As you have the children come forward have a large piece of butcher paper and numerous crayons available on the floor. Invite them to write their name on the butcher paper as you begin. (Just first names are fine for time sake.) Say, “When you meet someone for the first time, what’s usually the first thing you tell someone about yourself? Yes, your name! Our names are very important and they help other people talk to us, call us on the phone, email us, send us a card or even a present! Without our names, life could be very confusing, couldn’t it? Our names help people remember what is special about us and us about them. Do we learn and remember names of people who we don’t see very often? No, it’s hard to know the names of people who we don’t go to school with, live in our neighborhood or have never even met! But we learn the names of people who are important to us and we see a lot in our lives. Knowing someone’s name is a way to say “I care about you!”
In our story today, Jesus sends the disciples out to all kinds of different towns and cities where they will meet all kinds of different people. Jesus reminds the disciples and us, that the most important thing to remember as we go along in our life meeting new people, learning new things, and telling people about God is that God knows our name, everything about us and says that we belong to God. When people don’t like you, or don’t want to even meet you, even though that’s hard, it’s ok because God knows you and your name and says “I care about you!” When we baptize babies, children or adults, we say their name because we know that God is saying that we all belong to God, God knows us and promises to always call us by name to God.
Besides learning people’s names, how can we tell people that God cares for them? (Accept all answers.) There are all sorts of ways to show God’s love! A few ways we do that as a church are….(Fill in with ministries of your congregation). And you are never too little, young or old to help in one of those activities! As you go back to your seat, I want you to draw a heart around someone else’s name (not your own) to show that God cares for them.
(Invite the children and the whole congregation to join hands for the prayer. Have everyone hold their hands out with thumbs to the left. Then when you join hands, you are supporting someone’s hand and someone else is supporting you. The true meaning of community!) Dear Jesus, thank you for caring for us. You know our names and everything about us. Help us to share you love and care with our friends, with our families and with people that we meet. May your peace fill us and the whole earth. Amen.
Take the sheet of butcher paper with the children’s names on it from children’s sermon and place it on a table with more crayons, markers, etc. Have people write their own name as well as draw a heart around someone else’s name. Invite the congregation to pray for the person whose name they drew a heart around. And to try and meet them if they don’t already know each other!