Prepare: You really don’t need anything for the children’s sermon, but if you want to have something (I find it works better to have something to show), find something that says “hope” on it.
Those are fun things to hope for! I wanted to think about hope today because I hear “hope” in the Gospel today. The Gospel story that we hear today is often called the Beatitudes. There are whole books written about this little story in the Bible. People wondering who Jesus was talking about and why. People wanting to point out who is on each side of the sayings – these people are poor, so Jesus must be talking about them. Or, when I’m sad I know that I am one who is mourning.
I hear many of those things in this story, too! But I also hear a message of hope. At different times in my life I think that I have been on both sides of all of these sayings. I have been merciful, but I have been mean, too. I have been poor, and I’ve had more than I needed. I have been happy and sad. I have been put down because of what I believe, and I have put others down for what they believe. When I think about it like that I start to see this a little differently.
No matter who you are, no matter what is going on, there is always room for hope. Hope doesn’t always mean that you are going to get what you want – hope is more like a sparkling of something that keeps you going. Jesus gives us hope that when we feel like we are at the bottom – under a pile of worry and sadness, we can still rise up out of it.
God of hope, be with us when everything seems to be going wrong. Give us hope to see a better way forward. Joyful God, be with us when everything seems to be going right and help us remember your love for the times when we need hope the most. Amen.
What do you really hope for? Ask the congregation this question and offer a chance to put into prayer. One way to do this is to have paper handy for everyone, invite them to write their hopes on the paper, then collect it and read it as part of the prayers of the church.
You could also form prayer circles if you have room and time! Have people gather in groups of 4 to 8 (no more than that!) and offer hopes within the small group.