Tag Archives: theology of the cross

Growing in God’s Kingdom Lent 3, Year C Feb, 28th, 2016

20130822-222604.jpgHave a plant to show the children. Gather them around the plant and ask them what plants need to grow and flower or if a vegetable plant to grow vegetables/fruit. Accept all answers. Affirm that plants need water, sunshine, care and oxygen to grow and be healthy. Plants need people to care for them and we need God! We are continuing to learn about the Lord’s Prayer and this week we are talking about how God want us all to be healthy and grow, which is the part of the meaning of “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.” God is always at work with us!

20130822-223633.jpg Jesus tells the people a story about a tree that doesn’t seem to want to grow fruit. A man wanted to just cut it down and get rid of it since it wasn’t doing its job of growing fruit. But the gardener asked to give the tree more time, wondered if the tree needed more love, more food, water and sun. Trees want to grow and give fruit, just as plants do, just as we want to grow up taller and stronger so that we can do more and more things! But sometimes, like with the tree, that doesn’t happen exactly how we think it should. It might take longer than we want or we might need to wait, which is VERY HARD! What kinds of things do you want to do when your bigger? *Accept all answers (dangerous here I know!). Affirm that there are MANY things that as children they can do now, but some that need to wait until they are an adult.
God wants you to do ALL of the wonderful things that God gave you talent and ability to do! To play piano, to play soccer, to read, to cure diseases, to love all people. God promises to give you all the time that you need to grow and be healthy! God wants you to grow, learn, make mistakes and try again! You will give to God’s world in so many ways! God’s kingdom and God’s will is all about all of God’s people and creation growing and working together to be healthy and whole.

FaithCross_WorshipJesus used the current events in Jerusalem to point out that God doesn’t punish but that our world and lives are filled with hazards. Jesus reminds the people and us that in all times and circumstances to turn to God. Turn to God in prayer, in actions, in thoughts and in love. Have a table with this week’s current newspapers, weekly magazines (such as Time), scissors, tape, and pens. Have a large poster board cross available. Invite people to cut out a headline or a short article to tape to the cross. They may write a short prayer by the headline or article that offers God’s presence and love into that situation.

20130822-223749.jpg God of life, you give us what we need to grow, learn, pray, love and bear fruit. May we offer this patience to all people that we meet. We pray for all people and places that are in sorrow and wonder why death and suffering occur. May they feel your peace and comfort. Thy kingdom come and thy will be done. In Jesus name, amen.

20130822-223908.jpg +Grow and bear fruit!+

 

Children’s Sermon, Matthew 16: 21-28, August 31st, 2014, Year A, Pentecost 12

20130822-222604.jpg Have a musical instrument that you don’t know how to play or a hand held game of some sort. As you invite the children forward be attempting to play the instrument or game. Talk about how hard it is to learn and maybe you should just give up. Maybe it’s not worth it or important if it’s hard. It would be easier to put a song on and just pretend to play or to only do what you know. What would be the easy way out?

Ask the children about something at school, or learning something that is hard. What is it that makes it hard? When was a time that you did something hard but then found out that you learned, or it became important in some way? (Accept all answers). Say, “yes, we all have hard things that we have to do sometimes.”

20130822-223633.jpg Today Peter and Jesus are talking about hard things. Jesus says that he is going to die but be raised again. Death is a VERY hard thing isn’t it? If your friend told you that they were going to die, you would say what Peter said, “No that can’t be true!” But Jesus told Peter that this very hard thing that Jesus was going to do is the exact thing that needed to happen for something better-God raising Jesus from the dead would proclaim to the whole world that nothing separates us from God-not even death! Jesus would take this hard and sad thing and point to the promises of God to be with us always and to love us always. The cross is a very hard thing, in Jesus’ time it was about death. We have crosses all around us here in church, we wear necklaces or bracelets with crosses to remind us that Jesus is with us in the very hard things and will never leave us. God’s love is there when things are easy and when things are hard like: (school, fighting with friends or siblings, death, etc.) That is that is the promise from God and so the cross tells us of that promise. Jesus doesn’t want us to keep that promise to ourselves, even when it might be hard or scary to share God’s love. How can we share God’s love in the midst of hard times with our family or friends?

20130822-224425.jpg God, you promise to be with us always. When things are hard or easy, you are there. When we feel alone or happy, you are there. Thank you for sending Jesus to show us your love and mercy. Amen.

FaithCross_Worship For a worship station around this fairly difficult text you can have some cross necklaces (kits are at craft stores) for the children (of all ages!) to make. Have some cardstock with cross foam stickers and cross templates for tracing to make cards to hand out to people who need to be reminded that God is with them in hard times. Take them to a rehab facility or a hospital.

20130822-223908.jpg +Jesus is with you always+

Matthew 14: 22-33, “Jesus helps us always,” Children’s sermon, Pentecost 9, Year A, Aug. 10th, 2014

 

20130822-223520.jpg (Before worship ask a child to help you out at children’s sermon time. If you have an exercise ball, bring that to worship.) Call the children forward and have the child helping you come up where all can see him/her. Ask, “What are some things that you can do by yourself?” Accept all answers and if appropriate or feasible have the child act them out. Do maybe two or three things. Then ask, “what are some things that you need a friend to help you with?” (If they are stumped, offer like maybe balancing something or homework or a game, walking on a balance beam, etc) Say, “We need friends to help us don’t we? I have the exercise ball here. Do you think that (child’s name) can sit on it and raise their feet off the ground by themselves? Let’s try!” (It should be very difficult!) Say, “Who would like to help them to balance?” Let a couple of children help and try to balance. Have the children cheer each other on. Say, “We need each other don’t we? We need each other to keep from falling and we need each other to cheer us on!”

20130822-223633.jpg Say, “In today’s Bible story, Jesus is praying in the mountains and Peter and the disciples are in a boat in a storm. They are getting tossed about quite a bit. Then they see Jesus walking toward them on the water! What would you think about that? (Accept all answers) Peter wanted to go out to meet Jesus on the water. The other disciples stayed in the boat. Peter got out and got scared because, he WAS walking on water! Is that a common thing to do? But Jesus reached down and grabbed Peter, just like we helped (child’s name) balance on the ball. Jesus knows that we need other people to help us. They got into the boat and Peter and the other disciples worshiped Jesus. Peter helped the other disciples see that Jesus is God’s son who loves us, helps us and is always with us, even in stormy seas. The disciples needed Peter too!

How can we help each other see that God is always with us? (Accept all answers) Those are great ways! We can also help our family, friends at school and neighbors see Jesus helping them in their lives! Who helps you to know that Jesus is with you always? Yes, all of those people are important. Do you think that God created us all to help each other? Yes, I do!

FaithCross_Worship Jesus promises to be with us always and to catch us when we fall. It doesn’t mean that we sometimes aren’t afraid but that Jesus is with us in our fear. Have a large poster board cross on a table with magazines, newspapers, scissors, glue and markers. Have people cut out of the newspapers/magazines where they pray for people to know that Jesus is with them. People can draw or write prayers as well. Leave the cross up for the next week or two so that during Open Space or worship station time, people can “pray the cross” for the world to know Jesus’ love and presence.

20130822-223749.jpg Jesus, you are with us in good times and in hard times. We know that your hand will catch us when we are falling, just like you caught Peter. May we also help each other and offer a hand to catch someone else when they need it. Amen.

20130822-223908.jpg Make the sign of the cross and say, “Jesus is with you, do not be afraid.”

 

December 14, 2012

As I write this, my heart is breaking. My heart is breaking for parents who will not be tucking their child into bed tonight or any night. My heart is breaking for a school that should be a place of fun, learning, curiosity, love, friendship and safety but is now a sign of how fragile security can be as well as a sign of the reality of darkness in our lives. My heart is breaking for a community that is shattered and will need love and support to grieve and journey toward healing. My heart is breaking for our world: for people who live in their own hell and feel that taking another life, as well as their own, manifests itself as a viable option; for the deep brokenness of our own humanity that doesn’t reach out to those in need of help; for families that are now forever altered; and for the pervasive feeling of hopelessness and helplessness that permeates our souls.

These are feelings that have flooded me before. My own personal grief from the death of my youngest child almost eight years ago finds the crack in my armor on a day like today and invades my being. My child’s life was not taken by human violence but from the violence of disease. On a day like today, I am transported back to the moment when I was told my son was dead. The vivid memory of being cold, numb and wailing all at the same time flashes in me as if it happened yesterday. I am saddened that, while thousands of miles apart, I am now connected to those parents in Connecticut. Not that I know their specific loss but as parent, I am tethered to them by bonds of grief, loss of dreams of tomorrow and the shattering of our souls. To lose a child is to lose a piece of your own being.

But as I write this and my heart is breaking, my heart is also being pieced back together and swaddled. My heart, and all of our hearts, is in God’s loving and compassionate hands. God weeping with us, lamenting with us and railing with us gently uses clothes of love, peace and healing to swaddle us when we need it the most. Swaddling clothes of a friend’s hug and compassionate words, swaddling clothes of prayers lifted up, swaddling clothes of a friend who can hold our words of grief, brokenness and devastation, the swaddling of the interconnectedness of all of humanity as people of God.

God just doesn’t understand our grief, suffering and brokenness but fully experiences them with us . God’s own son, wrapped in swaddling clothes, was born into a world of brutality, poverty, suffering and death. In the manger we see don’t see a perfect world but a world that God is deeply concerned about, loves and wants to make new. In the swaddling of baby Jesus comes the swaddling of God’s unconditional and forever love and grace- no matter how bad it gets, no matter how we question our world, God’s presence or our own humanity-for all people and all of creation. Jesus lived in our suffering, diseases of the body and mind and died in the reality of brutality and violence. But God declares that death and sorrow are not the last words, neither for Jesus and the disciples nor for us. God had the last word on Easter morning in the exclamation point of the empty tomb. God offers this in our sorrow, God who raised Jesus and overcame suffering and death, that death, suffering and sorrow will not win. Dawn comes after a long, dark night, new life springs from a dead seed, and resurrection is the gift that God offers to all. This is God’s promise now and forever and this is my hope and help not just for me but for all people of God. Amen.