Prepare: You will need a pencil and (if possible!) a diamond, or a picture of a diamond. The diamond can be an engagement ring, or in an earring, etc. It doesn’t need to be loose or even big. The idea is to show the difference between the two.
Gather the children as you normally do, and as they gather, ask them to tell you the name of someone whom they trust. Could be a parent, a teacher, a coach, sibling, etc. Just get them thinking about people they trust.
Jesus talks a little bit about trust in today’s Gospel reading. He is being questioned by some people who really want to know who he is. They just want Jesus to tell them who he is! Jesus says, “I already told you, you just don’t trust me.” Well, really the word Jesus uses is “believe.” They don’t believe, even though they have heard the truth.
That got me thinking – Jesus, to them, just looks like a traveler, or at best a carpenter. There is nothing fancy about him. He doesn’t have fancy robes that make him look like a king, he doesn’t boss people around like he is in control of them. He doesn’t ACT like God! . . . but, sometimes he does. They were all just really confused.
So, to help think about this in a different way, I brought a couple of things – a pencil and a diamond ring (or a picture of one, whichever you can manage!). Two very different things, right? This one you can write or draw with, and this one is, well, a diamond ring! But, at their heart they are the same thing. Both the diamond ring and pencil are special because the thing at the very center – and that thing is something called carbon. The black part at the middle of the pencil is made mostly of something called graphite (there are other things in there, too, but it’s mostly graphite). Graphite is made out of carbon. The center of the ring is a diamond, and diamonds are carbon crystals.
So, both of these things, the pencil and the diamond ring, have carbon at the center. The pencil is a simple tool, something that we use everyday. The diamond is something special that we display because it is beautiful. (If you happen to have an engagement ring you can talk about why that particular diamond is special!) Even though they seem very different on the surface, at their heart they are the same stuff.
Back to Jesus! To the people standing around him he looks ordinary, like the carbon graphite in a pencil. But his disciples know that he is something really special, like a diamond. And just like the carbon, Jesus can be both!
Christ is Risen!
Christ is Risen, Indeed!
Loving God, you are the very thing that we need everyday. We rely on your love and mercy day in and day out. We give you thanks that you can be so close to us in our ordinary lives, and we praise the special treasure that is your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen
Have you congregation think about things that are “everyday” tools, or “everyday” staples in their lives. Create a space where people can write a prayer of thanks for the ordinary parts of their life and praise God for the simple and wonderful things that make life go better. (You can also have them tweet the prayers, or post them to your church’s FB page, etc.)
Collect the prayers and include them in the prayers of the people.