Prepare: You will need a small mirror and whatever you use to find out what time it is, your watch, your phone, etc.
Faith+Open: After you greet the children, ask them if they have ever thought about their own heads. Specifically, ask them about why they have two ears, but only one mouth. Some of them will probably say something like this, “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” (If you want to, at this point, you can tell them that this is a very old saying from a Greek philosopher from about the same time that Jesus was alive! His name was Epictetus.)
Faith+Share: Today we heard a little part of a letter from a person named James, and he is saying something kind of like this, but he is talking about your whole body. He says a bunch of great things in this little section. One of them is to be quick to listen, but slow to speak and slow to anger. He says that staying angry about things just makes you mean and wicked, and that’s not a great way to act.
James writes that we should instead hear God’s word, and then do something with it! He writes it in kind of a fun way, too. (Get out your mirror) He says that people who just hear the word are like people who look in a mirror, and then 2 minutes later can’t remember what they look like. That’s pretty silly, right? Or, here’s something that I do, I look at my phone (or watch) to see what time it is, then a couple seconds later I have to look again, because I can’t remember what it said. James writes that when we just hear God’s word and don’t do something with it, we are acting just like that. God’s words are going one ear and right out the other.
We should hear God’s word and look for the places where God needs us to work and then do something, and we will be happy that we did. I really like the end of this section of the letter. James says that the real way to practice being what we call a Christian is to care for people. A man named Eugene Peterson said it this way, real religion is this: to reach out to the homeless and the loveless, and to not let the bad stuff in the world make you a bad person (Note, this is a paraphrase of James 6:27 from “The Message”).
Faith+Prayer: Amazing God, teach us to hear and do your word. Teach us to help those who feel helpless and to love those who feel unloved. Teach us to find joy in giving our time and love to the people who need it. Amen.
Faith+Blessing: May your eyes and ears be opened to see all the amazing works of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
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