Tag Archives: Epiphany

Children’s Sermon – 7th Sunday after Epiphany – Matthew 5:38-48

Prepare: The only thing you need is someone who is willing to let you hold their arms down.  It could be a child, youth or adult, but they need to be willing to play along (and not freaked out by having their arms held down!),

 Invite the children to gather as you normally do, but once they are all there make a grumpy face.  Kind of go back and forth between normal and grumpy a few times and see if you can get one of the kids to ask what you are doing.

 Yeah . . . I’m practicing my grumpy face.  See, I was reading the Gospel today and Jesus is talking about how we should love our enemies.  Jesus actually says that we should love people who  want to be mean to us and it made me grumpy!  Then I noticed something a little strange, my face got really tired of being grumpy.  I took a lot of effort to stay grumpy, like way more work than just being happy and content with the world.  But here’s the worst part – after I worked on being grumpy for a while, I noticed that it got easier.  So I started thinking about being grumpy, and it’s a lot of work to being with – harder than being happy or loving, but if you work at if for a while it gets easy and might even be a habit!

Let me show you what I mean, I need a volunteer (this would be where you need to have someone who’s arms you can hold down.  Alternatively, you could have the person use a door frame or even just the wall if that is a better option for you.) OK, this person here is going to work really, really hard at lifting her arms up to the side, and I am going to hold her arms in place.  (Hold the volunteers arms to their sides, or have them push out on a door frame).  Push really hard!  We are going to work at this for about 30 seconds.  Then, when I say so, I want you to just let your arms hang at your side. (If they do this right, their arms will *float* up away from their side because the muscles are now used to pushing out and up!)

See, first she tried really hard, and now it’s just a habit for her muscles to want to lift her arms!  So, if you practice being grumpy, like I was doing, eventually that is just what you act like all the time!  Jesus wants us to love our enemies because all people deserve love, even if we don’t like them.  And if we work hard at being loving then that becomes a habit, too!

 Jesus loves you even when you feel grumpy!

 Good and loving God, we know that we are called to love everyone, but it just so hard! Fill us with your love and give us the strength to share that love even with people who are hard to love. Amen

 For the worship station, simply invite people to repeat the arm experiment for themselves.  Give a little space for people to talk, reflect and giggle at the silly ways our bodies do things.

Children’s Sermon – 3rd Sunday after Epiphany, year C – Luke 4:14-21 (and Isaiah 61:1-2)

Prepare: You will need a bandage of some kind, like an ACE bandage, for the children’s sermon.  And bring a Bible with Isaiah 61:1-2 marked.

For the worship station you will need the mission statement of your congregation.  If you do not have one you can use the mission statement of your wider church organization.  Here is a link the ELCA Mission Statement page.

20130822-223520.jpg Gather the children and show them the bandage, asking them if they know what it is for. Once they answer ask if any of them have ever had to have a bandage?

20130822-223633.jpg  We will get back to the bandage in just a minute, but first I wanted to talk a little about what Jesus says in the Gospel story we hear today. Jesus is in his hometown synagogue (you might want to take a minute to explain that word – for most the children, equating it to a church will be enough!) and he decides that he is going to read from the scriptures. He chooses a couple of passages from a book called Isaiah and reads them. My favorite of the two passages he reads is Isaiah 61:1-2, which says this – (read)

Then he does a crazy thing, he says, “That person that Isaiah is describing? That’s me!”

Well, this makes the people who are there a little uncomfortable and upset, but we are going to save that part for next week! This week we are going to look at what Jesus said – remember that bandage?

One of the things that is in Isaiah, but not in the Gospel reading is that Jesus will, “Bind up the brokenhearted.” I love that phrase! It’s such a wonderful image of comfort and care. If i hurt my wrist I can use a bandage to bind it up and support it until it heals and is strong again. If I cut my finger I can bind it up with a bandage until the skin grows back and it can protect me again. But if my heart is broken what can I do? Jesus says that He is here to bind up our broken hearts so that they can heal and be strong again. He wraps them up and protects and comforts our hearts when we are brokenhearted! I love it!

20130822-223908.jpg Jesus comforts and protects your heart.

20130822-223749.jpg Loving God, bind up our brokenness with you love and care. Help our hearts to heal and be strong so that we can help bind up other hearts that are broken. Amen.

FaithCross_Worship Sometimes this passage in John is called “Jesus’ Mission Statement.” Invite your congregation to read it again, and then read your church’s mission statement. Open up a little time for interactive discussion about what is important in each statement. How is your church’s mission similar or different from Jesus? Should they be the same? Should they be different?

If your congregation is using the Weekly Devotion Inserts (here is a link to the one for this week!) ask them to get them out and work through the exercise on the back – make a mission statement for the week and post it somewhere it will be seen!