Weekly Devotion Page for July 6, 2014

33 July 6 - Fourth Sunday After Pentecost.pubHere is the devotion page for the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, July 6,  2014

Just click on the picture to download the PDF file!

We have started a new format for our inserts (starting with Pentecost, June 8, 2014).  To learn more about this format read this – Keeping up with what God is Doing,

Did you miss a week? Go to the Weekly Devotion page to download past weeks!

Children’s Sermon July 6, 2014 Pentecost 4A Matthew 11:25-30

Preparation: picture of a yoke for oxen, yarn or ribbon or paper to connect children together, a rock and other props that might be fun for two hands tied together to try. You can also just have two volunteers for this part
for worship station–paper strips, one per person in congregation

20130822-223633.jpg Our reading from Matthew today talks about being yoked together–do you know what a yoke is? It is not something we see everyday now but in Jesus time it was a familiar thing.” Show the picture and describe how a yoke keeps the oxen together so that they can pull together and work together. “How do you think this feels to the oxen to be hooked together like this? I think it could feel hard and burdensome–but also it could make the work lighter and easier to be together. Let’s try an experiment.”

Option one: have enough yarn or ribbon to tie kids together loosely at the wrists. You will want to use enough yarn so that you can cut it and then they each end up tying a piece of their ribbon to their own wrist
Option two: have two volunteers (or prep volunteers ahead of time–acolytes can be great for this! ) that you will tie together with a ribbon or bandannas or string.

Tie the yarn or ribbon around two wrists and hook them together. Do not make it tight. “Ok, now that you are tied together, let’s see what you can do. Try waving together. Now try clapping! Try writing in the air (or have a pen and paper for them to try). Can you pick up this rock together? (have a small rock and a large rock, see which one is easier to pick up) “What is it like being yoked together? What is hard about it? what is fun about it?”

Jesus is teaching about how some things in life, even things in our faith or our religious practices can become difficult or a burden. He says that what he teaches and what he promises is that even as we are yoked together to him, we are also given rest. Our life in faith and walking with Christ will bring rest to our hearts and we can live connected to one another which makes the walk lighter and sets us free to be one in Christ in the world.

FaithCross_PrayALT Jesus, help us to be yoked to you so that our hearts and spirits can rest and also know you in all we do. Show us how to be connected with one another and share your love with all the people and all the nations.

FaithCross_BlessALT +May you rest in God and Be sure of Christ’s love for all +

FaithCross_Worship For a worship station–you can use this station as a connection to the children’s sermon and a way to broaden it out to the congregation. Take this time to explain how the station works if you have not already. **You can also tie this into July 4 celebrations in saying that God has connected us an our nation to other nations of the world and as we work together as a global community we become connected and we share Christ’s love throughout the world.**

Connected through the Holy Spirit: There are paper strips in the pews, in the back, and available from the ushers. Please take one and write your name and/or a prayer and/or names of loved ones who are not here today. Then use the tape in your pew to bend the paper into a circle and connect it with your neighbor’s paper. We will create a paper chain of prayers and names that will then be draped on the cross up front to remind us of how the spirit connects us to Christ and to one another.

Children’s Sermon Matthew 10: 40-42 Third Sunday after Pentecost, June 29th, 2014 Year A

20130822-223520.jpgGather the children by the entrance to the worship space. Have them cross the threshold so that you are in the worship space but technically they are not. Have them just stand there for 30 seconds or so. It will seem a lot longer to them! Then ask them if they would like to come in and be with everyone else. Hopefully they will say yes! Ask them why? Say, “Why do you want to come in and be a part of this group?” Accept all answers! (This is dicey, I know!) Say, “We want you to belong here too! We want everyone to be a part of God’s family.”

20130822-223633.jpgIn our Bible story this morning, Jesus tells the disciples that whoever welcomes them welcomes Jesus! And Jesus is God’s son, so welcoming Jesus is the same as welcoming God! If God were standing right here with us at the door to our church, how would we welcome God in?” Accept all answers and try to push them to extravagant welcome. Hugs, music, food, whatever they might have to make God comfortable and feeling loved. Say, “If someone comes to our house, to our church how should we treat them? Now this is not just about someone coming to our house or church but it’s about how we greet people when we walk in our classrooms at school, or your parents go to their work places. It’s about how when we see someone who needs help or is trying to help how we treat them. If God were to walk in right now and we would sing songs, give God a hug, give God only the best food and drinks, the most comfortable spot on the couch, and everyone we welcome Jesus says, is like welcoming God, how should we treat a new kid in our class or in our neighborhood? How does it feel when someone treats us this nice? Does God want everyone in the whole world to feel this loved? YES! God’s love for us never runs out or gets tired or ends. This is the way that God wants us to love each other. There is always enough love for everyone! ”

Have the kids come back into the worship space. Ask all of the adults on the aisles to greet the kids like they would God. You can suggest high fives, side hugs, (be aware of your safety policies with children), you can give adults notes to hand out ahead of time, confetti, ribbons, etc. Lead the children to the front or a central location to close in prayer.

20130822-223749.jpgDear Jesus, thank you for showing us how to care for everyone we meet. We pray for everyone to feel loved and to have all that they need to be healthy and whole.Help us to live our lives overflowing with your love. We pray to be a part of your love and forgiveness in the world. Amen.

20130822-223908.jpgAt the end of worship have people turn to one another and make the sign of the cross and say, “You are welcomed in the name of the Lord.” Suggest that they use this blessing at home and with friends.

FaithCross_WorshipFor a worship station on this text, there are a couple of ways that you can communicate the abundance and overflowing nature of God’s hospitality towards us. One way is to have a table set up with lots of billowing fabric that overflows the table. Have a light blue to represent grace, white for mercy, and dark pink or red for love. Ask people to write (permanent markers will work the best) how they experience God’s overflowing abundance of grace, mercy and love and ask them to also write how they can spill that out onto others in their lives. Another way is to have strips of blue fabric that people can write about grace, mercy and love in their lives as explained above. But have them but their cloth in the baptismal font (empty the water for this) and hopefully all of the strips will overflow and spill out of the font! In the water, bread and wine we tangibly experience God’s abundance of love, mercy and forgiveness overflowing in our lives! You could have the strips of cloth put on your altar as well. for communion.


Children’s Sermon, Pentecost 2, June 22, 2014 – Matthew 10:24-39

Prepare: Bring a small cross – ideally one that stands up on its own.  If you are doing the worship station you will also need a basket to put under the cross, small pieces of paper and some pencils or crayons.  For the worship station (or even just for the children’s sermon) you can also have small crosses to give to the children.

FaithCross_BibleALT  Wow!  Did you hear what Jesus just said!  That didn’t sound like Jesus at all!  He said that he comes to bring a sword, not peace, and that he comes to divide families so that everyone is fighting!  What is he talking about!  That seems really scary, and I thought Jesus was kind and loving!  (ok, enough exclamation points, you get the idea, be excited.)

FaithCross  Let’s back up a minute and look at this again.  Do you think that Jesus really means that he came to make people fight?  No, I don’t think so, either.  So what does this mean?  Maybe we can think about it a different way.  Nearly all of the things that Jesus did with his disciples, nearly all of the stories that we read about Jesus were things that made people really uncomfortable and angry when he was doing them.  That doesn’t make much sense to us today because we have nearly 2,000 years of people talking and thinking about Jesus that helps to make all of this being Christian stuff seem pretty normal, but I bet I can still make you feel uncomfortable about doing what Jesus asks us to do.

Think about this – imagine that you are at the pool with a few of your best friends.  You are laughing and joking around, splashing each other, and just having a good time when you see someone from school that none of you really like.  All your friends decide to pick on that person, and they start splashing and yelling, which obviously hurts that persons feelings, but your friends don’t really care and they keep splashing and being mean.  Now, you know that if you make your friends stop, or go help the other person that your friends are going to be mad at you, but you also know that it’s the right thing to do . . . so, what do you do?  Stay with your friends where it’s safe and comfortable or defend and help someone who you don’t like?

When people choose to follow Jesus 2,000 years ago there was a risk of real violence and danger, there was a risk of swords!  Thankfully most of us will never need to deal with that, but we do sometimes have to make difficult choices because of what we believe and what that means for how we behave.  Sometimes doing what we should do comes with the risk of loosing a friendship.

(if you are doing the worship station, just skip to the prayer here)

I have a cross here.  Let’s take a few seconds to think about what other things we risk or give up when we follow Jesus.

FaithCross_Worship  Worship Station: Have your cross set up (or your basket of crosses if they are going to take one with them) with the basket, paper, and pencils near it.  Invite the children (or whoever else wants to join in) to take a piece of paper and think about two things: 1. What do you risk (or give up) when you follow Jesus  2. What is the reward for the risk?

Write the risk on the piece of paper (or draw), and leave the paper in the basket.  Then say a prayer for courage and of praise at the cross (or over the cross that they are taking with them).  You are welcome to print out the prayer below for people to use if they would like.

20130822-224425.jpg  Loving Christ, following you is difficult.  We often have to make choices between the things that make us feel safe and comfortable and the things that are right and good.  Sometimes following you means that we might upset someone that we love and care about.  Give us courage to do what is right and good even when it is difficult.  Amen.

20130822-223908.jpg  May God give you strength to love everyone you meet.






Weekly Devotion Page for June 22, 2014

31 June 22 - Seccond Sunday After Pentecost.pubHere is the devotion page for the Second Sunday after Pentecost, June 22,  2014

Just click on the picture to download the PDF file!

We have started a new format for our inserts (starting with Pentecost, June 8, 2014).  To learn more about this format read this – Keeping up with what God is Doing,

Did you miss a week? Go to the Weekly Devotion page to download past weeks!

Children’s Sermon Year A Pentecost 1 Matthew 28:16-20 June 15, 2014

Preparation: a kite–you can make a kite or buy one or have a picture of a kite
(if you choose to do the worship station you will want a kite and cloth for prayer ties along with markers)

20130822-223633.jpgGather the children up front with you. Say, in our reading from Matthew today we heard Jesus say to Go! Do you remember where we are to go? Yes, Go and tell people about Jesus and about God’s love. And then he also said to baptize them in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Have you heard those words before? We say them a lot in worship and they are one of the ways we can try to celebrate how we have seen God in scriptures and in our world. That God created and Jesus came as God to be with people and go to the cross and rise again and that the Holy Spirit is given to us as well.

FaithCrossWhat do you think of when you think of God? How would you describe God? (take a couple of answers) Well there are many ways to describe God and try to celebrate God and it is all kind of a mystery, but sometimes our words and images can help us to connect with God in new ways. Today I have with me a kite because it is a way that I think about God connects us and also how God sends out–tells us to go into the world. See the frame of the kite–the part holds it together is in the shape of the cross which reminds me of Jesus and how Jesus love is big and wide and holds us all. And the string here–it is a part of Jesus too and connects us to the word of God in the bible and it also is the part we hold onto so that the kite can fly. The colorful part here that makes up the fabric of the kite reminds me of God because it is colorful and creative and it is how God made us all and all of creation unique. And then what does the kite need to fly? yes wind! So as the wind moves the kite around I think of the Holy Spirit moving us to be in the world. We are still connected to Jesus and God even as we go and in many different ways through life, up and and down and all around and as we are caught in the Holy Spirit we can tell of God’s love and presence all the time.

20130822-222604.jpgWorship Station: Have colored cloth and markers. Explain that we are connected to God in another way too–our prayers. Invite the whole congregation to write a prayer on a colored piece of cloth and then tie it to the kite string. Another way would be to collect the cloth in a basket at your station time or at offering and the have the prayers on the altar during the prayers of the people–then have some volunteers tie the prayers on after worship.

Addition to worship station–have three kites and ask people to draw or write their images of God, Son, Holy Spirit (you could also do this on one kite) Then add the prayers to all the kites and hang them up from the ceiling in a hallway or worship space!

20130822-223749.jpgGod father, Son, and Holy Spirit–we know you are mysterious in many ways. Connect us to you and help our spirits soar as we share your love. Amen

20130822-223908.jpgGo! and know that you are held in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Children’s Sermon Pentecost Acts 2: 1-21 Year A, June 8, 2014

ffjChildrenSermonPreparation: Have a piece of red, orange or yellow ribbon (15” by 1” or so) for each member of the congregation. Have a tall dowel about four feet long for the ribbons to be tied on. You will also need an oscillating fan. (A static fan could work too.)

20130822-223633.jpg Have some ribbons attached to a fan (clear tape for easy removal). Turn the fan on and let the ribbons blow for a minute. Then remove the ribbons and let them blow wherever the fan takes them. Say, “Wow, those ribbons just took off one they weren’t taped down anymore didn’t they? Look at all of the places that the fan blew the ribbons! Can you all help me collect them? Thank you!” The children can hold on to the ribbons that they collect but make sure that each child has one. Say, “You go to many different places in your week don’t you. Where are some places you go during the week?” (Accept all answers.) Do you remember where you were on Wednesday afternoon? Where were you or where to you think you might have been? We go to all kinds of different places in our daily lives and do you want to know something? God is at all of those places with us! Everywhere you go, God is already there! Today at church we are celebrating that God is with us and that everywhere we go God is there at work. God’s Holy Spirit is what we think of as God being at work in the world and in our Bible story this morning we see that the Holy Spirit is experienced in many different ways! Wind, fire, people talking in different languages, all of these ways remind us that the Holy Spirit can be experienced in lots of ways and places! No one way is the only way and there is not just one place to feel God’s love and power in our lives. Just like these ribbons didn’t all blow to the exact same location so we aren’t all at the same place at the same time. God is at work wherever we are!

20130822-223520.jpgWorship station: Everyone will get a ribbon. On the ribbon write/draw where you were on Wednesday afternoon at 2 p.m. (Or pick another date and time if you want!) Have everyone tie their ribbon to the dowel. During the last part of worship have someone place the dowel at the exit to the parking lot (hopefully it will just stick in the ground or you might need to attach it to something) to remind us all that as we go to our daily lives the Holy Spirit is blowing us there and is with us at work!

20130822-223749.jpg Dear God, thank you for sending your Holy Spirit to be with us always. May we be a part of what you are doing in the world no matter where we are or what time of day it is. May everyone feel your work and love in their lives. Amen.

20130822-223908.jpg “God pours the Holy Spirit into you.” (Make the sign of the cross on each other.)

Weekly Devotion Page for June 8, 2014

29 June 8 - Day of Pentecost.pubHere is the devotion page for the Seventh Sunday of Easter, June 1,  2014

Just click on the picture to download the PDF file!

We have started a new format for our inserts (starting with Pentecost, June 8, 2014).  To learn more about this format read this – Keeping up with what God is Doing,

Did you miss a week? Go to the Weekly Devotion page to download past weeks!