Tag Archives: love

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 & Worship Station – Nov. 13, 2016 – Luke 21:5-19

Prepare:  You will need something to distract you at least a couple times.  Be creative!  It can be someone coming into the room to ask you a question, or an alert on your phone.  Or you could just pull a “Dori” and keep losing track of what you were saying!  Just make sure you have something set up ahead of time.

20130822-223454.jpgThis is the part of the children’s message where you need the distractions.  Welcome the children as you usually do, but make sure you are interrupted/distracted in the middle. the distraction should be enough that you feel the need to start over.  Do this a couple times to get the point across (and because it’s fun to be silly!)

20130822-223633.jpgWait!  I’m getting distracted! You know what’s weird about that?  Not getting distracted is exactly what the Gospel story is about today!

I would add that the little distractions that just happened to me are nothing like what Jesus is describing, but they did keep me from talking to you, and that’s what I’m here for right now. The disciples waiting for something big from God, and they figured that Jesus – being who he was – would have some inside knowledge about it.  And maybe he did, but he basically says, “Don’t worry about it!” All kinds of crazy things are going to happen in your life. People will be mean, people will be nice. Good things will happen and bad things will happen. But none of these things is the end of world.

You just need to do your best to stay focused on the good things that are coming, and be working to help everyone be part of the good that is to come.

Maybe it wasn’t a satisfying answer for the disciples, or for us either, but it is an encouragement to us to keep spreading God’s love to everyone we meet. No matter how distracted we get by what is going on around us.

20130822-223749.jpgGood and patient God, We get so caught up in the distractions of life. Forgive us for missing out on things that we should have done, and help us to keep our hearts and minds focused on your love and our love for each other. Amen.

20130822-223908.jpgGod is focused on you!

 

FaithCross_Worship

You are going to make a distraction cover-up wall!

Find a bunch of stickers that say, “God Loves You,” or that have other Christian images on them. (Look for a Christian Book store or check Hobby Lobby).  Then hang a long piece of art paper on the wall, or put it over a table, whichever works if you space.

Put out some pens, crayons, markers, etc, and invite people to write or draw the thing that most distracts them from being engaged with God’s love.

Have a container of stickers our so that they can cover the distraction with God’s love!

Children’s Sermon – Luke 13:10-17- August 21st, 2016

Prepare: Make a list of rules on a big piece of paper. Maybe something like this (but feel free to adjust for your own style and circumstance).

  1. No food in the living room
  2. Athletic shoes only in the gym
  3. Don’t talk to strangers

20130822-223520.jpg As the children gather make them do something silly before they can sit down (or otherwise be ready for the children’s sermon).  Something like you have to turn around 3 times, hop on one foot and high-five your neighbor before you can sit down! Be ready to make up a story that goes with your “rules for sitting down.”

20130822-223633.jpg I’m really glad that we all did those things before we sat down! Do you know why? Because they are rules! And they all mean something.  We turned around three times because one time I was going to sit down and there was a snake where I was going to sit, so I always turn around three times to check . . . but I guess that’s not really a problem here, and I didn’t really look for the snake, either.  But the hopping, that we do because one time I stubbed my toe on the couch before I sat down, so I always do that before I sit to remember not to stub my toe again . . . but I guess there’s not really a couch here.  But the high-five, that one is important because I was playing a game with a bunch of people once and we did that when we all got back to the circle . . . but I guess we are not really playing that game right now . . . come to think of it, while those rules for sitting down all had a good reason, they don’t really make sense here, do they?

Huh, well, I brought some other rules that totally make sense and we should never break, ever. No matter what! The first one is “No food in the living room.”  Well, unless your home sick, then you can eat in the living room. But the second one, “Athletic shoes only in the gym,” that one we never break. Oh, unless it’s awards night, and it’s in the gym, then we should wear nice shoes. OK, the last one is unbreakable for sure. “Don’t talk to strangers.” That one we never, ever break! Except, it’s probably good to say hi to the crossing guard even if you don’t know him, and you should order food from that server at the restaurant . . . OK, sometimes we break that one, too!

The thing is that most good rules are there to keep us safe, or protect precious things, or help us to live better. And we should always do our best to pay attention to those rules, but we also need to understand what’s going on around us. Jesus breaks a rule in the Gospel reading today, he works on the Sabbath.  He heals a woman who is bent over and in pain, and he does it because she is right in front of him and needs his help. He knows the rule about the Sabbath, he knows that he is breaking it, but he also knows that it is more important at that moment to care for the woman in front of him.  He just like the rules I talked about earlier, the best plan is to follow the rules, but sometimes caring for people needs to come first.

20130822-223908.jpgMay God’s truth and love shine in you today.

20130822-224425.jpg Good and loving God, we know that good rules are there to keep us safe and healthy, and we give thanks for that! Help us to also be loving and caring when we need to be so that we can show your love in the world. Amen

FaithCross_Worship Golden Rule Chain!  Create a space where people can share a time when they were treated with love and caring even though it was against the rules – OR – when they treated someone with love and caring when they *should* have just walked away.

This can be a popcorn prayer, or a time of open discussion, or you can have people tweet prayers to the pastor.  You name it!

You could even make and art project out of it!  Get a big piece if banner paper, and a bunch of markers.  Out line a rainbow lightly with pencil and encourage people to write their “Golden Rule” moment on the rainbow in the correct color for where they write. (Don’t get too picky, it will be cool no matter what.)

Children’s Sermon – July 31, 2016 – Luke 12:13-21

Prepare: You will need a “treasure chest” of some kind.  It can be an actual chest, or as simple as a little box.  It doesn’t need to have anything in it.

20130822-223520.jpgAs the children gather, set your treasure chest down carefully in the middle of the group, and ask them what they think is in it.

20130822-223633.jpg

Those are some good ideas! I think that I know what kinds of things you would keep in your treasure chest now.

In the Gospel we hear today, Jesus tells a story about a rich man who has so much stuff that he builds big buildings just to put stuff in.  He is very proud of what he has accomplished and of all his stuff, but he dies at the end of the story! Who gets all the stuff then? I think that is pretty interesting, but not as interesting as the question that started Jesus telling a story (because, you know that when you ask Jesus a question he is going to tell you a story for the answer, right?).

I guess it’s not really a question, but a request.  A man asks Jesus to tell his brother to split the family fortune with him.  Basically he wants half of his brother’s stuff. I think that Jesus is trying to tell this man that he is worried about the wrong things, or that he isn’t paying attention to what is really important. The man seems to be willing to make his brother man just so he can have more money, or animals – more stuff. Now, I wasn’t there, so I don’t know if the man liked his brother, or didn’t like his brother, but it seems to me that Jesus is telling him to stop focusing on stuff, because things can get used up, be stolen or lost, and don’t last forever. Gathering things up in a box is just about as good as having an empty box (You can open the empty box here if you want.) What we should treasure is people! We should care for each other and use our wealth to help each other, not store it up and hide it away.

20130822-223908.jpgYou are God’s treasure

20130822-223749.jpgLoving God, you treasure us and care for us. Thank you! Help us to treasure the people around us more than we treasure our stuff. Amen

FaithCross_WorshipFor a worship station, invite your congregation to think about the people that they treasure.  It doesn’t have to be someone in the room, they can even be friends and loved ones who have died.  Give them a minute to call those people to mind and then offer a “popcorn” prayer where people can name the people they treasure aloud or silently.

If naming people in prayer our loud is not part of you tradition you may want to have a few “plants” in the congregation to get the prayer started.

 

Children’s Sermon – July 10, 2016 – Luke 10:25-37

Prepare: Make a poster (or a use a flip chart) that says “Who is my neighbor” across the top.  If you are doing a worship station, either make the poster two-sided (same on the back) or make two posters.  You will need one for the children’s sermon, and a different one for the congregation.

20130822-223454.jpgInvite the children to come forward with a request for help.  Something like, “I need some of the smartest people in the room to help me answer this question, so please send all the children up here!”

20130822-223633.jpgHave your poster ready to go, and read it to the children. In today’s story about Jesus, someone asks him a pretty easy question, and, to be honest, I think that Jesus just over-thinks it. He launches into this long story about a traveler who gets attacked by robbers, and there are priests and leaders and people we don’t like . . . I just think it’s a mess!

So, let’s see if we can make sense of this question and maybe get a clearer answer than Jesus gave us.  Who is your neighbor?

(write their ideas on the poster as they say them – you can, and should, repeat them for all the people to hear. Go with the flow here, but once things start to calm down, or it seems like a good time to add some complexity go on to the next part.  You’re going to have to ad-lib a little depending on what they have said, what they say, etc.)

OK, so a neighbor is someone who lives next to you? What about across the street? OK, so what about the neighbor of my neighbor, is that my neighbor, too? I have a friend who lives about two blocks away . . . is she my neighbor? What about her neighbors, are they mine, too?

Here’s a tough question – what if all of these people look different from me? What if they have curly hair? Or different colored skin than me? Or what if they are really short, or really tall? What if they like tuna and I think it’s gross?

Boy, the deeper we get into this neighbor question the more difficult it is to answer!  Maybe Jesus was right to tell a story rather than trying to give a simple answer.  See, the story that Jesus tells about neighbors taking care of each other doesn’t put neighbors in a specific place – not next to you, or down the street. Jesus’ story doesn’t make sure that neighbors look like us, or think like us. Jesus’ story even says that sometimes the person we think should be a good neighbor isn’t a very good neighbor at all!

Maybe what Jesus is trying to say is that our neighbors aren’t just the people who live near us, or look like us, but instead they are anyone and everyone who needs our love and care.

20130822-223749.jpgLoving God, thank you for being our neighbor and for giving us people who love us a care for us. Help us to be loving and caring neighbors to all the people we meet. Amen.

20130822-223908.jpgGod’s love binds up your heart.

 

 

FaithCross_WorshipFor the worship station, set up a prayer station around you “neighbor” poster and encourage people to think about the people who they don’t want to be neighbors with.

Following Starts with Love Children’s Sermon Luke 9:51-62 June 26, 2016

20130822-223520.jpgGather children to you. Who has ever played follow the leader? Yeah, it is a good game where one person leads others around and they follow the actions of the lead person. Which is easier for you, to be the leader or the follower?

20130822-223633.jpgI have a different kind of following game to try. Who will try this with me? (get a volunteer) We are going to sit (or stand) facing each other with our palms in the air. Now I am going to do some simple actions with my hands and _____ (name) is going to try to follow me.

How about you try–turn to someone sitting next to you have try out being the other person’s mirror (if you do not have time for this, encourage them to try this out during an open worship time, communion or after worship or at home) Which was easier to do? How did it feel to lead? How did it feel to follow?

We just read about Jesus telling his disciples, his friends, to follow him. They are worried because some people do not like them, a whole village in fact has sent all of them away. And they are worried because Jesus wants them to leave their family and homes and friends behind and follow him. Just like following the leader can be difficult in our little game, following Jesus may not always be easy. Sometimes people don’t like us, sometimes people are afraid of us, sometimes we are not sure what exactly we should do as followers of Jesus. When it’s difficult or we are unsure, we can remember that following Jesus starts with love. When the followers got messed up I noticed some giggling and then the leaders tried again. This happened in the game because we knew we were playing and we care about the people around us. Following Jesus begins with knowing that we can care about others and that we are first and foremost loved by God and then sent to share that love.

20130822-224425.jpgJesus, help us to follow you. Help us to know how to begin with love and end with love. Help us remember your love for us goes anywhere. Amen

20130822-223908.jpgGod in my head

God in my heart

God on my left

God on my right
FaithCross_WorshipSet up a space where people can try out the mirror game. Have a large mirror available with markers and let people write down prayers about following God.

Attention of Compassion Luke 7:11-17 3rd Sunday after Pentecost June 5, 2016

 

You will need a partner for this who is good at ‘not paying attention’ until the last noise. They could even be acting as if they are sad or very distracted.

20130822-223520.jpgGather the children with you. Have your partner off to the side looking away. Start to welcome them and tell them the story and then interrupt yourself and say, “oh, ______ (name), hey, come join us! I want you to hear this story.”  Person should look around but not turn towards you or the person can just keep his/her head down.

Hhhmmm… kids, I know this person has been kind of distracted and even sad lately… I think hearing from Jesus could help… could one of you go tap ____ on the shoulder and see if he/she will come over?

Huh, it’s like ____doesn’t even hear us… maybe we should get louder. Come up with a loud noise you can do together like clapping or snapping.

Hhhmmm… being loud did not work… being annoying did not work… how can we show _____ our love? Take suggestions. Then go over to the person and either give a nice pat or hug and say we care about you, will you come sit with us. The person can look up in surprise even and say thank you and come over.

20130822-223633.jpgWhat worked in getting _____ to come sit with us? Showing some love. Or another word is compassion. Compassion is when we see and know someone else is having a difficult time or feeling bad and we have a desire to do something, to help them. Jesus today in the gospel saw a woman who was weeping because her son had died. He had big compassion for her and even though he had all these people crowded around him and wanting his attention, the woman did not notice him right away. Jesus went to her and said, stop crying–which is what got her attention right away! She wanted to see what Jesus would do. Jesus healed her son, brought him back to life. The Bible tells us he had compassion for her–he felt for her and he could not help but take action. It is another story of God’s big love for people! That our feelings, our grief, our life, our death are all things that God loves brings to life.

20130822-223749.jpgGod of big compassion, give us eyes and ears and hearts to see those around us who need your big love. Fill our hearts and eyes and ears and minds with your big love so we remember you are filled with compassion for us too. Amen

20130822-223908.jpgMay you have and give compassion in Jesus’ name +

 

FaithCross_WorshipAt the end of the children’s message in the pews or tables around your sanctuary have small paper hearts. Ask people to write the name of a person, place, or issue that they have compassion for on the heart. Have another very large heart cut out of paper that all the other hearts can fit into. Or an outline of a heart on a wall or large mural. Ask people to place their hearts inside the big heart. Make a sign over the big hear that says God’s Big Compassion and Love Heart for All. As people add a heart they can lift up their passion and compassion in prayer.

Children’s Sermon Dance of God’s Love Trinity Sunday Year C

Preparation: Pick a song that you know well and/or your children knows well and that you can dance to. Some ideas: Lord of the Dance, Dance with Me, Canticle of the Turning, Marching in the Light of God–do the dancing verse!

You will also need two willing dance partners to start.

20130822-223520.jpgGather the children up front with you. Say, “Have you ever played the game framer in the dell?” Explain the game. It’s a game with a song that goes “the farmer in the dell, farmer in the dell, heigh ho the merry-oh the farmer in the dell” and all the kids stand in a circle and dance and sing the song. During the verses, one kid at time they are pulled out of the circle until there is only one person left.

Well I have another dance for you today. Invite your partners to stand up with you and hold hand sin a circle. Start singing your song and dancing in a circle together. Sing one or two lines and then take the hands of a few more kids. Sing some more and then invite them all to join you. You may need to drop hands at this point and just dance together. Now invite the congregation to join you by standing and dancing.

(For example, if you use Marching in the Light of God you can sing half the first verse, get a few kids and finish. Then get them to all stand up and say we are singing  in the light of God and then invite the congregation to do the dance verse. You can modify for time or size of congregation. You can also pick a shorter song, like Alleluia-Praise ye the Lord or Love , Love, Love, that’s what it’s all about. )

OR go up front with your dance partners before you invite the children up. Start singing your song and dancing with the other two (so there are three total, cause.. trinity 🙂 Then get some other kids to join you. Then invite the whole group up front to join the song. Then invite the congregation to dance and sing with you.

20130822-223633.jpgWhen the song is over have everyone sit down. Say, “God’s dance is different than the farmer in the dell dance, isn’t it? How is it different?” Take answers and then say, “Yes, see, we talk today about one way we can think about how we see God, as a trinity, a three in one. There are many ways God shows us where God is and who God is and there are three that we talk  in the trinity–God the father or creator, God the son in Jesus, and God the Holy Spirit. That is why I started with 3 people dancing. And God does not stop there, because the Holy Spirit wants to bring everyone in to know Jesus, to know God’s love, to know that God is everywhere they go, so it’s kind of like a dance where all are invited to participate with God and that is what sends God’s love out to the world. Just like we added people, the Holy Spirit’s love keeps getting added.

20130822-223749.jpgGod of the dance, thank you for showing yourself to us. Help us to dance with you and bring in more and more people to your love. Amen

 

20130822-223908.jpgMay you know and do God’s dance of love in your heart.

 

FaithCross_WorshipDance of God Footprint Wreath: Have cutouts of a footprint or have people trace their feet and have some done and glue or taped onto a cut out circle or an actual wreath. You will be making a wreath out of the feet. Instructions say: Write a way you can join in God’s dance on the foot and then put your foot on the wreath as you say a prayer to join in God’s dance.