Tag Archives: love

What is Love? – John 13:31-35 April 24, 2016

Prepare: Get a large piece of poster board or a big piece of banner paper and write on it (it can be fancy!) “What is Love?”

20130822-223315.jpg Ask the children to start naming things that they love.  You are kind of looking for one of them to say something like, “my Xbox!” When you get a few of those objects use that as a segue to ask, “What is love?”

20130822-223633.jpg In the story today, Jesus tells his disciples that people will know who they are because they love each other. Every time I read this story it gets a little more difficult for me to understand because “Love” is such a difficult word! We had a whole list of things that people love, from our parents to toys! How can one word describe how we feel about such different things?

Even more than that, Love is more than liking something or someone. For example, I can love someone but be really angry with them at the same time. Stranger still? Sometime I find that I am upset with people BECAUSE I love them! If I didn’t love them I wouldn’t really care what they were doing, and I wouldn’t be upset.

So, today, let’s make a list of what it means to Love someone. Ready? Go!

(make the list on your board or banner)

Wow! What a list! Think about how you show your love this week, and think about some of the things on this list.

20130822-223908.jpg Jesus loves you!

20130822-223749.jpg Loving God, be with us as we work to be loving disciples. Help us to love each other even when we don’t really want to, and grant us your forgiveness when we don’t love the way we should. Amen.

FaithCross_Worship For the worship station – Make the “What is Love?” list an all congregation project.  Either as a prayer station or as a group activity where you write items on the list as people say the,

“We Are One” Children’s Sermon on Genesis 2: 18-24 and Mark 10: 2-16

20130822-222604.jpgHave a bunch of larger building blocks (foam ones are great!) with you. Make sure that you have enough that each child gets at least one. Gather the children around the blocks as best you can. Ask “do you think that we can build something out of these blocks? Let’s build a house.” Take your block and place it on the ground. Say, “There here’s my piece, am I done? No? My block can’t be a whole building all by itself? We need more pieces? Ok. Here’s one for each of you. Let’s put our blocks together and build a simple house.”  This might get a little chaotic depending on how many children you have! When done, say, “Wow! Look how we built that together! Each one of our pieces is important. What happens if I take a block away especially from the bottom?” Let them guess and then take one away-hopefully it will break or fall a little…if not remove one more! Without all of the blocks we just don’t have a complete building do we?

20130822-223633.jpg In our Bible story this morning, Jesus is reminding us that we all need each other and how we treat other matters. No one person is more or less important and we need to make sure that we are taking care of each other and including each other so that we can be whole-like our whole building. What happens when we tell someone that we don’t want them around anymore? (Remove a block.) Yes, we’re not whole and we need them. In our story from Genesis we read that God created us to work together, to not be separate blocks doing our own thing but to be like one building. Jesus says that God thinks that we are all important no matter how big or how small to God and so we treat each other how God would treat us. What are some ways that we can show people that they matter to God, to us and that they are not alone? (Maybe try and highlight some service/outreach ministries that are accessible to children and young families in your congregation. But allow all answers of sharing, helping, loving, hugs, nice words, helpful hands, etc.) That’s right! We have so many ways to show God’s love for everyone!

20130822-223749.jpg Dear God, thank you for creating animals, plants, and all people. Thank you for never leaving us alone but being with us always. We want to love everyone as you love us, God. In Jesus name, amen.

FaithCross_Worship have a Jenga type wooden blocks on a table. Have permanent markers on the tables for people to write examples of how we are all one in Christ and/or how we care for each other and creation. Have them place their blocks to “build” the Jenga set. (You may want to have it started and someone there to facilitate.) For a hymn of the day that can be listened to instead of sung while they are doing this, check out the Alternate Routes song: “Nothing More.” Great lyrics for this activity!

20130822-223908.jpg +God cares for you+

 

Children’s Sermon Mark 5:21-43 5th Sunday after Pentecost Year B June 28,2015

Preparation: There are two options here.
A) fill a bag with different things to touch–a soft stuffed animal, baggie of dirt, something prickly (but not too sharp!), silly putty or something kind of slimy or sticky. You can either keep these in the bag and have them reach in and guess or you can take them out one by one to so they can see as well.
B) prepare several small bags with the same items in them, just one per bag so that kids can reach in and try to guess  what they feel.

20130822-223520.jpgGather the children with you. Show them the bag you have brought and prepared. “I have brought some things with me today that I want to explore what you think about how they feel.” Proceed to either have one or two children reach into the bag without peeking or bring the items out one by one and have them feel them and talk about what they feel like.

20130822-223633.jpg“I brought these items today because as I heard the gospel read I noticed that the word touch was used quite a lot. Do you remember what the story said about touch?” See what they recall, help them remember the places in the story that Jesus was touched or touched someone. “Touch is one of our five senses, and it’s an important one. Touch helps us know when something is too hot or too cold right? Touch also tells us what something is and helps us know our surroundings. In the Bible today we hear about Jesus and his healing touch–that he is able to heal the woman and the daughter with his touch and his words. This tells me that not only does Jesus care for us in words and by listening, but Jesus also cares for us in all the ways that we feel, either with our hands or with our hearts. You know, when I get a hug from one of my kids or a friend, that is a touch that can warm my heart and make me feel loved. Or when I get to curl up in my bed with favorite pillow that is a sense of touch that makes me feel warm and safe. And when we hold hands to pray or bless one another by putting our hands on one another’s head or shoulder that is touch that makes me feel connected to you and to God. So even though my touch may not make  a disease go away or heal all their hurts, our touch of prayer and blessing and love can bring the presence of God and hope to another person.”

20130822-224425.jpgLet’s pray together this way–let’s hold hands but first look at your thumbs. Let’s make both our thumbs go to the left and then hold hands with the people next to us. When we do this we have one hand supporting one person next to us and another hand being supported, or held up by the other person. (show them this with the people next to you) Lets pray–Loving Jesus, you give us hands to feel and hearts to love. Help us to use kind touch to bring your healing to others. Amen

20130822-223908.jpg+May you know the healing touch of God today+

 

FaithCross_WorshipFor a worship station you can either have the same items from your bag set up at the station and have people feel them and then write something that makes them feel and prayer on paper below each item.
OR
Go to this link from the Still Waters website and scroll down to the station on making hot chocolate as a fun way to have people make a gift for someone they love or who needs a healing prayer.

Children’s Sermon Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost, Matthew 22:34-46, October 26, 2014

Prepare: You are going to play a word game, so you will need several cards with either a noun or a verb on them and one more that says “LOVE.” The number of cards you use depends on how much time you have, but you probably need at least 3 of each plus the “LOVE” card. They should be simple and obvious, like RUN, or DOG.

Worship Station: The worship station can be done without added stuff, but if might be helpful to have paper for everyone to write on, or even better small note cards.

NOTE – I am using this with my congregation as part of our stewardship/giving commitment Sunday, so I will also include that idea, but you can leave out the giving commitment part if it does not line up with what your congregation is doing.

FaithCross_ConnectALT  Ask the children if they know what a noun is and what a verb is. You might have to explain it, and if they are too young you can also just use “thing” or “action.”

FaithCross_ConversationALT Alright! Good, now we are going to play a word game! I will hold up a card and you tell me if it is a noun or a verb.

Start with the easy ones, and offer lots of encouragement! Then hold up the LOVE card last.

What do you think of this one? Is love a noun? You can feel love, right? We know when we love someone or when someone loves us, so maybe it is a noun. But, maybe it is a verb, too. Love is something that you do, too! Think about that for a minute. When you love somebody you want to do good things for them. You want to make them feel good, and you want to take care of them. So love is not just a noun, love is something that we do.

In this Bible story that we read today we hear Jesus talking about love because someone asked him a very difficult question. They want to know what the greatest commandment is. I think that they were thinking of the 10 commandments – you know, “have no other gods,” “Honor you parents,” “Don’t kill.” But Jesus, like he so often does, answers the question in a completely different way. Instead of picking one of the 10, he kind of picks them all. He says the most important thing you can do is to love. Love God, love yourself and all the people around you. Remember, love is not just a noun, it is a verb! To love all these people we have to do something! We have to care for them, we should do good things for them, we should work to make them feel good, joyful and safe. That is a difficult thing to do, and I think that Jesus knew that when he said it. Let’s pray for a little help learning how to be more loving.

FaithCross_Worship *Stewardship Emphasis* If you intend to collect pledges you can have baskets out or whatever your custom is. If you are not colleting pledges you can just have people do the prayer work and write down their love commitment.

Ask the people to think for a moment about the person or situation that most upset, angered, frustrated, or otherwise made them unhappy in the past week. Then ask them to turn to the person next to them and just share the one word that they felt in that situation. Nothing more! Not what was happening, not who was involved, just one word about how they felt.

Next have them think about how they could have been more loving in the situation and write that on the paper (if you are using paper). That is their commitment to be more loving this week.

If you are collecting pledges, do that now, and tell them that they are making a double pledge. One to support the church financially in the coming year and the other to be more loving, even in the most difficult times of their daily lives.

20130822-224425.jpg    Loving God, we often fail to be the loving people you created us to be. Help us to see past our own hurts and anger and to live out your love in our lives. Amen.

20130822-223908.jpg God loves everything about you.

 

~GB

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Children’s Sermon Pentecost 7A Romans 8:26-39

Preparation: markers and paper with the words “what If” at the top (or print the whole poem if you like) either to hand out or at worship station

20130822-223454.jpg Gather the children with you. Ask, What kinds of things do you worry about? (take their answers) Yes, I worry about those things too sometimes (or add in your own worries). In fact I have this poem here by Shel Silverstein that lists all kinds of things that might be worrisome.
Read Poem:   Whatif by Shel Silverstein

Last night, while I lay thinking here,
some Whatifs crawled inside my ear

and pranced and partied all night long
and sang their same old Whatif song:
Whatif I’m dumb in school?
Whatif they’ve closed the swimming pool?
Whatif I get beat up?
Whatif there’s poison in my cup?
Whatif I start to cry?
Whatif I get sick and die?
Whatif I flunk that test?
Whatif green hair grows on my chest?
Whatif nobody likes me?
Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me?
Whatif I don’t grow taller?
Whatif my head starts getting smaller?
Whatif the fish won’t bite?
Whatif the wind tears up my kite?
Whatif they start a war?
Whatif my parents get divorced?
Whatif the bus is late?
Whatif my teeth don’t grow in straight?
Whatif I tear my pants?
Whatif I never learn to dance?
Everything seems well, and then
the nighttime Whatifs strike again!

That is quite a list of what ifs! Sometimes I also think that all these what ifs and worries and things that could happen or event things that DO happen that are sad or scary, what if God does not love me anymore–??? Have you ever thought of that what if?

20130822-223633.jpgDid you hear our scripture for today though? I heard it loud and clear, let me read it to you. “For I am convinced–which means I am very, very sure and certain, that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height , nor depth,(–insert their worries here and say things like not war or divorce or darkness or lost teeth, etc) nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Do you Know what that means–not one single thing will ever make God’s love go away. Not for you, not for me, not for anyone. Phew… that is some good news, to know that love will be with us no matter what happens or does not happen.

FaithCross_WorshipI have these papers for you that say ‘what if’ on the top. I want you to go ahead and write or draw anything that worries you or scares you. Then after you do that, draw a BIG HEART over the top of it and write God’s Love in that heart to help you remember that nothing will separate you from God’s love.

20130822-224425.jpgJesus, help us remember, no matter what ifs we worry about, no matter what comes our way, that your love is with us to stay. Amen

 

20130822-223908.jpg+May you know God’s love is with you always+

 

Children’s Sermon, Pentecost 2, June 22, 2014 – Matthew 10:24-39

Prepare: Bring a small cross – ideally one that stands up on its own.  If you are doing the worship station you will also need a basket to put under the cross, small pieces of paper and some pencils or crayons.  For the worship station (or even just for the children’s sermon) you can also have small crosses to give to the children.

FaithCross_BibleALT  Wow!  Did you hear what Jesus just said!  That didn’t sound like Jesus at all!  He said that he comes to bring a sword, not peace, and that he comes to divide families so that everyone is fighting!  What is he talking about!  That seems really scary, and I thought Jesus was kind and loving!  (ok, enough exclamation points, you get the idea, be excited.)

FaithCross  Let’s back up a minute and look at this again.  Do you think that Jesus really means that he came to make people fight?  No, I don’t think so, either.  So what does this mean?  Maybe we can think about it a different way.  Nearly all of the things that Jesus did with his disciples, nearly all of the stories that we read about Jesus were things that made people really uncomfortable and angry when he was doing them.  That doesn’t make much sense to us today because we have nearly 2,000 years of people talking and thinking about Jesus that helps to make all of this being Christian stuff seem pretty normal, but I bet I can still make you feel uncomfortable about doing what Jesus asks us to do.

Think about this – imagine that you are at the pool with a few of your best friends.  You are laughing and joking around, splashing each other, and just having a good time when you see someone from school that none of you really like.  All your friends decide to pick on that person, and they start splashing and yelling, which obviously hurts that persons feelings, but your friends don’t really care and they keep splashing and being mean.  Now, you know that if you make your friends stop, or go help the other person that your friends are going to be mad at you, but you also know that it’s the right thing to do . . . so, what do you do?  Stay with your friends where it’s safe and comfortable or defend and help someone who you don’t like?

When people choose to follow Jesus 2,000 years ago there was a risk of real violence and danger, there was a risk of swords!  Thankfully most of us will never need to deal with that, but we do sometimes have to make difficult choices because of what we believe and what that means for how we behave.  Sometimes doing what we should do comes with the risk of loosing a friendship.

(if you are doing the worship station, just skip to the prayer here)

I have a cross here.  Let’s take a few seconds to think about what other things we risk or give up when we follow Jesus.

FaithCross_Worship  Worship Station: Have your cross set up (or your basket of crosses if they are going to take one with them) with the basket, paper, and pencils near it.  Invite the children (or whoever else wants to join in) to take a piece of paper and think about two things: 1. What do you risk (or give up) when you follow Jesus  2. What is the reward for the risk?

Write the risk on the piece of paper (or draw), and leave the paper in the basket.  Then say a prayer for courage and of praise at the cross (or over the cross that they are taking with them).  You are welcome to print out the prayer below for people to use if they would like.

20130822-224425.jpg  Loving Christ, following you is difficult.  We often have to make choices between the things that make us feel safe and comfortable and the things that are right and good.  Sometimes following you means that we might upset someone that we love and care about.  Give us courage to do what is right and good even when it is difficult.  Amen.

20130822-223908.jpg  May God give you strength to love everyone you meet.

 

GB