Tag Archives: community

On the Road Again Luke 10:13-35 Easter 3A, April 30, 2017

 Gather the children in the back of your worship space. Ask them what they know about what was celebrated on Easter and what they know about the morning that the women found the tomb empty. As you are talking, begin to walk to wherever your font is in your space. Be sure that the children are following you. Keep talking until you get to the font. At the font, say, “We come together every Sunday to tell each other about Jesus in our lives. When we baptize people (children, babies and adults), we tell them how much God loves them and is with them forever. We also talk about how we are going to keep learning about God’s love through the Bible, The Ten Commandments, The Apostles’ Creed, The Lord’s Prayer, worship, and Holy Communion.” Then ask them what they know about Jesus from the Bible and begin walking toward the table. When you get to the table, say, “We know a lot about Jesus from the Bible, but in bread and wine, Jesus is known to us in real and concrete way! Give them all bread to eat (if this is a concern as it might look like communion for children who do not yet receive just hold up the bread). Jesus is truly with us just like this bread is truly with us!”

 In our Bible story today, some disciples were walking and talking about Jesus’ death and resurrection. A man joined them and began to tell them about what the Bible said about Jesus’ and God’s love. But they didn’t know it was Jesus until they were sitting at dinner with him and he blessed bread and gave it to them to eat! They had been talking to Jesus that whole day! Even though they didn’t know it and they were sad about Jesus dying, Jesus was with them, even as they walked to a different town! Jesus is with us no matter where we walk, drive, ride our bikes or run. Jesus promises to be with us. We can talk to each other about Jesus no matter where we are too!

 Everywhere our feet go, Jesus is there! Have different colors of construction paper, pencils, markers and scissors available. Invite people to trace their feet, cut out the tracings, write or draw how they know Jesus is with them in their daily lives, or how they experience the presence of Jesus in their daily lives. Hang them on a wall, or a bulletin board for a week and then invite them to take them home as a reminder.

Dear Jesus, you walk with us no matter where we go. Open our eyes to see you in our midst. Open our ears to hear your words of promise and love. Open our hearts to share the story of the good news of your death and resurrection that is for all people in all times and in all places. Give us your Holy Spirit to renew us for the journey. Amen.

 +Jesus is risen indeed!+

You Are a Saint of God! All Saints Sunday, Nov. 6th, 2016 Year C

 

 

20130822-223520.jpgAsk, “How many of you have grandmas, or grandpas? Do you see them all of the time? (Some will, some won’t.) If you don’t see them very often, (or at all) are you still their grandchild? (Yes!) I have grandmas and grandpas but my grandma (or grandpa or other relative) has died. That means that they no longer live here on earth, they are with God now and I don’t see them anymore but I know that I will someday! We know that God promises that we will all someday be together and with God. God created us to be together. We have families, friends, church community, all kinds of places where we are with people. When we’re together, we can teach each other about Jesus. What would you want to tell these people here about Jesus?” (Have the children turn and face the congregation and say what they think is important about Jesus.)

*Then invite up a parent and a baby, a teen, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, seventy, eighty, ninety (if you have one present!) something up with the children. Say, “All of these people are part of our community. Even if we don’t see them every day know their name, can they still teach us something about Jesus? Can a baby teach us about Jesus? Yes! A teenager? A grandma or grandpa? YES! Can you teach them about God too? YES!”

* Invite each generation to say one sentence that they want the children to know about Jesus. Say, “We need each other to teach each other about God! This is what All Saints is all about! You are a saint when your words and actions teach someone about Jesus. God says that we are all saints to each other! Pretty neat! To remember this today, during the passing of the peace you can make the sign of the cross on each other and say, “Saint (name if you know it), God’s peace be with you!”

20130822-223749.jpg God of all faithfulness, you created us to be in community with each other. Help us to remember that we need each other: babies, children, teens, young adults, middle age adults and our mature adults. We remember today those saints who are not with us but still live in love in our hearts. Thank you for weaving us together in your love now and forever, amen.

FaithCross_Worship A few ideas to do today:

*Have paper clouds cut out and on a table with pens and markers. Invite people to write names of saints living and dead on their “cloud of witnesses,” people who have passed the faith on them. They can either take them home, or place them on a cross.
*Have bowls of water available as people come for communion, in order to remember their baptism. You can also have a bowl of water with a candle lighting station if you do that. Connect baptism to communion, to our daily lives.
*In addition to commemorating those saints who have completed their baptismal journey from you congregation, celebrate those who were born/baptized this year as well. Light a candle for those past and ring a bell for the new lives!

 

20130822-223908.jpg +You are a saint of Jesus Christ+

God Knows Your Name Luke 10: 1-11, 16-20 Seventh Sunday after Pentecost, July 3rd, 2016 Year C

 

20130822-223454.jpg

As you have the children come forward have a large piece of butcher paper and numerous crayons available on the floor. Invite them to write their name on the butcher paper as you begin. (Just first names are fine for time sake.) Say, “When you meet someone for the first time, what’s usually the first thing you tell someone about yourself? Yes, your name! Our names are very important and they help other people talk to us, call us on the phone, email us, send us a card or even a present! Without our names, life could be very confusing, couldn’t it? Our names help people remember what is special about us and us about them. Do we learn and remember names of people who we don’t see very often? No, it’s hard to know the names of people who we don’t go to school with, live in our neighborhood or have never even met! But we learn the names of people who are important to us and we see a lot in our lives. Knowing someone’s name is a way to say “I care about you!”

20130822-223633.jpg

In our story today, Jesus sends the disciples out to all kinds of different towns and cities where they will meet all kinds of different people. Jesus reminds the disciples and us, that the most important thing to remember as we go along in our life meeting new people, learning new things, and telling people about God is that God knows our name, everything about us and says that we belong to God. When people don’t like you, or don’t want to even meet you, even though that’s hard, it’s ok because God knows you and your name and says “I care about you!” When we baptize babies, children or adults, we say their name because we know that God is  saying that we all belong to God, God knows us and promises to always call us by name to God.

Besides learning people’s names, how can we tell people that God cares for them? (Accept all answers.) There are all sorts of ways to show God’s love! A few ways we do that as a church are….(Fill in with ministries of your congregation). And you are never too little, young or old to help in one of those activities! As you go back to your seat, I want you to draw a heart around someone else’s name (not your own) to show that God cares for them.

20130822-223749.jpg

(Invite the children and the whole congregation to join hands for the prayer. Have everyone hold their hands out with thumbs to the left. Then when you join hands, you are supporting someone’s hand and someone else is supporting you. The true meaning of community!)  Dear Jesus, thank you for caring for us. You know our names and everything about us. Help us to share you love and care with our friends, with our families and with people that we meet. May your peace fill us and the whole earth. Amen.

FaithCross_Worship

Take the sheet of butcher paper with the children’s names on it from children’s sermon and place it on a table with more crayons, markers, etc. Have people write their own name as well as draw a heart around someone else’s name. Invite the congregation to pray for the person whose name they drew a heart around. And to try and meet them if they don’t already know each other!

20130822-223908.jpg +God knows your name and cares for you+

Children’s Sermon – “Many Parts, One Body” – John 17:20-26, May 8, 2016

Prepare: You will need a LEGO mini-figure for this. Have it taken apart and be ready to put it together.

For the worship station you will need a large piece of poster board or banner paper with the outline of a tree on it, and a bunch of permanent markers and a few washable stamp pads. (more information below!)

20130822-223520.jpg Gather up the children and get out you disassembled mini-figure. Ask if they know what it is (this should cause excitement).

20130822-223633.jpg Yep, it’s a LEGO figure! What can you tell me about it? (wait for a few answers) The think that I like about it is that it comes as a bunch of little pieces, and all these little pieces come together to make a person. Let’s see if we can put it together!

You might have one of the children put it together if you think that will work without too much frustration!

This little figure is made up of a bunch of parts, and I thought of it when I read the Gospel today.  Jesus is talking about being one with God. Jesus and God are like two pieces of a whole!

Even more than that, Jesus talks about us being parts of one whole with God! Without God and without each other we are like the pieces of the mini-figure. We certainly have some value, because we are usable pieces, but we are not complete and whole until we join with the others.

That’s kind of what being part of a church is all about. We are a bunch of pieces that have value, but we really become something special and complete when we are a whole church together!

20130822-223908.jpg + You are one with God+

20130822-224425.jpg God of all things, in you we are made whole. Encourage us to live in community with each other, and help us to live in ways that make those around us whole. Amen

FaithCross_Worship  Yes, this idea is stolen from a wedding idea, but it will work for this, too!  You are going to make a fingerprint tree of your congregation. If you have a big congregation you might need a couple of trees or more.

The idea is to have a bare tree on a big piece of paper, and each member of the congregation gets to use their fingerprint to make a leaf on the tree.  The markers or pens are then used to write a blessing or prayer next to their leaf.

Here is a picture of one.fingerprintree

What do you wonder about Jesus? Children’s sermon Easter 2, Year C, April 3rd, 2016

 

20130715-114218.jpg Invite the children forward. Have some bread, a cup/chalice of wine, a bowl of water and some index cards. Ask the children this, “If you could say one thing to Jesus or ask him one question what would it be?” (Accept all answers and even share your own!) Say, “yes, we have lots of questions don’t we? We’ve never really seen Jesus like the disciples did, and we don’t necessarily hear Jesus’ voice (remember that you may have some mystics among you who might hear Jesus!). And sometimes I have lots of questions too and I don’t always know who to talk to about what I’m wondering about Jesus and God. (Repeat some of their questions here.) What do we do with all of those questions? (Accept all answers.) Yes, we could talk to each other! Jesus breathed on the disciples and reminds them and us that we all have the breath of God in us and share that breath everywhere we go!

20130822-223633.jpg Thomas missed Jesus coming and breathing on the disciples and when he came back and heard about it, he had lots of questions. Jesus doesn’t mind our questions-as a matter of fact, Jesus came to Thomas to talk to him about his! Jesus knew that he wouldn’t be able to talk to all people so that’s why Jesus told the disciples and us that we are sent out with the love of Jesus to talk about our questions and wondering together and to look for Jesus everywhere around us. We might not think that we “see” Jesus like Thomas and the other disciples saw him, but Jesus gave us ways to see how much he loves us and is with us always, in our questions, in our wondering and when we feel God’s presence. Jesus said to look for him in bread and wine: which we do every week! When we eat and drink we know that Jesus fills us with what we need to be his hands and feet in the world. In water that is found in our baptismal font, we know that Jesus says we belong to God forever, no matter what. Jesus wants everyone to know that what God really wants is to love us and be with us. Even if we wonder if God is real or what God is doing. I have some blank index cards here. You can take one back to you seat and write or draw your questions for Jesus or what you wonder about Jesus. *During our worship station time, you can place them in the basket on the table and take with you a heart to remind you that Jesus loves you now and always. (If you don’t do worship stations, have index cards in the pews for all people. Invite them to place them in the offering plate.)

FaithCross_Worship Have index cards and pens on a table. Invite people to write their questions for God on them and either place them in a basket. (You could also have a large question mark on a piece of poster board hanging on a wall and people can write their questions on post-it notes to place on the question mark. The question mark could be inside a big heart.) Have heart stickers or paper hearts cut out for people to take as they leave their questions. Perhaps offer a time of wrestling with those questions in adult education, confirmation or some other forum.

20130822-223749.jpgJesus, we love you and we are so glad that you love us! Thank you for hearing our questions, our wondering and our doubts. Be with us as this community grows and learns from those questions. Send us out to listen and talk with other people who also wonder about you and may we share your love and peace with them. Amen.

20130822-223908.jpg +Peace be with you+

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+