Children’s Sermon Easter 5B 1 John 4:7-21

Scripture: 1 John 4:7-21 (focusing on 7&8)

Preparation: If you do not know the song you will need to learn it. Having guitar or piano with it is not necessary, it’s easily teachable in camp song style fashion.

Faith+Open: Gather children with you. Say, Have you ever memorized something from the Bible? (take answers if given) Some people know Psalm 23 really well and a lot of people know the shortest verse: Jesus wept. Say a verse that you know.

Faith+Share: Knowing some verses by heart can help us to remember God’s words in our daily lives. It’s fun when a bible verse comes to mind when you hear something. Today our 2nd reading comes from the book of 1st John and there are two verse there that are good to memorize, “Beloved let us love one another because love is of God and everyone that loves, knows God. They they love not, know not God.” These verses can help us to remember that no matter what happens God loves us and we are to love one another–that is how we show we know God, by acting in love. I think the best way to memorize verses is to learn them with music. Let’s learn a song that will help us remember these words from God.

D                                      A7
Beloved, let us love one another,

For love is of God, and everyone that loveth

D
Is born of God, and knoweth God.

D7
They that loveth not, knoweth not God

G                  Em
For God is love.

D                    A7                   D
Beloved, let us love one another. First John 4:7 and 8

Here is a link to hear a version of the song: Beloved, Let us love one another

Faith+Prayer: God, thank you for your words of love. Help us to love one another and remember your words each day. Amen

Faith+Blessing: Remember what Jesus says to his disciples: Do not be afraid and peace be with you. +

~LB

*permission to use for nonprofit purposes. When printing give credit to Faith Formation Journeys. Intellectual property rights apply.

Faith + Home Connection May 2012

Faith +Time for Families

Faith + Open: Gather the members of your household to a comfortable place in the home. For this month’s devotion you may want to find some branches with buds to have present. Or if that is not possible find some pictures of branches with buds or fruit; this is particularly helpful if there are young children present. Light a candle and pray: Dear God, with the lighting of this candle we remember that you are always present. May our lives be a light to your world. Amen

Faith + Share: Read John 15: 1-8.  What images jump out at you or capture your imagination?

Adults: Jesus is talking to the disciples here in John. He is clearly stating that it is God alone that makes our actions “fruitful” and life giving. Yet, there are images here of being pruned and even cast off. Jesus knows that there are times when we attempt to go it alone in this life but we need to remember that it is our life in God that gives us direction and allows us to fully blossom into all that God intends us to be. When we blossom for God we are showing the world how the love of God through Jesus Christ makes a difference in our lives and the lives of all in the world. Are there times in your life that you have felt cut off? Or perhaps times when you know that God was pruning you to be “fruitful”? When do you feel most “fruitful”? How will people around you know that you are a disciple of Jesus Christ?

Children: Jesus tells us that we are a part of him and that he is with us always! We can show all of our friends, family and neighbors how much we love Jesus with how we treat them. When Jesus is in our hearts we can do anything! How can we show people that we love Jesus? Did you know that just as plants grow, change and some even grow fruit, you too will grow and change! No matter how big or little you are you have something special (gifts from God) to give to people! What are you good at?

Faith + Blessing: The metaphor of growing and bearing fruit can be talked about as you plant some seeds, a starter in a garden or a planter. Any plant will do, but maybe strawberries or something that provides fruit would be fun! Decorate a planter as a family with symbols of growth-vines, fruit, trees, flowers-and then as your plant grows you can talk about how we too grow in God!

Daily Blessing: Remind each other as you depart for school or work of being in Jesus with the simple words, “bear much fruit.”

Faith + Close: Ask everyone present for a prayer concern. Check in with younger children to see what they would like to talk to God about today. Then pray: Dear God, thank you so much for keeping us part of you. We pray that we may be fruitful and share the fruit of you love with the whole world. We pray for the environment that it maybe clean and healthy and that we as your people learn to care for your creation. We now pray for:                                                               In Jesus, our vine’s name, amen.

 

Faith + Serve: Find a park, trail or other place where as a family you can clean up the environment. Talk about how a clean environment helps trees, flowers, plants and wildlife to grow healthy. Or offer to help a neighbor with limited mobility to do yard or garden work.

~BW

Permission to use for nonprofit. When printing give credit to Faith Formation Journeys. Intellectual property rights apply

Children’s Sermon Easter 4B John 10:11-18

Scripture: John 10:11-18 

Preparation: Secure a live sheep–Ha, ha! Just kidding! Highly recommended NOT to try this unless you can move kiddos outside whereby it’s a really cool idea and I have seen it done it well!

Real Preparation: 
Plant a few people the children might know to say loudly “follow me”. You might want to pick a parent of one of the children.
musical instruments or other ‘noise makers’

Faith+Open: Gather children to you and welcome them in. Ask, Do you think you can tell what things are by their sound? Ok, close your eyes (this will have to be the honor system!) and I am going to make some sounds and you say what they are: 
proceed to make sounds like a bell, spoons together, clapping, other instruments, kazoo, whatever you can find. Do just a few 2-3.

Faith+Share: Now about people’s voices? Do you think you can tell who someone is by the sound of their voice? Close your eyes again and see if you can guess. Have the people you planted shout “Follow me” You can be one of them because they will know it’s you most likely even if they don’t know you because you will be sitting closest to them.
Jesus says today that the he knows his own and they know him. He calls himself the shepherd and the people the sheep that follow the shepherd. One way that sheep know who to follow is that they know the sound of their shepherd’s voice. Then they can follow the person who they know will take care of them and protect them. How do you know who to follow or trust? (take answers) Yes, it might not be only their voice but I bet you know if your parent or grandparent or teacher is calling your name because you have a relationship with them and know that they care for you. Jesus promises that he cares for you too and that he will be known to us because he will never leave us. 

Faith+Prayer: Jesus, help me know you, help me know your voice and your love. Thank you Jesus for your life and your love, for your death and for your rising. Amen

Faith+Blessing:
Remember what Jesus says to his disciples: Do not be afraid and peace be with you. +

~LB

Children’s Sermon Easter 3B Luke 24: 36b-48

Scripture: Luke 24: 36b-48

Preparation: a physical wound or scar you can share about

Faith + Open: Gather children with you. Say, have any of you ever gotten a hurt that left a mark? (Careful, there will be a million stories!) Anyone have a scar they can point to easily? Sometimes the scars we have or the wounds we have show something about us or tell a story. For example, I have this little scar on my small finger that was from when I was small and didn’t listen to my mom when she told me not to pick up a sharp knife. (Use your own story or a story from someone you know)

Faith + Share: After Jesus rose from the dead on Easter, do you remember who discovered the empty tomb? Yes the women. Then Jesus did appear a few times to some people like Mary and other disciples. Today in our gospel Jesus appears to the disciples who are worried and scared and wondering what to do now that Jesus has risen from the dead. He comes to see them and one of the first things he does he show them his hands and feet because they had the wounds from dying on the cross. Then they knew it was him! I find that interesting because most of the time I recognize people by their faces. But Jesus showed them his hands and his feet as a way to say who he was and to tell the story of his death and resurrection. Just like the scar on my hand tells a story. Our hands and feet can tell other stories too, like when our fingers turn colors from dying egg or coloring with markers. Or when we get blisters from walking a long time in our shoes. Our hands and feet also help us to tell the story of Jesus because we use our hands to help others and our feet help us go new places. So when we are hurt or when we are with other people who are hurt we can remember that Jesus used his hands and feet to show us how much he loved us by dying on the cross and then rising from the dead to show the whole world God’s love.

Faith + Prayer: Jesus, Thank you for your love and for your scars. Help us to use our hands and feet to show people we know your love. Amen

Faith + Blessing: Remember what Jesus says to his disciples: Do not be afraid and peace be with you. +

~LB

Children’s Sermon 2nd Sunday of Easter, Year B John 20:19-31

Preparation: Prepare an invitation to use as part of this children’s time. See below.

Faith+Open: Gather the children to where you hold children’s time. Tell them to come on up as you have a special invitation to show them. Ask them if they have ever received an invitation to something special: birthday party, confirmation/first communion party, wedding, baptism, Christmas or Valentine’s (whatever!)

Faith+Share:Show them the envelope that holds the invitation. Ask them if you should look inside. (Hopefully they will say yes!) Take the invitation out and read it: “Peace I give to you! Come and see that I am here and believe in me!” Ask the children: “Who do you think this invitation is from?” After accepting all answers say, “It’s from Jesus! In our gospel story today Jesus invites all of the disciples including one named Thomas to see Jesus and believe that God raised him! Jesus also invites the disciples to go and tell everyone about him so that they may believe too! Jesus knew that the disciples had been afraid after his death and not all of the disciples believed Mary when she said that she had seen Jesus risen. But Jesus didn’t mind and came to the disciples to show them that he had risen. But Thomas was not there, so Jesus came again to show Thomas! Jesus comes to us too again and again and invites us to believe, even when it is hard to believe, and to tell others about Jesus being alive and with us always! Jesus invites us every day with his love!

Faith+Prayer: Prayer: Dear God, thank you for your son Jesus who loves us and is always with us. Just as Jesus invites us to believe in him help us to share Jesus with everyone we meet. Amen.

Faith+Blessing: each child an envelope and say to them “Peace to you from Jesus!”

Please reference April 15th children’s time supplement for a sample invitation that can be printed out.

Children’s Sermon Easter Sunday: Letting Our Alleluias Rise to God!

Faith+Open: You may want to change up the service order and do the Children’s + Time early in the service. Gather the children around you. Have the boxes that you buried the “alleluias” in nearby and have them decorated with Easter symbols. Ask the children what is different in the sanctuary this morning (lilies, white paraments, etc.) and why we are celebrating today. Jesus is Risen!

Faith+Share: ( Retell as much or as little of the gospel text as is fitting for your service.) This morning we heard the story of the tomb being empty and God raising Jesus from the dead! We know that because of what God did in Jesus that we don’t have to worry about death and we will live with God forever in God’s love. This makes us so happy! When you are happy what words do you use to let people know that you are happy? (Maybe a “woo hoo” or a “yippee” or a “yay”!) In the church, one of the happy words that we say to let God know that we are so thankful for God’s love is alleluia. Can you say “alleluia”? (Have the children repeat it several times LOUDLY! Invite the congregation to participate!!) Remember when we put that word in this (these) box (es)? Well, we have a lot of songs to sing this morning with alleluia in them I think that we should let the alleluias out! What do you think?

Open the boxes slowly, the helium balloons with the “alleluia” pieces of paper from Lent taped to them should (hopefully!) “rise” up to the ceiling.

Say: Because Jesus rose from the dead, our “alleluias” rise up to God to say thank you for Jesus! We can let our happiness go up to God!

Faith+Prayer: Sing “Hallelu, Hallelu, Halleuia, Praise Ye the Lord” song or another song with “alleluia” or “halleluia” in it that the children know before ending Children’s Time.

Prayer: God, we thank you for the empty tomb and that Jesus did not stay dead. We know that you love us and that we will live with you always. We thank you, God, for happy words like Alleluia that you always hear. Alleluia! Amen!

Faith+Blessing: Have the children raise their hands up in the air. Say: God always hears you! Raise your joy to God! Alleluia!

*Note: Depending on the size of your congregation, try to have a balloon for each child present. Put long strings on the balloon to make them accessible. The most cost efficient (as well as to ensure that the balloons have enough helium to float) is to buy a small tank at a party store or even a major retailer. Find a volunteer to do this Easter morning. Alternatively, if you are concerned about the balloons being a distraction… have only a few balloons at Children’s Time but have a volunteer to hand out balloons at the close of service. Balloons should not be given to children 3 years of age and under.

Children’s Sermon Easter Sunday Year B Mark 16:1-8-or-John 20:1-18

Scriptures: Mark 16:1-8-or-John 20:1-18

Preparation:  Get a big piece of paper, like off an art roll, and write/paint/color “Alleluia” on it as big as you can.  Have it all rolled up so that no one can see what it says, but so that it will be easy to unroll like a banner.

Faith+Open:  Enter into the space as excited as you can.  Say things like, “Children, come quickly!  The most amazing thing has happened!  You’re never going to believe this!”

Faith+Share: : Do you know what has happened?  Have you heard the news?  Jesus isn’t dead!  He’s alive, ALLELUIA! 

Unroll your banner, you need to be really over the top about this, super excited, far beyond anything that the children are going to give back.

Wait, why am I so much more excited than you?  Have you heard this story before?  Oh, you have, well, it’s still exciting, don’t you think?  Maybe we need to look at this a different way.  Have you ever lost a special toy, and then found it again?  It’s pretty great when that happens.  Or, maybe more for your parents, putting on a pair of pants and finding $20 in the pocket.  It just makes your day so much better.  Now think about Jesus friends, they didn’t lose a toy, they lost their best friend, their teacher, the person they thought was God in human form.  He was gone.  Then, suddenly he’s not!  He’s alive and with them!  Now that would be an amazing day, don’t you think?

The story gets better, too.  Jesus came back with an unbelievable gift for everyone.  Jesus forgives us all for everything, and opens the gates of heaven.  So, when you think about it that way, even if you’ve heard the story before, it’s pretty exciting, isn’t it?

Ok, now that we’re all excited about the story, let’s try this again.  I’m going to shout, “Alleluia!  Christ is Risen!”  Then you say, “Christ is risen indeed!  Alleluia!”

Here we go:

Alleluia!  Christ is Risen!

Faith+Prayer:  Amazing God, WOW!  Your live and with us!  Help us to celebrate the good news of Christ risen and share the Easter blessing with everyone we meet.  Amen.

Faith+Blessing::  You say, “Alleluia!  Christ is Risen!”

They say, “Christ is risen indeed!  Alleluia!”

Children’s Sermon Maundy Thursday Year B John 13:1-17

Scriptures: John 13:1-17

Preparation:  Find a crown, or some other object that will make the children think of a classic fairy tale king, and a towel.  Put both the crown and towel into a bag with crown on top so you can get it out first, without showing the towel.

Faith+Open:  Start by reminding the children of the Palm Sunday chant, “Hosanna! Hosanna!”  Remember that great king we welcomed into Jerusalem on Sunday?  Now pull out the crown.

Faith+Share: :  I was thinking about that king, too, so I brought a crown.  What do you think about when you see a crown, or hear about a king? (wait for a few answers – since you are in “church mode” you might get a few answers of “Jesus!”  Try to get them to talk about the more fairy tale image of a mighty king.)  Yeah, kings are powerful and proud!  Do you think a king like that would come to your house and make your bed? Clean your room?  What about cleaning your bathroom for you?  No, probably not.

Well, listen to this, I know a story where a king sat down with his friends, then he washed their feet!  No kidding, he got a towel and a bowl of water and washed a bunch of stinky, dirty feet.  How would you feel about that?  A king washing your feet?  Well, by now you’ve probably figured out that I’m talking about Jesus.  That might be even more strange, don’t you think?  Jesus washing your feet!?!  I mean, he’s God’s son, he can do anything, and he chooses to wash a bunch of feet!  One of his friends, Simon Peter, feels the same way, he tried to get Jesus to stop, but Jesus says you must let me wash your feet, the smelliest, dirtiest part of you so that you can be really clean.  I think Jesus is talking about more than feet here.  Jesus cleans out all the bad things that we do, all the stinky parts of our life and forgives and loves us, even when we have stinky feet.  Come back on Sunday to hear the rest of the story!

Faith+Prayer:  Loving God, we thank you for washing away the stinky things that we do, and for forgiving us when we make mistakes.  Keep us ever in your love and forgiveness. Amen.

Faith+Blessing: Make the sign of the cross and say:

God be in my head
God be in my heart
God be on my left
God be on my right

Children’s Sermon Palm Sunday B Mark 11:1-11-or-John 12:12-16

Scriptures: Mark 11:1-11-or-John 12:12-16

Option 1: If your Palm Sunday Worship does not include a procession you can use children’s time to celebrate the story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.  With or without palms, have the children gather into a parade and walk around the sanctuary shouting “Hosanna! Hosanna!  Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna!”  Get them to make some noise!  Talk about how exciting it must have been to have see Jesus coming into the city, let them dance and shout.  Gather them together and use the prayer at the end.

Option 2:

Faith+Open:  As the children gather, make a significant change in your ritual.  For example, if you always have the children sit in a specific place, tell them that they can no longer sit there because someone spilled some really sticky glue on the floor and they would be stuck there forever.  Really ham it up.  Once you have a few of them going say “April Fool!”

Faith+Share: Do you guys know what an April fool’s joke is?  It’s what I just did to you, you try to convince people of something that’s just crazy or silly, then you say “April Fool!”  It’s one of my favorite days of the year, and this year it happens right on Palm Sunday, which I think is fantastic!  See, a really good April Fool’s joke makes people believe one thing, then surprises them with something else. 

NOTE:  This is where it is really important to make sure that you don’t make Holy Week into a joke.  Use the April Fool’s idea to get into the story, but don’t take it too far!

Today is the beginning of the greatest story in the Bible, the story of Holy Week.  I love it when Palm Sunday and April Fool’s Day are the same because the people in the story are expecting something when Jesus comes into Jerusalem.  The people who are cheering for Jesus are Israelites, and they are looking for the next great king to help them.  They imagine Jesus to be a king who will build an army, kick the Romans out of Jerusalem and save them from their enemies, but that’s not where the story goes.  Jesus certainly has come to save them, but not from the Romans, and not from any enemy that we can see.  Over the course of this next week, Jesus goes from being the crowd favorite to being the one person that everyone seems to hate.  His closest friends turn their backs on them, and the crowds that cheered for Jesus call for his crucifixion, call for Jesus to be killed.  The story doesn’t go the way they expect.

But there’s one more twist.  This craziest thing happens, something that people in the Bible even describe foolish or silly.  Jesus . . .well, you have to come back next week to hear the rest!

Faith+Prayer:  Hosanna!  Amazing God, we praise you for your love and mercy.  Travel with us through this Holy Week and be with us when the story doesn’t go the way we expect.  Amen.

Faith+Blessing: Make the sign of the cross and say:

God be in my head
God be in my heart
God be on my left
God be on my right

Faith+Home Connection April 2012

Scripture: John 20: 19-31

Faith + Open: Gather all in your home to a place where you can be comfortable. Light a candle and open with prayer.

God of life, you come to us wherever we are so that we may know you in our lives. Thank you for the gift of faith and may we share that gift with everyone we know. Amen.

Faith + Share: Read John 20: 19-31 in your favorite family Bible.

With young children have them act out the story for a different perspective.

With adults, have different people read the different parts in the story.

Questions For children: Tell of a time when you were afraid? Who were you with? What made you feel better? We are all afraid sometimes, but when we are afraid we know that just as Jesus came to the disciples to give them peace, Jesus is with you and will give you peace too! Who can you tell about the peace of Jesus to?

Questions For adults: The disciples were hiding and afraid to go out into the world. Jesus came and gave them his peace and told them that they were now to go out into the world with the transforming message of God’s forgiveness and love. When we are afraid God comes to us, not once but over and over to share God’s peace with us and to remind us that we are not people who live in fear but in the proclamation of the good news of the resurrection of Jesus and we must go out and tell the world. What holds you back from fully embracing the message of Easter? Do we live as if Easter is real? What holds you back from telling your friends and neighbors about the love of God?

Faith + Serve: There are people afraid all over the world for a myriad of reasons: war, famine, violence, disease just to name a few. Begin by praying for those who live daily in fear for God’s Spirit of peace to flow into their lives. Then go to http://www.elca.org/Our-Faith-In-Action/Responding-to-the-World/ELCA-World-Hunger.aspx and read about how you can make a difference in someone’s life!

Faith + Blessing: Jesus came and told the disciples “Peace be with you” and breathed the Holy Spirit on them. Give each other this blessing this month everyday:

May the Spirit and Peace of God be with you today. You can either give each other the “peace sign” or make the sign of the cross on each other.

Faith + Close: Extinguish the candle, give each other the blessing and then pray: God of life, we want to live as Easter people. Breathe on us everyday your gift of peace and love so that we may carry that out into the world. May all of creation be at peace! Amen

~BW

Let us walk with you on the journey of faith. Whether your feet are big or small, fresh or worn, running or crawling, God's love goes with you and you stand on holy ground.