Tag Archives: John

Children’s Sermon Seventh Sunday of Easter Year B John 17:6-19

Scripture Focus: John 17:6-19

Preparation: Bring a small plant that is destined to be planted outside somewhere, like a little flowering plant, or a vegetable sprout.

Faith+Open:  Invite the children to gather around the plant, but be very protective of the little plant.  Make sure the children are being careful around it and remind them how delicate it is.  Make sure they are all focused on how important and vulnerable the young plant is.

Faith+Share:  Now that we are all gathered together I want to tell you about my little plant.  I am planning on planting it outside later today and I’m very worried about.  I’ve been thinking about all the things that could go wrong with this little plant.  It might not get enough water, or maybe it will get too much water.  And it needs sunlight, too, but not too much sun or it will dry out!  Then there’s the soil to worry about, too!  What if the soil doesn’t have the stuff the plant needs?  I’ll have to find the right food for the plant, but I have to be sure not to give it too much food because that could hurt it too.  Even if I get all the water and sunlight and food right, it could still be eaten by a rabbit or squirrel or dug up by a dog or something.

I really just want to keep it inside.  But, if I do that it can’t really grow and be happy, and no one will be able to eat the vegetables (or see the flowers, depending on your plant).

I think that today’s Gospel story might help me with this.  In the Gospel story we hear Jesus praying for his friends, right before he is arrested, right before Good Friday and Easter.  Jesus is asking God to look after his friends after he is crucified.  Jesus knows that they will be in danger because of what they know about God and Jesus, and that the danger will be greater if they tell people about Jesus, but Jesus knows that for them to be happy they have to tell the story.  Jesus knows that his friends will only be able to share the amazing gifts of God if he lets them go out into the world.

Just like my little plants here.  If I keep them inside where they might be safer, they won’t grow food for people to eat (or flowers for people to enjoy).  God sends us into the world, too.  We are sent out to share Jesus story with others and to love everyone the way that God loves us.  It’s a hard thing to do, but we know that God is watching over us and loves us.

Faith+Prayer:   Loving God, thank you for the amazing stories about Jesus and hid friends.  Help us to share the story and to love everyone we meet the way that you love us.  Amen.

Faith+Blessing:   Remember what Jesus says to his disciples: Do not be afraid and peace be with you. +

~GB

Permission to use for nonprofit. When printing give credit to Faith Formation Journeys. Intellectual property rights apply.

Children’s Sermon Easter 6B John 15:9-17

Scripture: John 15:9-17

Preparation: Bring a picture of a favorite pet.  It can be from childhood or a current pet or a friends pet.

Faith+Open:Gather the children and tell them a little about your pet while you show them the picture.  Ask them if they have a pet at home.  Prompt them about how they take care of their pet, feed, water, etc.  Then ask them what their pet does for them.  They may need a little help here.  Offer ideas like how a pet can be a playmate, or can bring you joy or be a companion.

Faith+Share: Pets are pretty fun, aren’t they?  Talking about pets makes me think about an important word in the Gospel story today.  Jesus says the word “abide” over and over.  He talks a lot about love, too, when he says abide.  Do you know what abide means?  I looked up “abide” in a dictionary and found a whole bunch of different meanings.  Abide can mean to live in a place or live with someone, it can mean to listen to and follow rules, or it mean to stay with someone.  Like “abide with me.”  I think that all three of these meanings show up in the story, but let’s talk a little more about pets so that we can figure out this “abide” word a little more.  Let’s start by saying that our pets abide with us.  They live at our houses with us, that covers the first meaning.  There are probably rules about your pets, like the cat needs to use the litter box, the dog needs to be on a leash, the turtle isn’t allowed on the table, the fish need to stay in their water . . . you get the idea.  That’s the second one.  The third one is a little more tricky.  I said that it means to stay with someone, but I think that it is more than just staying with someone.  It is staying with someone no matter what!  More than just staying in the same room with them, it is loving them and caring for them.
 
That gets us to the Gospel story for today.  It’s a story from the Gospel of John, and while Jesus says a bunch of great things in John’s Gospel, it is sometimes a little confusing.  So, let me try to straighten it out a little.  First Jesus says that the Father loves him, and that he loves us.  Then comes that “abide” word, he says “Abide in my love.”  Or live in my love, follow the rules of my love and stay with me no matter what!  He says that if we do that we will have joyful hearts.

Jesus says that if we abide in his love then we can love each other even more, which is the whole reason for the story.  To teach us to live with each other, to listen to what other people need, and to love them no matter what.

Faith+Prayer: Loving God, teach us to abide in your love, to live lives full of love, to listen to the needs of others, and to love and care for them no matter what.  Thank you abiding with us, no matter what!  Amen.

Faith+Blessing: Remember what Jesus says to his disciples: Do not be afraid and peace be with you. +

~GB

*permission to use for nonprofit purposes. When printing give credit to Faith Formation Journeys. Intellectual property rights apply.

Children’s Sermon Easter 4B John 10:11-18

Scripture: John 10:11-18 

Preparation: Secure a live sheep–Ha, ha! Just kidding! Highly recommended NOT to try this unless you can move kiddos outside whereby it’s a really cool idea and I have seen it done it well!

Real Preparation: 
Plant a few people the children might know to say loudly “follow me”. You might want to pick a parent of one of the children.
musical instruments or other ‘noise makers’

Faith+Open: Gather children to you and welcome them in. Ask, Do you think you can tell what things are by their sound? Ok, close your eyes (this will have to be the honor system!) and I am going to make some sounds and you say what they are: 
proceed to make sounds like a bell, spoons together, clapping, other instruments, kazoo, whatever you can find. Do just a few 2-3.

Faith+Share: Now about people’s voices? Do you think you can tell who someone is by the sound of their voice? Close your eyes again and see if you can guess. Have the people you planted shout “Follow me” You can be one of them because they will know it’s you most likely even if they don’t know you because you will be sitting closest to them.
Jesus says today that the he knows his own and they know him. He calls himself the shepherd and the people the sheep that follow the shepherd. One way that sheep know who to follow is that they know the sound of their shepherd’s voice. Then they can follow the person who they know will take care of them and protect them. How do you know who to follow or trust? (take answers) Yes, it might not be only their voice but I bet you know if your parent or grandparent or teacher is calling your name because you have a relationship with them and know that they care for you. Jesus promises that he cares for you too and that he will be known to us because he will never leave us. 

Faith+Prayer: Jesus, help me know you, help me know your voice and your love. Thank you Jesus for your life and your love, for your death and for your rising. Amen

Faith+Blessing:
Remember what Jesus says to his disciples: Do not be afraid and peace be with you. +

~LB

Children’s Sermon 2nd Sunday of Easter, Year B John 20:19-31

Preparation: Prepare an invitation to use as part of this children’s time. See below.

Faith+Open: Gather the children to where you hold children’s time. Tell them to come on up as you have a special invitation to show them. Ask them if they have ever received an invitation to something special: birthday party, confirmation/first communion party, wedding, baptism, Christmas or Valentine’s (whatever!)

Faith+Share:Show them the envelope that holds the invitation. Ask them if you should look inside. (Hopefully they will say yes!) Take the invitation out and read it: “Peace I give to you! Come and see that I am here and believe in me!” Ask the children: “Who do you think this invitation is from?” After accepting all answers say, “It’s from Jesus! In our gospel story today Jesus invites all of the disciples including one named Thomas to see Jesus and believe that God raised him! Jesus also invites the disciples to go and tell everyone about him so that they may believe too! Jesus knew that the disciples had been afraid after his death and not all of the disciples believed Mary when she said that she had seen Jesus risen. But Jesus didn’t mind and came to the disciples to show them that he had risen. But Thomas was not there, so Jesus came again to show Thomas! Jesus comes to us too again and again and invites us to believe, even when it is hard to believe, and to tell others about Jesus being alive and with us always! Jesus invites us every day with his love!

Faith+Prayer: Prayer: Dear God, thank you for your son Jesus who loves us and is always with us. Just as Jesus invites us to believe in him help us to share Jesus with everyone we meet. Amen.

Faith+Blessing: each child an envelope and say to them “Peace to you from Jesus!”

Please reference April 15th children’s time supplement for a sample invitation that can be printed out.

Children’s Sermon Easter Sunday Year B Mark 16:1-8-or-John 20:1-18

Scriptures: Mark 16:1-8-or-John 20:1-18

Preparation:  Get a big piece of paper, like off an art roll, and write/paint/color “Alleluia” on it as big as you can.  Have it all rolled up so that no one can see what it says, but so that it will be easy to unroll like a banner.

Faith+Open:  Enter into the space as excited as you can.  Say things like, “Children, come quickly!  The most amazing thing has happened!  You’re never going to believe this!”

Faith+Share: : Do you know what has happened?  Have you heard the news?  Jesus isn’t dead!  He’s alive, ALLELUIA! 

Unroll your banner, you need to be really over the top about this, super excited, far beyond anything that the children are going to give back.

Wait, why am I so much more excited than you?  Have you heard this story before?  Oh, you have, well, it’s still exciting, don’t you think?  Maybe we need to look at this a different way.  Have you ever lost a special toy, and then found it again?  It’s pretty great when that happens.  Or, maybe more for your parents, putting on a pair of pants and finding $20 in the pocket.  It just makes your day so much better.  Now think about Jesus friends, they didn’t lose a toy, they lost their best friend, their teacher, the person they thought was God in human form.  He was gone.  Then, suddenly he’s not!  He’s alive and with them!  Now that would be an amazing day, don’t you think?

The story gets better, too.  Jesus came back with an unbelievable gift for everyone.  Jesus forgives us all for everything, and opens the gates of heaven.  So, when you think about it that way, even if you’ve heard the story before, it’s pretty exciting, isn’t it?

Ok, now that we’re all excited about the story, let’s try this again.  I’m going to shout, “Alleluia!  Christ is Risen!”  Then you say, “Christ is risen indeed!  Alleluia!”

Here we go:

Alleluia!  Christ is Risen!

Faith+Prayer:  Amazing God, WOW!  Your live and with us!  Help us to celebrate the good news of Christ risen and share the Easter blessing with everyone we meet.  Amen.

Faith+Blessing::  You say, “Alleluia!  Christ is Risen!”

They say, “Christ is risen indeed!  Alleluia!”

Children’s Sermon Maundy Thursday Year B John 13:1-17

Scriptures: John 13:1-17

Preparation:  Find a crown, or some other object that will make the children think of a classic fairy tale king, and a towel.  Put both the crown and towel into a bag with crown on top so you can get it out first, without showing the towel.

Faith+Open:  Start by reminding the children of the Palm Sunday chant, “Hosanna! Hosanna!”  Remember that great king we welcomed into Jerusalem on Sunday?  Now pull out the crown.

Faith+Share: :  I was thinking about that king, too, so I brought a crown.  What do you think about when you see a crown, or hear about a king? (wait for a few answers – since you are in “church mode” you might get a few answers of “Jesus!”  Try to get them to talk about the more fairy tale image of a mighty king.)  Yeah, kings are powerful and proud!  Do you think a king like that would come to your house and make your bed? Clean your room?  What about cleaning your bathroom for you?  No, probably not.

Well, listen to this, I know a story where a king sat down with his friends, then he washed their feet!  No kidding, he got a towel and a bowl of water and washed a bunch of stinky, dirty feet.  How would you feel about that?  A king washing your feet?  Well, by now you’ve probably figured out that I’m talking about Jesus.  That might be even more strange, don’t you think?  Jesus washing your feet!?!  I mean, he’s God’s son, he can do anything, and he chooses to wash a bunch of feet!  One of his friends, Simon Peter, feels the same way, he tried to get Jesus to stop, but Jesus says you must let me wash your feet, the smelliest, dirtiest part of you so that you can be really clean.  I think Jesus is talking about more than feet here.  Jesus cleans out all the bad things that we do, all the stinky parts of our life and forgives and loves us, even when we have stinky feet.  Come back on Sunday to hear the rest of the story!

Faith+Prayer:  Loving God, we thank you for washing away the stinky things that we do, and for forgiving us when we make mistakes.  Keep us ever in your love and forgiveness. Amen.

Faith+Blessing: Make the sign of the cross and say:

God be in my head
God be in my heart
God be on my left
God be on my right

Children’s Sermon Palm Sunday B Mark 11:1-11-or-John 12:12-16

Scriptures: Mark 11:1-11-or-John 12:12-16

Option 1: If your Palm Sunday Worship does not include a procession you can use children’s time to celebrate the story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.  With or without palms, have the children gather into a parade and walk around the sanctuary shouting “Hosanna! Hosanna!  Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna!”  Get them to make some noise!  Talk about how exciting it must have been to have see Jesus coming into the city, let them dance and shout.  Gather them together and use the prayer at the end.

Option 2:

Faith+Open:  As the children gather, make a significant change in your ritual.  For example, if you always have the children sit in a specific place, tell them that they can no longer sit there because someone spilled some really sticky glue on the floor and they would be stuck there forever.  Really ham it up.  Once you have a few of them going say “April Fool!”

Faith+Share: Do you guys know what an April fool’s joke is?  It’s what I just did to you, you try to convince people of something that’s just crazy or silly, then you say “April Fool!”  It’s one of my favorite days of the year, and this year it happens right on Palm Sunday, which I think is fantastic!  See, a really good April Fool’s joke makes people believe one thing, then surprises them with something else. 

NOTE:  This is where it is really important to make sure that you don’t make Holy Week into a joke.  Use the April Fool’s idea to get into the story, but don’t take it too far!

Today is the beginning of the greatest story in the Bible, the story of Holy Week.  I love it when Palm Sunday and April Fool’s Day are the same because the people in the story are expecting something when Jesus comes into Jerusalem.  The people who are cheering for Jesus are Israelites, and they are looking for the next great king to help them.  They imagine Jesus to be a king who will build an army, kick the Romans out of Jerusalem and save them from their enemies, but that’s not where the story goes.  Jesus certainly has come to save them, but not from the Romans, and not from any enemy that we can see.  Over the course of this next week, Jesus goes from being the crowd favorite to being the one person that everyone seems to hate.  His closest friends turn their backs on them, and the crowds that cheered for Jesus call for his crucifixion, call for Jesus to be killed.  The story doesn’t go the way they expect.

But there’s one more twist.  This craziest thing happens, something that people in the Bible even describe foolish or silly.  Jesus . . .well, you have to come back next week to hear the rest!

Faith+Prayer:  Hosanna!  Amazing God, we praise you for your love and mercy.  Travel with us through this Holy Week and be with us when the story doesn’t go the way we expect.  Amen.

Faith+Blessing: Make the sign of the cross and say:

God be in my head
God be in my heart
God be on my left
God be on my right

Faith+Home Connection April 2012

Scripture: John 20: 19-31

Faith + Open: Gather all in your home to a place where you can be comfortable. Light a candle and open with prayer.

God of life, you come to us wherever we are so that we may know you in our lives. Thank you for the gift of faith and may we share that gift with everyone we know. Amen.

Faith + Share: Read John 20: 19-31 in your favorite family Bible.

With young children have them act out the story for a different perspective.

With adults, have different people read the different parts in the story.

Questions For children: Tell of a time when you were afraid? Who were you with? What made you feel better? We are all afraid sometimes, but when we are afraid we know that just as Jesus came to the disciples to give them peace, Jesus is with you and will give you peace too! Who can you tell about the peace of Jesus to?

Questions For adults: The disciples were hiding and afraid to go out into the world. Jesus came and gave them his peace and told them that they were now to go out into the world with the transforming message of God’s forgiveness and love. When we are afraid God comes to us, not once but over and over to share God’s peace with us and to remind us that we are not people who live in fear but in the proclamation of the good news of the resurrection of Jesus and we must go out and tell the world. What holds you back from fully embracing the message of Easter? Do we live as if Easter is real? What holds you back from telling your friends and neighbors about the love of God?

Faith + Serve: There are people afraid all over the world for a myriad of reasons: war, famine, violence, disease just to name a few. Begin by praying for those who live daily in fear for God’s Spirit of peace to flow into their lives. Then go to http://www.elca.org/Our-Faith-In-Action/Responding-to-the-World/ELCA-World-Hunger.aspx and read about how you can make a difference in someone’s life!

Faith + Blessing: Jesus came and told the disciples “Peace be with you” and breathed the Holy Spirit on them. Give each other this blessing this month everyday:

May the Spirit and Peace of God be with you today. You can either give each other the “peace sign” or make the sign of the cross on each other.

Faith + Close: Extinguish the candle, give each other the blessing and then pray: God of life, we want to live as Easter people. Breathe on us everyday your gift of peace and love so that we may carry that out into the world. May all of creation be at peace! Amen

~BW

Childrens Sermon Lent 5B John 12:20-33 or Jeremiah 31:31-34

Scriptures: John 12:20-33 or Jeremiah 31: 31-34

Supplies: a cross magnet (this can be made by attaching a magnet to any sort of cross-but make sure it is a strong magnet!) a large plastic tray and metal nails (be sure that they are have iron in them)

Faith +Open: gather the children to the space where you hold children’s time. Ask them if they know what a magnet does. Accept all answers. Show them the cross magnet and the nails. Ask them what they think will happen if the magnet comes close to the nails. Accept all answers then show them!

Faith + Share: The nails should have stuck to the magnet (practice this one before worship!). Say: “In our Bible readings today we hear about how God loves us and wants us to be close. God calls this being God’s people and Jesus said that all people will be drawn to him. Just like this magnet “draws” the nails to it so does Jesus on the cross. Because Jesus died on the cross for us we are now as close to God as these nails are to the magnet. Does the magnet let go of the nails? NO! And God never lets go of us either! God’s love is a very strong bond!”

Faith + Blessing: today as you go back to your families I am going to make the sign of the cross on your forehead and say “God never lets you go.” So this week you can bless your family and friends with these same words! We all need to hear that God is always with us!

Faith + Close: Prayer: Dear God, we are so grateful that you never let us go! Remind us that you are with us always. We thank you for Jesus who keeps us close to you! Amen.

Additional idea: have a cross magnet for each child OR even each person/ family in your congregation.

BW 3/16/2012

Lent 4B John 3:14-21 March 18, 2012

Scripture: John 3:14-21

Preparation: Get the book Mama do you Love Me orPapa Do You Love Me by Barbara M. Joosse
**other books you could use: Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown, Guess How Much I love Youby Sam McBratney

Faith+Open: Gather children to you. Today we are reminded how much God loves the world and that Jesus came not to condemn us–not to tell us all how bad we are but to save us, to make everyone children of God. Sometimes we think about God as a mom or a dad or grandparent or someone who takes care of us and shows us love even when do do things to frustrate them. Does that ever happen in your house? I have a story to share with you today to help us think about God’s love. 

Faith+Share: Read the story you have chosen. All these books use images to help explain unconditional love. You can shorten the story and pick favorite pages as well. End with summary statement and/or saying John 3: 16-17

Faith+Prayer: Jesus, you came to the world to show us that your love is high, wide, deep, long, and never ending. Hold us in your big love always. Amen

Faith+Blessing: Make sign of cross and say:
God in my head
God in my heart
God on my left
God on my right

~LB