As the children come forward give them a handshake or a high-five and say “I give you peace.” They might think that’s a bit strange but that’s ok!
Once you’ve greeted everyone say, “Did I tell each of you “I give you peace”? Good! Why do you think I did that? (Accept all answers) Yes, those are all good reasons! In our Bible story this morning Jesus says that he gives his peace to the disciples. Do you think that they were confused by that too? I think so! It’s a strange thing to give someone peace…it’s not the same as giving a sandwich, a toy or a sticker…Jesus knew that he would not always be with the disciples or with us. He would be going to be with God in heaven. Jesus also knew that sometimes the disciples might get scared because there are scary things in the world.
Do you ever get scared? What scares you? (Share something that scares you.) Those things can scare us! When you get scared what do you do? Who do you run to? (Hopefully they will answer, mom, dad, grandma, grandpa or some family/close friend.) Yes! We run to someone who loves us and will help us! Does that make us feel better? It does me! I don’t like to be scared and alone…I think that’s what Jesus means by giving us peace, Jesus reminds us that we have each other to help us remember that we are never truly alone. If we’re scared and our mom, dad, etc. are not around, Jesus is! This makes us feel better! Did you know in church we offer each other peace in our worship service? We call it the passing of the peace and we shake hands or give hugs and say, “Peace be with you.” We do this to remind ourselves that we are not alone! We have this whole community around us! Praise God!
Have strips of cloth cut out from one piece of fabric so that everyone receives the same color. Invite the congregation to write with a fine tip permanent marker the words “I give you the peace of Jesus.” Have them take the strip of cloth with them to their seats. If your congregation has as part of you liturgy the “Passing of the Peace,” invite them to tie this strip of cloth around the wrist of someone as they offer a sign of peace. If not, choose a time to do this in your worship.
God, Jesus and Holy Spirit, you are one and we are also connected as one. May we share your peace and love with everyone that we meet. Remind us when we are scared that you are with us and will never leave us. We pray for your peace to reign in our hearts and our world. Amen.
+The Peace of Christ be with you always+
Gather the children in a different spot than you normally do maybe at the font, or just on a different side of the worship space. Then ask them if they have ever had to go to a new school or daycare place. Or maybe they joined a new soccer team, dance team, swim team, etc. What was that like? Was it a bit scary to go somewhere new? Did you have to learn new things and new people? Yes! But probably your parents stayed with you for a little while anyway to get you settled, or maybe your brother or sister was with you or a friend. When we go new places we like to someone we know with us don’t we!
In our story from Mark this morning, Jesus invites his disciples to go somewhere new. Jesus simply says to the disciples, “Let’s go to the other side!” The “other side” of the sea of Galilee was a place where the disciples had never been before but they knew that there would be different people, different food and stuff they couldn’t even imagine! But Jesus said “Let’s Go!” and they got in the boat and went. Now when they were on their way a storm came up and they woke Jesus up for help. Jesus told the storm and the disciples “Peace! Be Still!” and the storm stopped! The disciples were amazed! But they learned that even when stuff is hard Jesus is there and will be with us, when we are afraid, somewhere new, and with new people. It’s kind of weird having children’s sermon here isn’t it? But you know what? Jesus is here!!!
You know what? God gives us all kinds of people in our lives to be with us and to remind us of God’s love. Today, we are celebrating all of the men in our community who care for us. Doesn’t matter if they are actually your dad, grandpa, or uncle, God calls all men to be caring adults for you and in this community! How can we tell other people about how Jesus is with them when they are scared, worried or alone?
(Have a carnation or a daisy for the children to give to each man (18 and up) in the congregation this morning.)
Create on a large piece of paper a simple boat. Have post-it notes available. Invite people to write or draw on the post-it notes prayers for where they are experiencing change in their lives. Offer these prayers during your community prayers during worship. Invite people to take a post-it note that is not their own home to pray for someone else during the week.
Have cards and pens available to write cards with words of encouragement for people to take to give to those they encounter this week in need of knowing that God is with them always. You can use the blessing below as a prompt.
We are all in the boat with Jesus together!
Dear Jesus, you tell us to get in the boat and follow you. We are sometimes afraid of new places, people and situations but you promise to always be with us with a word of peace. In the name of the one who stilled the storm, Jesus Christ, amen.
+Do not be afraid, Jesus gives you peace+
Change is good! Or at least we hope that you will think so. Beginning June 8th, (Pentecost Sunday) Faith Formation Journeys weekly devotional will have a new look and focus. We will also be making some small changes to the Children’s Sermons. Why you ask? We don’t know about you, but in our congregations (Colorado, USA) the gathering for worship that happens primarily on Sunday mornings is shifting, faith formation opportunities and experiences are shifting and how faith communities are engaging their neighborhoods in which they are located is shifting. God is up to something and we feel that it’s very exciting and we want to walk with you and your faith community on this journey! We recognize that faith practices that are accessible to households of all configurations is vital and necessary, so some of those pieces in our weekly devotional will be enhanced. How is it that we can live the message from the biblical scripture in our daily lives? How do we practice thinking deeply about how God meets all of us in our lives, whether we are 8 years old and in the third grade or 80 years old and in an assisted living facility?
We want to equip our readers to really wrestle with what it means to live a life of faith in the love and mercy of Jesus Christ. We hope to help congregations connect what happens on Sunday morning with what happens in people’s lives Monday-Saturday and to what God is doing in their neighborhood. In our “Faith + Connect” section, ideas for doing just that will be offered.
We also recognize that part of this shift is also about what happens when the community gathers for Sunday (or whenever) worship. The insight that active engagement with the biblical text enhances learning for all ages as well as retention of the message. Opportunities for all ages gathered to interact with one another during worship is a part of this engagement. In our Children’s Sermons, we will be adding a worship station idea or two each week to help you spark ideas for your context for cross generational worship opportunities.
As always, we are grateful for the support and the feedback from those of you who frequent this resource. Please give us your honest thoughts on these changes. We would love to start a dialogue on this site for idea swapping, support and affirmation as we try and keep up with what the Holy Spirit is doing among us all! God is at work in the world and we are blessed in our call to participate. It’s an exciting time to be the Church and we are blessed to be the Church with all of you! In Christ, Brigette, Gus and Leta