Tag Archives: worship station

Children’s Sermon, 4th Sunday after Epiphany – Matthew 5:1-12

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.

 As the children gather, invite them to talk about what they hope for.  Give them a little time to think, and a little space to enjoy being hopeful.

  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.

 Jesus loves you in the good times and in the bad times.

  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.

Children’s Sermon for Advent 2, Year C – Matthew 3:1-12

Prepare:  You will need to create an “obstacle course” of some kind.  If you have a place to make an actual course go ahead!  If not, you can just come up with a wondering or difficult route to get to the children’s sermon place.  Maybe make a few cards that have instructions for how to move, like hop on one foot, crawl, crab-walk, etc.  You will probably want to gather the children in a different place than usual, so that you can travel a little.

20130822-223454.jpg As the children gather, tell them that you are going to be traveling across the sanctuary to the place they can hear about the story.  Tell them that the journey is to “prepare” them, because the story says to prepare the way of the Lord! And that the rest of the story is waiting for them when they get there. Then go ahead and travel by what every way you have come up with.

20130822-223633.jpg Finally here!  That was a tough trip just to go across the room.  Now, the rest of the story!  We heard that we are supposed to prepare the way of the Lord, and Jesus seems like a complex guy, so I came up with a complex way to get here.  Let’s see if I did it right!

The story says, “Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.” 

Straight?  uh oh.  Our path was not straight! Sometimes we do that same thing to Jesus.  We say that we are all set to let Jesus in, but we put up road blocks, and make Jesus do funny walks just to prove that he really wants to be part of our lives.  But in Advent – as we prepare for Christmas – we are told to clean out all the road blocks, to get rid of the rules and restrictions of what Jesus can and cannot do, and make Jesus’ path straight and easy.

We are called on to do some work!

20130822-223749.jpg Loving God, we thank you for sending us your Son, Jesus. We are trying hard to make a straight path for Jesus, but sometimes it’s really hard to do.  Give us courage to keep working, and thank you for sending Jesus, even when we are not ready and the path is not straight. Amen.

20130822-223908.jpg God finds you even on the crooked path!

FaithCross_Worship Find something that you congregation is working on – like a long-term service relationship in the community, or having supplies on hand for people in need – and create a list of “road blocks” to getting that done.  Put the list up somewhere in the worship space, or include it in the printed materials. Start a discussion about how to move forward.  What can be done to get the blocks out of the way and move on with the project?

You Are a Saint of God! All Saints Sunday, Nov. 6th, 2016 Year C

 

 

20130822-223520.jpgAsk, “How many of you have grandmas, or grandpas? Do you see them all of the time? (Some will, some won’t.) If you don’t see them very often, (or at all) are you still their grandchild? (Yes!) I have grandmas and grandpas but my grandma (or grandpa or other relative) has died. That means that they no longer live here on earth, they are with God now and I don’t see them anymore but I know that I will someday! We know that God promises that we will all someday be together and with God. God created us to be together. We have families, friends, church community, all kinds of places where we are with people. When we’re together, we can teach each other about Jesus. What would you want to tell these people here about Jesus?” (Have the children turn and face the congregation and say what they think is important about Jesus.)

*Then invite up a parent and a baby, a teen, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, seventy, eighty, ninety (if you have one present!) something up with the children. Say, “All of these people are part of our community. Even if we don’t see them every day know their name, can they still teach us something about Jesus? Can a baby teach us about Jesus? Yes! A teenager? A grandma or grandpa? YES! Can you teach them about God too? YES!”

* Invite each generation to say one sentence that they want the children to know about Jesus. Say, “We need each other to teach each other about God! This is what All Saints is all about! You are a saint when your words and actions teach someone about Jesus. God says that we are all saints to each other! Pretty neat! To remember this today, during the passing of the peace you can make the sign of the cross on each other and say, “Saint (name if you know it), God’s peace be with you!”

20130822-223749.jpg God of all faithfulness, you created us to be in community with each other. Help us to remember that we need each other: babies, children, teens, young adults, middle age adults and our mature adults. We remember today those saints who are not with us but still live in love in our hearts. Thank you for weaving us together in your love now and forever, amen.

FaithCross_Worship A few ideas to do today:

*Have paper clouds cut out and on a table with pens and markers. Invite people to write names of saints living and dead on their “cloud of witnesses,” people who have passed the faith on them. They can either take them home, or place them on a cross.
*Have bowls of water available as people come for communion, in order to remember their baptism. You can also have a bowl of water with a candle lighting station if you do that. Connect baptism to communion, to our daily lives.
*In addition to commemorating those saints who have completed their baptismal journey from you congregation, celebrate those who were born/baptized this year as well. Light a candle for those past and ring a bell for the new lives!

 

20130822-223908.jpg +You are a saint of Jesus Christ+

Children’s Sermon for October 23, 2016 – Luke 18:9-14, Lectionary 30

Prepare: Get a long piece of paper – comically long! – to use as a scroll.  This could be a long strip from an art roll, or several pages taped together.

For the worship station you will need posters, images or objects that reflect concerns in your community or in the world, containers and beads (or something similar).

20130822-223454.jpgAs the children gather tell them that you are going to show them the best way to pray.  Have your scroll ready and start a prayer with the most grand address to God that you can think of.  Something like, “Gracious and merciful God, ruler of all creation, Lord of the storms and sea, Spirit if Truth and understanding,” and so on. Then finish with, “let me tell you all the ways that I am humble!” At this point drop one end of the paper so that it unrolls across the floor.  (Make a big deal of it!  You are going for a laugh!)

20130822-223633.jpgSo, what did you think of my way to start a prayer? Pretty fancy huh? I totally think that Jesus would think this was great.  I bet God can hardly wait to hear the cool stuff I do! Let’s take a look at the Gospel lesson today and see what Jesus says.  I hear it’s about praying . . . 

(take a minute to review the lesson, or maybe read it if they haven’t heard it yet.)

Or, maybe not!  Did you guys even hear the Gospel story today? This is exactly the wrong! Jesus was kind of upset with the guy who was bragging, and he really seemed concerned for the guy who asked for mercy.”

Jesus is calling us to action rather than words. We are called to go do stuff, not to talk about what we have done. We are called to be gracious and merciful, and to be good and just and kind. If we spend out time focused on how our actions make us feel we kind of miss the point. How do your actions, how do your words make others feel? How are you God’s hands and feet in the world?  That is what Jesus is hoping for us.

20130822-224425.jpgGracious Lord, sometimes we forget that our actions tell more about us than our worlds. Lead us to be compassionate, caring, and merciful as we live out our lives. Amen.

20130822-223908.jpg+ God is merciful to you +

 

 

FaithCross_WorshipFor the worship station, set up a prayer station with items, images, etc, that call attention to injustice or problems in and around your community. Invite people to offer prayers by dropping beads into baskets or jars in front the the things that concern them the most.

This does NOT need to be a quiet time, you may invite people to talk about what they see and feel!

Children’s Sermon – May 29, 2016 – Luke 7:1-10, Lec 9C

Prepare:  Make two big signs, one that says “faith,” another that says, “trust.”  These can be used for both the children’s sermon and for the worship station.

Even better! Make single really big sign/poster with a Venn diagram of faith and trust!

You may also want a dictionary – or you can use these from dictionary.com

Trust

Faith

20130715-114218.jpg As the children gather around ask them if they know the difference between “faith” and “trust.  Let them wrestle with that a little bit.  Once they have had a few minutes to work on it, tell that in the dictionary (or at least at dictionary.com) the definition of faith includes trust, but the definition of trust does not include faith!

FaithCross_BibleALT Well isn’t that strange? If you have faith in something that means you also trust it, but if you trust something you might not have faith in it.  Maybe one way to think about is that we trust the things that we can see and feel, and we have faith in things that are hard to see and feel.

Well, in the Bible story we hear today, there is a centurion (a Roman soldier) who shows both trust AND faith in who Jesus is and what God can do. He has a servant who is dying and has faith that Jesus can heal the servant, but he also trusts that Jesus is powerful enough that the servant will be healed without Jesus even coming to his house!  This amazes even Jesus!

Let’s play a little game with trust and faith.  I have these two signs, (or one, whichever you did!) and we are going to come up with some things that we trust, some things that we have faith in, and some things that fit into both!  I’ll start – I trust that the building we are in is not going to fall down.  I have faith that Jesus is present with us now, and I have trust and faith in God’s everlasting love. Now you try!

(Give them a little space to come up with some ideas)

That was great!  Think about trust and faith this week as you meet people and play with friends.

FaithCross_PrayALT Loving and healing God, thank you for giving us things to put our trust in, like (add some things from the poster!). Thank you for giving us things to have faith in, like (______________). Thank you for being someone we can trust and have faith in!  Amen.

FaithCross_BlessALT May the Holy Spirit burn in your heart today and everyday!

FaithCross_Worship Simply invite the congregation to participate in the faith/trust/faith and trust exercise with the children!  You can make a big poster that people can come up and write on, or you can have more of an interactive discussion about it with the whole assembly.

Children’s Sermon/Worship Station – March 6, 2016: Lent 4c – Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32

Prepare: One of my favorite ways to tell this story is to act it out. So your preparation for the children’s sermon can be as simple as just making sure you know the story well enough to tell it, or as complex as having actors and costumes. Up to you!

For the worship station, set up a “voting booth” with a two large jars or containers and beads or small rocks for people to vote with.

20130822-223520.jpg As the children gather ask them if they have a favorite story.  If they do, ask them how they like to tell the story?

20130822-223633.jpg Today’s Gospel story is a really fun story to act out, but first we need to some actors.

OK – from here on you are on your own! But I will tell you what I would do.  I would have a short list of the important characters in mind, and maybe even on a piece of paper in front of me. I would look for “volunteers,” and by that I mean that I would ask, but would ultimately end up choosing some people to play certain parts. Once I had my cast I would start to narrate the story and encourage the actors to act out what I am saying.

One really fun way to do this is to have the prodigal son stay with you, and pretend to walk away while the father and other son back away from you.  Then you can keep the action of the story close by.

To get the two groups back together you can have them kind of meet in the middle.

My simple cast would be:

  • Father
  • Prodigal
  • Other Son

Expansions on that would be:

  • The people the prodigal celebrates and eats with
  • the farmer he works for
  • the pigs that he eats with
  • the people who live near his father
  • his fathers’s other servants
  • etc . . .

20130822-223908.jpg You are God’s Beloved child

 

20130822-223749.jpg Loving and forgiving God, bring us back to you when we wander far from your love and care. Teach us to show your love, mercy and forgiveness in all parts of our lives, and lead us in ways that keep us close to you always! Amen.

FaithCross_Worship For the worship station, ask the question, “where does your pride end?” To keep it simple have two jars:  “I would return to my family when the money ran out,” and, “I would be eating with the pigs.”

Have people vote and see where you congregation ends up!  Make sure that being forgiven for pride is part of your prayers AFTER the worship station, so that the idea of returning to God is part of your focus in worship this day.

In the Shelter of God’s Love Feb. 21st, 2016 Lent 2, Year C

20130715-113716.jpgHave a tent or a make shift canopy where you can gather the children under. Ask them if they remember what prayer we talked about last week (or last time you worshiped). Yes, the Lord’s Prayer! The Lord’s Prayer is important not just because Jesus taught his disciples to pray it but because it reminds us that we can talk to God about everything in our lives, even hard, sad or scary stuff, not just happy things. Have you ever been sad or afraid? *Share a time that you were afraid.

FaithCross_BibleALT You just heard a Psalm (or a song) that is all about God being with us when life is sad or scary. We will have times when we are afraid or sad and that’s ok. Life is not always happy but do you know what? The person who wrote this song wants you to know something: God is with you always and forever. Forever! No matter what! Jesus wants you to know that too! There is one sentence in the Lord’s Prayer that says: “Deliver us from evil.” Evil sounds very scary but Jesus says don’t forget that you are never alone no matter how afraid you are. It might sound as if we are asking God to deliver us-as if God didn’t know that we are afraid but Jesus is saying that God knows and will cover you like a tent with God’s love! We are always under God’s shelter no matter what. Even if we can’t feel it or see it. It’s hard to understand that but it’s true! We gather here at church, in a special space to remind us that God is our shelter. We can bring all of our fears, questions and worries here to church and know that God is with us and that all of these people are with us too!

FaithCross_Worship Have a table with a large piece of canvas (tenting type material) and have some permanent markers available. Invite people to write their fears on the canvas and hang it in the worship space in Lent as a reminder that God shelters us in our fear.

20130822-223749.jpgGod you are our shelter and safety. Thank you for delivering us from evil and for your son Jesus who shows us your love. May all people feel your love, presence and shelter. Amen.

20130822-223908.jpg +God is your shelter+

Children’s Sermon – 3rd Sunday after Epiphany, year C – Luke 4:14-21 (and Isaiah 61:1-2)

Prepare: You will need a bandage of some kind, like an ACE bandage, for the children’s sermon.  And bring a Bible with Isaiah 61:1-2 marked.

For the worship station you will need the mission statement of your congregation.  If you do not have one you can use the mission statement of your wider church organization.  Here is a link the ELCA Mission Statement page.

20130822-223520.jpg Gather the children and show them the bandage, asking them if they know what it is for. Once they answer ask if any of them have ever had to have a bandage?

20130822-223633.jpg  We will get back to the bandage in just a minute, but first I wanted to talk a little about what Jesus says in the Gospel story we hear today. Jesus is in his hometown synagogue (you might want to take a minute to explain that word – for most the children, equating it to a church will be enough!) and he decides that he is going to read from the scriptures. He chooses a couple of passages from a book called Isaiah and reads them. My favorite of the two passages he reads is Isaiah 61:1-2, which says this – (read)

Then he does a crazy thing, he says, “That person that Isaiah is describing? That’s me!”

Well, this makes the people who are there a little uncomfortable and upset, but we are going to save that part for next week! This week we are going to look at what Jesus said – remember that bandage?

One of the things that is in Isaiah, but not in the Gospel reading is that Jesus will, “Bind up the brokenhearted.” I love that phrase! It’s such a wonderful image of comfort and care. If i hurt my wrist I can use a bandage to bind it up and support it until it heals and is strong again. If I cut my finger I can bind it up with a bandage until the skin grows back and it can protect me again. But if my heart is broken what can I do? Jesus says that He is here to bind up our broken hearts so that they can heal and be strong again. He wraps them up and protects and comforts our hearts when we are brokenhearted! I love it!

20130822-223908.jpg Jesus comforts and protects your heart.

20130822-223749.jpg Loving God, bind up our brokenness with you love and care. Help our hearts to heal and be strong so that we can help bind up other hearts that are broken. Amen.

FaithCross_Worship Sometimes this passage in John is called “Jesus’ Mission Statement.” Invite your congregation to read it again, and then read your church’s mission statement. Open up a little time for interactive discussion about what is important in each statement. How is your church’s mission similar or different from Jesus? Should they be the same? Should they be different?

If your congregation is using the Weekly Devotion Inserts (here is a link to the one for this week!) ask them to get them out and work through the exercise on the back – make a mission statement for the week and post it somewhere it will be seen!

“Jesus Looks at You and Loves You” Children’s Sermon Pentecost 20B Mark 10:17-31

Preparation: a needle and thread–use a larger one if possible so that they can see, a sign that says Go in Peace, Serve the Lord (optional as you can do this verbally as well) Worship station supplies are a coloring page with cross–click here for a pdf of that page.

20130822-223520.jpgGather the children up front with you and greet them. “Well, I heard Jesus saying some interesting things today about camels and needles and other things that sound just impossible. What are some things that you think are impossible?” (take answers, you will likely get some crazy ones like flying, etc) Yes those sound pretty impossible and some of them truly are not things we do as humans (like flying–careful not to encourage dangerous things!)

20130822-223633.jpgToday Jesus talks about it being more difficult for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to get their own way into heaven. I brought this sewing needle with me to show you, can you see it here. This is the eye of the needle, the part where the thread goes (put the thread through or did it ahead of time.) Now, let’s use our imagination–how big is a camel? Yep this big, huge (spread out your arms) and how will a camel walk through this needle like the thread? Sounds crazy right? Well Jesus is using some big imagination there! Even exaggeration–talking about something that is not really possible.   There was also this man, who asked Jesus a big question–what do I DO to have eternal life. And Jesus tells him to give away all that he has –everything and then he will know what it is to have eternal life. How do you think the man felt? Yep, he felt pretty gloomy because he just did not think he could do that-it sounded impossible. Does that sound impossible to you? What are some ways that we do give away we  have and share? (talk about some things they do and any project you are working on together)

I also noticed that it says Jesus looked at the man with love–Jesus sees him and us with love! Then Jesus says, it is not possible for you to DO anything on your own but with God all things are possible. You can give things away and you can share with others even when it is difficult. And no matter what you do God’s love is there and Jesus going to the cross and rising again is what gives us eternal life, so there is nothing you can do to make it happen on your own.

20130822-224425.jpgDo this activity as the prayer and blessing:

What we DO matters, how we go out and share God’s love. AND God will be with us and gives us eternal life no matter we have or do not have or do or do not do. So yes we need to care for others and we need to know that Jesus is the one who saves us. We say something at the end of each service-Go in Peace and serve and the Lord. Do you know what that means? Go out of this place, knowing God is with you and do things that show God loves you and everyone else.

20130822-223908.jpgI have a sign here and so let’s have two people make an arch with their hands and I will hold this sign up for you. Now before we go back to our seats you will walk through this arch and sign and hear the words, Go in peace and serve the Lord and you can say thanks be to God as you go to your seat. As you hear these words remember that God goes with you no matter what you do in this world.
Option: Have two kids make these arches as people leave the sanctuary and encourage them to go through that tight space and hear the words that God loves you as you go in peace.

FaithCross_WorshipHave a cross coloring outline on a sheet of paper and the words Jesus looks at you and Loves you (paraphrase of verse 21)–Here is one made for you, click here!   Inside the cross write the things that we struggle to give away to God and need to lay on the cross. Around the cross write or draw the ways God loves comes to you.

Children’s Sermon – Mark 9:38-50, September 27, 2015

Prepare: Bring a small, clear container of sea salt – even better if you can find something fancy!

The worship station will need a box of unsalted rice crackers, and a box of salted rice crackers (you can use whatever you like here, really, but rice crackers generally avoid most food allergies).

20130822-223520.jpg Have the children gather around you so that they can all see the salt. Ask them if they know what it is.

After a few guesses (right or wrong) confirm that it is salt, and ask if anyone would be willing to try some. Ask what it is like to have salt all by itself? Does it taste good?

20130822-223633.jpg Today, in the Gospel story, Jesus says some very strange things, and most of them are exaggerations to get our attention. Jesus wants us to think about who we are and what it means for us to be following him. One of the things he says is that we should be “Salted with fire.” I’m not sure that I like the sound of that! When I salt something, that means I sprinkle salt on it, I don’t think that I want to be sprinkled with fire. But, did you know that salting something has a different meaning? Salt was, and still is, used to keep food from going bad. People use salt to make sure that meat does not get moldy. Pickles are kept in a salty liquid called brine. 

So we can hear the end of this story a couple different ways. Salt, in small amounts, can add flavor to the foods that we eat. In fact, most of the foods we like have at least some salt in them or on them to make them taste better. Salt is also necessary for baking things! Bread without salt is dry and crumbly, it just doesn’t work. So Jesus might be saying that we need to be flavored with fire – that we are made better when we deal with difficult things and learn from them.

Then there is salt used to keep food from spoiling. Jesus could also be saying that we should be salty so that we can survive the trials of life. We should be salty so that we can preserve the Good News of Jesus and have it ready to feed to anyone who needs to hear it!

20130822-223749.jpgLoving God, preserve us and keeps us so that we can be your “salty” people. Make us ready to share your good news and love with the world around us.

Amen.

FaithCross_WorshipHave a table set out with the two kinds of crackers (or whatever you choose).  Invite people to try one of each and reflect on what they taste.  Which one do they like better? What makes it better?

Find a way to join in prayer – either a pop-corn prayer, or collect slips of paper with prayer requests, etc.  Ask for prayers where about places and people that need a little, or a lot of salt. Things that need to be flavored with God’s love, or preserved from the destructive forces of this world.

20130822-223908.jpgYou are salty, go add flavor to the world!