Preparation: Have some party items available: balloons (use with caution as they can be choking hazards), party hats, streamers, maybe even noise makers, etc.
Gather the children to where you have children’s time. As they come up have someone help you divide them into two groups. Doesn’t matter how-randomly is best! Invite one group of children to come and sit with you just off to the side and tell the other children to just to sit on the opposite side of the area.
Say to the group with you: “Yay! You are all invited to my party this morning! Here have a balloon, a hat, etc. We are going to have fun!” If a child from the other group tries to come over or even looks over tell them, “I am sorry this party is for this group only over here. Just go and sit back over there.” Don’t spend too long with this one group but then say, “You know, I kind of feel bad about that group over there. Should we invite them to come over here?” Hopefully, they will say yes!
Say to the group who was not at the party, “How did it feel to not be part of the fun? (Accept all answers) Say to the other group: How did it feel to be part of the group having fun? Did you think that it wasn’t fair to the other children? Why? Today, Jesus tells us that God invites everyone to God’s party and to be a part of God’s people. Even the people we may not like or even know, God loves and knows. God wants us to remember that God not only loves us and cares for us but cares for all people no matter who they are, what they look like, or how they act. That can be hard for us as we like to hang out with friends who are just like us. Have you ever gone to school on the first day and not known anyone in the classroom? Well, did someone talk to you? Accept all answers and if it’s no talk about how that felt and if they would remember that and talk to a new child at school or in the neighborhood. It can be hard but God tells us that even we might feel on the outside of friends or groups God is there and if we think we are the inside of friends or groups God is there. We can work to not have separate groups like we did here this morning but try to make just one big group which is more fun anyway!
Dear God, you love us all and want us all to be part of your party. Help us to remember that you are with us when we feel alone and when we don’t. Show us how to invite our friends to be a part of you. In Jesus name, amen.