Tag Archives: forgiveness

Children’s Sermon – Luke 12:49-56 – August 14, 2016

Prepare: Bring something with you that is a reminder or how you relieve stress for yourself (ideally a healthy stress relief!).  For example, I like to run or walk when I am stresses out, so I might bring my running shoes.

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As you gather the children ask them if they have every felt like they cannot do or say anything right. Like everything they do or say makes someone else upset or gets them in trouble.

20130822-223633.jpgIn the Gospel reading today we hear what seems like a pretty upset Jesus.  He even says that he is under stress! There are some clues in the story about what is causing Jesus to be upset, but we really can’t be sure exactly what it was because we weren’t there and, more important, it wasn’t happening to us.  And even being there or being the person who is upset doesn’t always make it easier to understand. 

I don’t know about you, but there have been plenty of times in my like when I have been stressed out and upset and said some pretty strange or mean things, and I really had no idea what was making me so upset. Have you ever felt like that? And sometimes its not just one thing that is upsetting me, it’s a bunch of things. I think that might be what’s going on with Jesus, too. He know that he is on his way to Jerusalem to be arrested and die, he can hear people around him arguing about who he is and what his stories mean, he has even told them what is going on and they still don’t get it!

Just to be clear, being upset is OK. Being stressed out sometimes is normal, too. Jesus seems to be able to blow off a little steam and still work to guide people with a good story, but what do we do? I brought my running shoes with me, because that is what I like to do when I feel stressed out, or upset, or just overwhelmed with what is going on.  I put on my shoes and head out of a run. I know that whatever is going on, no matter how bad it seems, Jesus is with me, and Jesus understands what it’s like to feel like everything is going wrong.

20130822-223908.jpgJesus loves you and understands you.

20130822-223749.jpgLoving and understanding God, thank you for all the relationships that we have. Help us to love the people around us and to understand that when things go wrong it’s OK, and that you are still there with us. Amen.

FaithCross_WorshipMake a wall of healthy stress relief!  Use this as a chance to create some good social groups in your congregation, or as a way to figure out some interests.  Maybe you have a church full of runners and don’t know it. Maybe you have the makings of a chess club! Engage people in a conversation about stress relief and interests that might help to build community.  If could be written thing, or a discussion, or make a big banner. Whatever you think will engage the congregation in fun community activities.

Children’s Sermon – June 19, 2016, Galatians 3:23-29

Prepare:  You will need some arbitrary way to divide people up.  Something simple, like a jar with two different colored beads in it so that you can divide the group into “red” beads and “blue” beads (or whatever colors, items, etc you have). For the worship station you need a baptismal font that everyone can get to, and a sign that says, “Child of you God, you have been sealed with the Holy Spirit and marked with the Cross of Christ forever.”

FaithCross Have you jar of beads (or whatever, but I will use beads in this write-up!) ready for the children as they gather.  Have each child take just one bead.  It doesn’t matter what color.

20130715-114218.jpg Hi!  How is everyone doing today? It is sooooooo good to see all of you and I am so happy that you are here. (Pick one child and start talking mostly to them.) How are you?  Are you having a good weekend? (generally just making small talk – then . . . ) Hey, can I ask you what color bead you got? (It doesn’t matter what color they have, you have to immediately distrust that child!) Whoa! a red bead! Uh . . . could you move over there? Yeah, just not by me. In fact, do any of the rest of you have red beads?  Really? Yeah, I need you to move over there, too.  People with blue beads are fine, but NOT red beads.

Alright, now that we have the sorted let’s take a look the Bible story today.  This story is part of a really long letter that we call Galatians. I just need to review it a little . . . let me see  . . . the law was our discipline . . . justified by faith . . . uh huh . . . uh oh.

So, I was reading this and it says that we are all children of God.  Doesn’t matter what we look like or where we are from. God loves us for who we are and we should do our best to do the same.  

Part of what this means is that it doesn’t matter what labels we put on people – cool, nerd, silly, too serious – God sees us all the same, as beloved children.

I guess that means I can’t really be mean to those people over there just because they happen to have a red bead.  Come back over here and let’s all pray together!

20130822-224425.jpg Loving God, you care for us and love no matter what we look like, where we are from, or what we like or dislike. Thank you for your unconditional love! Teach us to love and care for each other with that same unconditional love. Amen.

 

20130822-223908.jpgYou are a beloved child of God

FaithCross_Worship Invite people to come up to the font to remember that they are God’s child, too! They are welcome to make the sign of the cross on their own forehead, but even better if you can encourage them to make the sign of the cross on each other’s heads!  Invite them to use the baptismal blessing that you put on the sign.

God Guide Our Path Luke 1: 68-79 Advent 2 Dec. 6th, 2015

20130822-223454.jpgHave a piece of rope or twine that you can lay on the ground (you will want lots of it as it will be a moving “path”). Have the children stand next to the rope on the ground. Explain that this will be our path for our time together. We will follow the rope as it moves around our worship space. Start moving the rope and have the children walk toward the baptismal font. Stop them there. Say, “When we bring a baby or a person to the font we are declaring God’s promises of love and grace. We say that God promises to make us new each and every day. We promise to teach each other about God and God’s love. We light a candle to remind us that Jesus lights our path in life.” (Light a candle to take with the group.) Say, “Let’s take this candle with us.”

Move the rope path to the table. Say, “When we gather for communion we know that Jesus promised to be with us forever and forgives all of the things that we do that hurt each other. We know that Jesus rescued us from ever being apart from God ever again. Let’s keep going.” Move the rope to the pulpit or to where there is a Bible (even on a chair or “staged” is fine). Have the children sit down and give another adult (preferably one that will sit with you and the children) the candle.

20130822-223633.jpg Pick up the Bible and say, “One of the stories that we read in the Bible today about a man named Zechariah. After being silent for nearly nine months he spoke. And when he spoke, he told the people how God will lead us on our path, send Jesus to be our light and will forgive our sins and show us love forever. We are in the church season of Advent-where we focus on how God will always give us what we need to be with God forever. God sent Jesus to be on the path with us and we have each other to tell each other about God’s love every day! This is a path that we can invite all people to be on because it’s a path of love, mercy, forgiveness and hope. This is the path to peace and love with all people! God invites all people to God’s path!

FaithCross_Worship If you have a portable labyrinth, have that available in a space. In a basket at the entrance, have a piece of paper with the words: peace and light written on it for people to meditate on as they walk the labyrinth. In the center have a tea light candle for them to pick up. Have a table where they can place their candle and light it. If you do not have a labyrinth, on a large table have some sort of “path” (either drawn on butcher paper, or made from sand, rocks, or whatever your creativity brings forth!) where people can place a candle and light it. Have the pieces of paper shaped as a heart with the words: peace and light written on them for meditation and prayer.

20130822-224425.jpg God of light, you guide our feet on the path. We will follow Jesus and walk the way of peace for all of creation. In Jesus name, the light of the world, amen.

20130822-223908.jpg+Walk in the Light of Jesus+

Children’s Sermon – 21st Sunday after Pentecost Year B, Mark 10:35-45

Prepare: You will need to be near a baptismal font with water in it for the children’s sermon.

For the worship station you will need paper, washable markers and a bucket of water (maybe a towel, too!)

20130822-223520.jpgHave the children gather around the font and ask if any of them remember being baptized, or if any of them remember the last time someone was baptized in your church.

20130822-223633.jpgThe Gospel text for today is about a bunch of things, but I caught Jesus talking about baptism again! Baptism comes up a bunch with Jesus, but this time is just a little different. Two of his friends, James and John, ask Jesus for a very high honor – they wanted to sit with him as he ruled over the world. Well, again, this story is about a lot of different things, but Jesus says to them, “Hey, if you can deal with the same Baptism I am going to go through then that will be enough.” We think of baptism as a beautiful ritual with water and words and prayer. Jesus had that, too, but what if Jesus is talking about something else?

When we talk about life with Christ we often say that we are baptized into his death, or we say in baptism we die to sin and are raised to new life in Christ. Jesus could be talking about what is coming up in his life, his own death and resurrection! He could be talking about the Easter story! When we baptize people, one of the things that we talk about is that we die to sin, and are raised up out of the water as new sisters and brothers in Christ. We are made part of the family of God, pretty cool!

In this story, Jesus  is telling us that we need to let the sinful parts of ourselves go, we need to let them die so that we can be reborn in Christ’s love.

20130822-223749.jpgLoving and living God, we come to you seeking love and understanding. We come to you to live out our baptismal promises. We come to you with joy in our hearts at the new life you give us in the cleansing water of Baptism. Amen

20130822-223908.jpg(make a cross on all their heads with water from the font!) You are a clean and new child of God!

 

 

FaithCross_WorshipFor the worship station, set up an area where people can write down something that keeps them from God. It can be a confession, or a doubt, or an illness, or anger, or anything!

Have the bucket (or basin) near by full of water and let them say a brief prayer, then dunk the paper in the water and wash the words away.

You will want to test this BEFORE worship to make sure that your maker/paper combination is going to release the ink into the water.

 

 

 

Children’s Sermon for the Second Sunday of Easter, April 12, 2015 – John 20:19-31

Preparation: For the Children’s sermon you will not need anything.

For the worship station you will need a large bowl or jar (even better if you can take all this outside and use a large metal bucket and burn the paper that will be put in it), many small pieces of paper and pens or pencils to write or draw with.

20130822-223454.jpg Ask the children, “Have you ever been really mad at someone? Or has someone ever done something to you that made you feel sad or hurt?” Wait for a few replies. Then ask, “What did you do about it?”

20130822-223633.jpg I want to read you something from a different translation of the Bible – this is from a translation called The Message, by Eugene Peterson.  John 20:23 in this translation says, “If you forgive someone’s sins, they’re gone for good. If you don’t forgive sins, what are you going to do with them?”

That got me thinking about this whole reading today about Jesus and the disciples. We often focus on Thomas when we read this story – maybe because we don’t want to be like Thomas, or maybe because we feel blessed that we have not seen and we still believe. I want to think about this a different way – how do you think that Thomas felt? How did he feel about Jesus dying? How did he feel about his friends claiming to see Jesus when he had not? If they were telling the truth, how did he feel about Jesus appearing the them and not to him? Did he feel hurt? Angry? Sad?

We will never really know, but think about those times when you are hurt or sad or angry.  It can be really difficult to let those feelings go, and then we hold on to whatever it was that made us feel that way. We are slow to forgive, and we hold onto the sins – then what do we do with them?

Jesus appearing to Thomas opened a path for Thomas to forgive and to let go. Something that we all need at some point.

20130822-223749.jpg Loving God, in this season of Easter we celebrate your victory over sin and death, we rejoice in the freedom of your love and mercy. Teach us to forgive and be merciful so that we can be free from the weight of sin and grudges. Amen

20130822-223908.jpg God’s mercy and love set you free!

FaithCross_Worship This is a twist on the idea of writing confessions on paper and burning them  This time invite people to write things that they need to forgive on paper.  People are welcome to keep their paper as a reminder to go and forgive, or to release their paper into the bucket or jar so that they can let the sin go.

Set up a station with a large bowl, bucket or jar (or, as I said earlier – a way to collect and then burn the paper safely!). You can leave paper and pens at the station or distribute them around the worship space.

Children’s Sermon Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Matthew 18:21-35, Sept 14, 2014

Prepare: You really don’t need any items for this, but you do need people!  You are going to need about 6 people minimum to make this work.  If you are in a place where that might be difficult to do with just children, make sure that you recruit a few helpers!

20130822-223520.jpgAsk the children if they know what forgiveness is and take a few answers.

FaithCross Today Jesus is talking about forgiveness, but not just how often to forgive, but whom to forgive.  The whole conversation starts with Peter asking how many times you should forgive, but Jesus takes it one step further . . . or maybe many, many steps further.  Jesus tells a story about a king who forgives a servant, which is great for the servant! But that same servant won’t forgive a fellow servant in the same way. The king gets mad and punishes the servant. There are all kinds of things to talk about in this story, but the one that really catches my attention is that the servant stops the forgiveness. The king starts something good, he forgives the servant, but the servant doesn’t pass it on.

Let’s try to demonstrate this. First I need a helper. Now, all of you are going to raise your hands. When my helper touches your shoulder you can lower your hands, but if I touch your should you have to put them back up. Ready? Go!

Let this go on for a minute or so to demonstrate how the helper will never really get anywhere if you are working against her/him.

Ok, this is getting us know where! Just like in the story, the servant worked against the king’s forgiveness and everyone suffered. Let’s change the game so that when you get to put your hands down you then touch your neighbor’s shoulder so they can put their hands down.  Ready? Go.

Wow, that when much faster! Now think about how nice it would be to live in a world where we all forgave each other and just let things go!

FaithCross_Worship For the worship station, the idea above gets taken to the whole congregation. If you have time, have the congregation “forgive” each other one at a time just like the children did, then do the next step.  If you don’t have much time just do the next step.

Next, have each person “forgive” two other people.  Start with one person touching one person’s shoulder so they can lower their hands, then the person who just lowered their hands touches two shoulders. Then each of those people touch two shoulders and so on. See how much faster it is when we forgive many others, not just one other!

20130822-224425.jpg   Forgiving God, through the grace of Jesus you forgive us no matter what we do! Help us to be forgiving people, even when it is difficult to do.  Amen

20130822-223908.jpg  Be at peace in God’s forgiveness.

 

~GB

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