CHILDREN’S SERMON, 7TH SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY (LUKE 6:27-38)

Prepare: Ideally this works best as a little skit. You can set up something with another worship leader, or with one of the children. You can also try to just set it up to happen as you go! The idea is that the other person takes something from you and walks away. It can be almost anything, your cup of coffee, a pencil, your Bible, anything! You can work out what the goal of them taking it was – it could be because they don’t have a Bible, or that they needed something to write with, or that they were just trying to have fun and didn’t mean to hurt your feelings. You decide.

Set your skit in motion as the children gather! Have the other person in the skit walk up to you and take whatever they were set up to take from you. Say something like, “Hey! What are you doing? That’s mine!” They should respond with something typically bully-ish, like, “Well it’s mine now!”

OK – wait a minute . . . I read something about this very situation in the Bible! Even though they just took something from me I should treat them with love. I think it’s today’s Gospel reading! Let me look . . . yes, Jesus says that we should love our enemies, we should treat other people as we would want them to treat us. Ok, that’s super not easy in this case. I need that back and they were just really mean to me. I don’t want to be loving! And I would never just walk up and grab something from someone, so why should I have to be nice back?

I have a hard time with this, too. Jesus is asking a lot of us. It’s hard to be loving when we don’t feel loved in return. It’s hard to be caring when we are afraid we will be hurt. It’s hard to give up the things that we like and care about because someone else might need them more.

And it gets even harder! Being loving and caring doesn’t mean you should put yourself in danger of getting hurt, and it doesn’t mean that you should just let people take anything they want from you. Because when you think about how you would want to be treated, you would probably want to know if what you did hurt someone else’s feelings, right?

This is one of those really hard stories from Jesus. It was difficult for the disciples to understand, and it’s still difficult for us!

So (turn to the person who took you stuff), I don’t think that you really wanted to be mean to me. Is there some reason that you took that? Is there something that you need?

(let the story play out the way you decided when you set it up)

Loving God, you give us some many good things, and so often we forget that the people around us are part of those good things! Teach us to be loving, especially to the people who are the hardest to love. Amen.

God Loves you no matter what!

Make a “ways to be loving” list. Even better if this is part of a congregational idea to think about being loving as a church in the community. Ask people for ideas about how to care for the neighborhood, or for a park, or for the people in your town, etc.

WEEKLY DEVOTION PAGE THE Seventh SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY– LECTIONARY 7, YEAR C (FEBRUARY 18-24, IF BEFORE TRANSFIGURATION)

Here is the devotion page for the Seventh Sunday after Epiphany, Lectionary 7 (February 18-24, last Sunday before Transfiguration) – Year C. (Click on the words!)

NOTE:  There has been some confusion about the dates on the Devotion pages.  The dates are the range of Sundays that the pages are for.  If you are using these starting on a Sunday in the range, then you are using the correct one!  Read below for a longer explanation.

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

Lectionary dates and time after Pentecost

We are working on developing a complete 3 year cycle of devotion pages for the Revised Common Lectionary.  To make this really work the pages need to be tied to the lectionary Sunday, not the specific date.  For most seasons of the church year this is pretty easy to do.  The First Sunday in Advent is 4 weeks before Christmas, every year, so the date floats around, but the readings are always the same.  It is similar for Epiphany, Lent and Easter.  The Second Sunday after Epiphany (Note that Epiphany dates have a range, too) is always the same readings, as is the Second Sunday of Lent and Easter.  Pentecost and the season after are different.  Unlike the other seasons where the first reading of the season is set, in the time after pentecost the last reading is set.  The readings for Christ the King are always lectionary 34 and Christ the King Sunday is always on the Sunday that is between November 20 and 26, inclusive of those dates (five weeks before Christmas).  This wouldn’t be a big deal if Easter was also set, but Easter moves – by as much as 5 weeks!  So the Day of Pentecost can be closer or further away from Christ the King, depending on when Easter falls.  So if the Easter is early, the season after Pentecost is longer, and there are more readings leading up to Christ the King.  If Easter is late, there are fewer.  Since the last Sunday is of the season is set, that means the early Sundays are not always the same readings.  For example – in 2017 the 2nd Sunday after Pentecost used the readings for Lectionary 11 (Easter was relatively late that year).  In 2018 the 2nd  Sunday after Pentecost used Lectionary 9 (Easter was early).  So, indicating which Sunday after Pentecost on the devotion pages is not clear from year to year – so we use lectionary numbers that are tied to a range of Sundays.

Children’s Sermon, 6th Sunday after Epiphany (luke 6:17-26)

Prepare: Bring a small simple snack that the kids can eat. Like Goldfish crackers, or rice crackers. Nothing big or fancy!

As the children gather ask a few of them what the best part of last week was (know that this will take some time!). Then ask a few of them what was really hard about last week (again, this will take some time!). If you need it to be shorter you can volunteer your own best and worst for the week, or make something up that leads in that direction.

Most weeks, and even most days have good things and bad things, or highs and lows, or, to use the words from the Gospel today, blessings and woes.

I was thinking about what Jesus was saying and I was a little confused about it. (if you have already read the story you can just remind them, if you haven’t already heard it, read at least the blessings and woes now.)

What does that even mean? If I’m hungry I’m blessed? If I’m full then woe to me? That seems really backwards, doesn’t it? Let’s look at this a different way. OK, I’m going to give about half of you a cracker, so let’s divide the group in half. You guys get a cracker! You can eat it right now! The rest of you don’t get one. But you will get one later, ok?

Alright, now about half of you have had a cracker – woe to you! You don’t get another cracker! But you over here haven’t had one yet, but one is coming! You are blessed! Now does it make more sense what Jesus is saying? Sometimes having everything you think you want doesn’t make things better, but know that good things are still coming can make things better!

Giving and gracious God, we thank you for all the things that we have and all the things that you give. Help us learn to be content and happy with the things that we have. Help us to learn how to share the good things we have with those who need it. Amen.

God loves you and know your needs.

For the worship station invite your congregation to pray for each other! Create a “Blessings” station and a “Woes” station that are facing each other. People who are feeling blessed go to the “blessing” station to pray for the people who are at the woe station. No one has to say anything about what their blessings or woes are, just be present where they need to be!

And they can switch! Go to both stations!

Let us walk with you on the journey of faith. Whether your feet are big or small, fresh or worn, running or crawling, God's love goes with you and you stand on holy ground.