22-33, “Jesus helps us always,” Children’s sermon, Pentecost 9, Year A, Aug. 10th, 2014

 

20130822-223520.jpg (Before worship ask a child to help you out at children’s sermon time. If you have an exercise ball, bring that to worship.) Call the children forward and have the child helping you come up where all can see him/her. Ask, “What are some things that you can do by yourself?” Accept all answers and if appropriate or feasible have the child act them out. Do maybe two or three things. Then ask, “what are some things that you need a friend to help you with?” (If they are stumped, offer like maybe balancing something or homework or a game, walking on a balance beam, etc) Say, “We need friends to help us don’t we? I have the exercise ball here. Do you think that (child’s name) can sit on it and raise their feet off the ground by themselves? Let’s try!” (It should be very difficult!) Say, “Who would like to help them to balance?” Let a couple of children help and try to balance. Have the children cheer each other on. Say, “We need each other don’t we? We need each other to keep from falling and we need each other to cheer us on!”

20130822-223633.jpg Say, “In today’s Bible story, Jesus is praying in the mountains and Peter and the disciples are in a boat in a storm. They are getting tossed about quite a bit. Then they see Jesus walking toward them on the water! What would you think about that? (Accept all answers) Peter wanted to go out to meet Jesus on the water. The other disciples stayed in the boat. Peter got out and got scared because, he WAS walking on water! Is that a common thing to do? But Jesus reached down and grabbed Peter, just like we helped (child’s name) balance on the ball. Jesus knows that we need other people to help us. They got into the boat and Peter and the other disciples worshiped Jesus. Peter helped the other disciples see that Jesus is God’s son who loves us, helps us and is always with us, even in stormy seas. The disciples needed Peter too!

How can we help each other see that God is always with us? (Accept all answers) Those are great ways! We can also help our family, friends at school and neighbors see Jesus helping them in their lives! Who helps you to know that Jesus is with you always? Yes, all of those people are important. Do you think that God created us all to help each other? Yes, I do!

FaithCross_Worship Jesus promises to be with us always and to catch us when we fall. It doesn’t mean that we sometimes aren’t afraid but that Jesus is with us in our fear. Have a large poster board cross on a table with magazines, newspapers, scissors, glue and markers. Have people cut out of the newspapers/magazines where they pray for people to know that Jesus is with them. People can draw or write prayers as well. Leave the cross up for the next week or two so that during Open Space or worship station time, people can “pray the cross” for the world to know Jesus’ love and presence.

20130822-223749.jpg Jesus, you are with us in good times and in hard times. We know that your hand will catch us when we are falling, just like you caught Peter. May we also help each other and offer a hand to catch someone else when they need it. Amen.

20130822-223908.jpg Make the sign of the cross and say, “Jesus is with you, do not be afraid.”

 

Children’s Sermon John 17: 1-11, Easter 7 Year A, June 1, 2014

ffjChildrenSermonPreparation: Have a 2×8 (or so) strip of paper for each person in the congregation. You will be making a paper chain of prayers. Have a large enough cross available to place the chain of prayers on the cross. You will also need clear tape.

FaithCross_ConnectALT For this children’s time have the children stay with their families instead of bringing them forward. Ask all the people gathered to shout out what time of day they pray. Before a meal, bed or other times? Do they use formulaic prayers such as the common table prayer? Or their own words?

FaithCross_BibleALTAsk everyone gathered for worship, “Turn to the person next to you and tell about a time when you were so excited or worried about something that you couldn’t wait to tell someone. GO!” (Give them a couple of minutes.) We love to share with someone when we are excited or worried don’t we? Well, Jesus is showing us today in this story from John, that prayer can be like that: something that we are excited, nervous or worried about God wants us to talk to her about! We don’t have to use fancy words and it doesn’t have to be a special time. We can talk to God anytime, anywhere about anything!

God hears and understands our prayers no matter what all of the time. What’s important to us is what is important for God to hear. Talking to God about everything helps to connect us to God and to know that God is with us always. Prayer also connects us to each other as the people of God. We can pray for each other as Jesus prays for his disciples and we can pray for all people to love each other.

FaithCross_PrayALTFaith+ Prayer: Depending on the size of your congregation or how you choose to do children’s message today, have either a group of about 8 children volunteer to help pray at the end or go around your worship space. Do the “one word prayer” where someone starts off with saying one word and then as you work around the group each person adds one word. Example: Dear. Jesus. Thank. You. For. Today. This might take a little while but its fun to build off of each other in prayer!

FaithCross_BlessALT Make the sign of the cross and say: In God you have eternal life.

*Faith + Worship: Prayers don’t even have to be words, they can be thoughts or songs or pictures! Today during Open Space (sacred reflection time) you can draw, write, or doodle a prayer to God on this strip of paper. (About 2 x8) When you are done writing/drawing connect your strip of paper to the pray of your neighbors like a paper chain on the cross. (Have a cross of some decent size with a paper circle already started for the chain. Have this station where it is accessible from all sides for ease. Tape them together on the inside where nothing is written or drawn if you can.) All of our prayers connect us to God and to each other. After worship, find another person’s prayer to take home for the week to pray.