Scripture: Mark 8:27-38
Preparations: Collect different kinds of crosses to show the children
Faith+Open: Gather the children to you. Say, I brought some crosses to show you today. There are all kinds of different crosses and different ways that we share our faith with crosses. Take out some different crosses one at a time. Share your different crosses, pointing out the differences. If you have one that is pretty, one that is more crude, etc. You may have crosses with different pictures or in various shapes. If you have an anchor cross, Jerusalem cross, etc. tell the children briefly what they are about.
Faith+Share: There are many different ways that we show the cross–some really fancy and some really natural (like a wood one). One thing these crosses have in common though is what they mean. Today Jesus says to ‘take up your cross’. That is is an interesting and even difficult thing for Jesus to say. Jesus died on a cross and did have to carry his cross up the hill. But I don’t think that Jesus meant for us to carry big crosses up hills all the time. Picking up our cross is a way to think about and to act on following Jesus. Jesus doesn’t mean that all the ‘bad things’ that happen to us are crosses but instead he means that we have a way of life to follow. And when good things and when bad things happen, he promises to be there with us.
Faith+Prayer: Jesus, you gave us the cross to help us follow you. We love you and we want to go your way. Be with us all our days and all our steps as we learn to follow you and as we remember your love. 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
Scripture: Isaiah 40:21-31 (with Mark 1:29-39)
Preparation: If possible come in wearing something that makes it look like you have been working out (like running shoes, a sweatshirt) and bring a water bottle.
Faith+Open: Find a way to jog into the worship space (up the center isle or something like that). Make it sound like you just made it in time as you call the children together, and act as breathless as possible.
Faith+Share: Wow! Just made it! I really thought that I was going to have to sit down before I got here, I was just so tired. But, I knew that I really wanted to share this story with you today, so I prayed for a little more strength and ran as fast as I could! The really funny thing, is that the story is about God giving us strength when we need it most. Here, listen to it again
He gives power to the faint
and strengthens the powerless
Even youths will faith and be weary,
and the young will fall exhausted
but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength
They shall mount up on wings like eagles
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
Pretty cool, huh? All of us get tired and want to stop. Most of the time it’s ok to be tired, we can just head to bed or take a nap, but sometimes we need to keep going. Can you think of some times when you need to keep going even if you are tired? (Give them a little time to think and answer.) Those are all great reasons to keep going! Sometimes it seems like we are going forever and never getting to the goal! I know that when I was in school it felt like summer would never come, but I just kept working and trying and when summer finally did come I always felt so great! God does more than just giving us strength and love. The Gospel story today tells about Jesus healing people who are sick in many different ways. All kinds of people come to Jesus so that he can help them to feel better and keep going! And it seems like most of the people Jesus healed were too sick to come on their own, so other people bring them. That is another way that God helps is, by giving us family and friends to carry us be with us when we need them. So, even when we are weak or sick God finds a way to give us strength and help us to keep going.
Faith+Prayer: Healing God, thank you for being our strength when we need it most! Thank you for putting people around us who love us and are willing to help us. Be with us each day and give us strength to keep going, even when the task is hard and we are tired. Amen.
Faith+Blessing: May your eyes be opened to see all the amazing works of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Scripture: Mark 1:14-20
Preparation: Find a fishing net and some toy fish. Make sure that you emphasize the work “gather” throughout the children’s time.
Faith+Open: Call the children together by saying something like, “Come look what I caught!” When they are close enough to see what is in the net give them a chance to see the fish.
Faith+Share: Today I have a net. Look at these fish that I gathered in here. It looks like I did pretty well, don’t you think? If these were real fish I could eat for a few days on this many fish. Well, maybe not, they are kind of small. Have any of you ever gone fishing? (Leave a little time for them to answer.) Have you ever used a net? (Allow answers again.) Usually, with this kind of net you would probably catch the fish on a pole, then use the net to scoop them into the boat. In the Gospel lesson today we hear about some fishermen who use nets too, but their nets are huge! They drag their nets behind them in the water and gather a bunch of fish, kind of like I have here (Drag the net a little like you are scooping the fish off the ground).
When Jesus sees these fishermen he knows that they would make good disciples and he calls to them. He says, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” They drop their nets and follow, but what do you think Jesus means? Do you think he means they should drag nets along behind them and scoop people up? (Give a second for the silly image to sink in.) No, that wouldn’t work! I think that Jesus means that he will teach them to gather people together, like the net gather the fish. Instead of a net, Jesus is going to teach his disciples the Good News that Jesus is bringing to the world. People will gather around the stories and words of Jesus, and we can help by sharing the good news, too!
Faith+Prayer: : Gracious God, teach us to gather around your word and be fishers of people, just like the disciples in this story. Help us to share the stories about Jesus with other people and to show the world your love and peace. Amen
Faith+Blessing: May your eyes be opened to see all the amazing works of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Scripture: Mark 1:4-11
There are so many wonderful children’s stories on baptism. Consider for this Sunday reading the Gospel from the Jesus Storybook Bible as one way to tell the story. Other resources are Welcome, Child of God by Anne Ylvisaker–a very short board book that can be read in worship. Or Come Right in Your Home God says when we are Baptized. These books could be read at the beginning or in the midst of this children’s sermon if you have enough time or they could be out on display for ideas for others. Augsburg FortressWashed and Welcome series has some great resources.
Also a note that the children’s sermon for January 1 could be adapted for this Sunday as well
Faith+Open: Gather the children with you either in the usual place or around the baptism fount. One idea would be to have the fount up near the altar for this Sunday.
Faith+Share: Today we are remembering and focusing on the baptism of Jesus and what it means for us to remember our baptism everyday. What are some things that you do everyday? (take answers–brush teeth, eat, drink, etc) Yes, we do all those things everyday! There is something that was not mentioned that I would like us to do everyday as well–that is remember our baptism. Do you know what baptism is? (take answers and fill in with information if needed while summarizing) Yes baptism is when a person, lots of times a baby, is marked as a child of God with water and oil. We say you are ‘sealed with the Holy Spirit and marked with the Cross of Christ forever’. We are baptized once, but we are to know forget about it but remember and live out that we are children of God everyday.
OPTION: insert one of the stories or show pictures of Jesus baptism from a children’s Bible.
One way that we remember this is by knowing that the Holy Spirit is with us all the time. We are given the Holy Spirit but we also give the love of the Holy Spirit to others. Can you put one hand on your tummy and another out in front of your mouth? Now take a deep breath in and feel your tummy go up. (Do this together). Now let that breath out and feel it on your hand. Our breath goes in and out everyday just like the Spirit is with us and goes out to those around us everyday. We can take deep breathes in and out to remember and to know God is with us all the time. We can also remember our baptisms when we use water–like when we brush our teeth or take bath and we cans say a prayer.
Faith+Prayer: Let’s practice that now: Keep your hands on your tummy and take a deep breath in and out. Now prayer with me. God, thank you for your gift of baptism. Help me remember that I am a child of God everyday. Help me to share your love and grace. Amen
Faith+Blessing: Go in peace remembering you are a precious child of God + in the name of the Father Son and Holy Spirit.
Scripture: Mark 1:1-8
Preparation: You will need to prepare one volunteer–it can be a child or youth or adult. They will be the one to go behind the altar (or other designated space) and try to get a message to the child volunteer you ask for during the children’s sermon.
Faith+Open: Gather the children to you. Today we hear in gospel that John the Baptist was one of the people who was trying to get the message out that Jesus was coming and to prepare the way of the Lord. So, I was thinking, getting the message can be really important and we in advent can listen for the message of love and hope in Christmas.
Faith+Share: So, I want to try something, kind of like telephone but ‘whole church telephone’. I need a volunteer, anybody here think they are good listener? Pick a child who you think can go to the back of the church comfortably. Ok, you look like a good listener. Can you go to back of the church (say something like by the baptismal font, or last row, or by doors to indicate where you would like he/she to go). Send your other volunteer to the opposite end, like behind the altar for example. Great, now I’m going to ask ___________ (your prepared volunteer) to say a message to you from across the room. I want you to listen to the message and repeat it back. But first, I think we need everyone’s help. I need the whole assembly to talk too. Just turn to your neighbor and have a conversation for a few moments while ___________ sends his message. Once people are talking look at volunteer to give his/her message. It can be something like “prepare the way of the Lord” or “Christ is coming”. This person should not scream it or use a microphone. The point is that the other person CAN’T hear them. After a moment get everyone quiet again.
Ok, so what was the message? What, you can’t hear? I thought you were a good listener! No, you’re right, there was so much noise and talking going on that you couldn’t hear the message. Let’s try again but this time without people talking.
What was the message? (child should be able to repeat this time)
So come on back. In Advent we are waiting and preparing for Christmas. Sometimes though there is so much noise and so much distraction that we forget what we are preparing for. John the Baptist wanted people to prepare and to know that God was coming to be with them. And that is what we are focused on now, how God comes to us as a baby and as a kid and as a grown up and how God walks with us even now and wants us to hear the message that God is with us and loves us. That is what we always watch for in our daily lives, for Christ to be present in the world.
Faith+Prayer Let us pray together or repeat after me: God, we watch for you and hope for you. Help us to see you and prepare for you each day and in this Advent time. Amen.
Faith+Blessing: May the light of Christ be with you today and all your days. +
Scripture: Mark 13:24-37
Supplies: a pair of binoculars
Faith+Open: Gather children to you. Hold up your binoculars and start using them to look around the sanctuary. Oh wow! Look at that–the colors are new! Oh my there are new candles and a wreath and a tree. Hhhmm, I heard it is Advent and I’m supposed to watch for something. Do you know what I’m watching and waiting for? Pause and take responses. Keep looking through your binoculars and pondering what you see.
Faith+Share: I read in the gospel of Mark that we are to keep watch and waiting. And it’s Advent so we watch and wait for Jesus. So, do I need these binoculars for what we are watching for? You don’t think so? But I want to see God right away and isn’t God far away? …. It seems like in Advent we watch for God we also know that God is near. So maybe I don’t need these binoculars to see God. Hhhmmm, what are the ways we know God is around us? Take responses. Focus in on how we can see God working in the acts of love around us in the world. And while we wait for Christmas, we can focus on how we see the light of Christ around us during this time when it’s dark longer. At this time of year we say Christ is our Light because we think about God being the one that gives us light and hope. In our Gospel today and in all of Advent we talk about how we are waiting and watching for God’s light. We can call those Godsightings–like when we see or hear stories of people helping others or acts of love. God is all around us and working in our world today. Where can you watch for God this week? Take responses.
Faith+Prayer: This week, watch for God in all you do. Keep a list or tell your family at dinner what you saw.
Prayer with me: Christ our light, shine us while we wait. Help us see you each day and know that your love is with us always. Amen
May the light of Christ be with you today and all your days. +
Have a candle cut out (or binoculars) with Christ written on it and have kids take it back to their seats and write where they can watch for God this week.