Tag Archives: God’s promises

Growing Together in God’s Promises Jeremiah 1: 4-10 Epiphany 4, Year C, January 31, 2016

20130822-223454.jpg This would be a great Sunday to have children/youth of all ages in leadership during worship, education classes and any other opportunity. If not actual leadership (perhaps for safety reasons) then have the children/youth as partners with adults for leadership. Including the pastor! Here is a suggestion for a children’s sermon that can be led by the children fairly easily.

Gather the children in the middle of the sanctuary in the main aisle if you have one or some sort of central location. Ask the children if they have ever taught any one something new. (Accept all answers.) Ask if they have ever taught an adult something new. (Accept all answers.) Tell them that today-they will be the teachers and leaders and this children’s sermon is really for the adults. Have the children say to the congregation, “You are sent by God! Do not be afraid! God will tell you what to say!” Have the congregation say those phrases back to the children/youth. Ask a random adult of a couple of different ages (18-35, 35-50, 50-65, 65+)  what they would like to say to the children today. Then ask a teenager and  younger child what they want to tell the adults about God today.

We need each other! We need all of us together to proclaim God’s word of love, hope and grace. God works through us all and even those whom we don’t know or are different from us.

20130822-224425.jpg Have a child or two (or another adult and child) do the closing prayer. Let them make it up on the spot!

FaithCross_Worship God gifts us all to proclaim God’s good news to all people in the world. God’s promises grow in us all, too. Have small terra cotta pots, soil and some flower seeds on a table. Place the table on tile or linoleum or have a tarp under the table. Invite the congregation to write or draw images or words of God’s promises on the pots. Then they can add soil and seeds. The actual potting could also be done after worship in another location. In this time of winter, watching new growth can be a reminder that God is always doing a new thing, even when it seems that the world is frozen and stagnate.

20130822-223908.jpg +God formed you and knows you+


December 14, 2012

As I write this, my heart is breaking. My heart is breaking for parents who will not be tucking their child into bed tonight or any night. My heart is breaking for a school that should be a place of fun, learning, curiosity, love, friendship and safety but is now a sign of how fragile security can be as well as a sign of the reality of darkness in our lives. My heart is breaking for a community that is shattered and will need love and support to grieve and journey toward healing. My heart is breaking for our world: for people who live in their own hell and feel that taking another life, as well as their own, manifests itself as a viable option; for the deep brokenness of our own humanity that doesn’t reach out to those in need of help; for families that are now forever altered; and for the pervasive feeling of hopelessness and helplessness that permeates our souls.

These are feelings that have flooded me before. My own personal grief from the death of my youngest child almost eight years ago finds the crack in my armor on a day like today and invades my being. My child’s life was not taken by human violence but from the violence of disease. On a day like today, I am transported back to the moment when I was told my son was dead. The vivid memory of being cold, numb and wailing all at the same time flashes in me as if it happened yesterday. I am saddened that, while thousands of miles apart, I am now connected to those parents in Connecticut. Not that I know their specific loss but as parent, I am tethered to them by bonds of grief, loss of dreams of tomorrow and the shattering of our souls. To lose a child is to lose a piece of your own being.

But as I write this and my heart is breaking, my heart is also being pieced back together and swaddled. My heart, and all of our hearts, is in God’s loving and compassionate hands. God weeping with us, lamenting with us and railing with us gently uses clothes of love, peace and healing to swaddle us when we need it the most. Swaddling clothes of a friend’s hug and compassionate words, swaddling clothes of prayers lifted up, swaddling clothes of a friend who can hold our words of grief, brokenness and devastation, the swaddling of the interconnectedness of all of humanity as people of God.

God just doesn’t understand our grief, suffering and brokenness but fully experiences them with us . God’s own son, wrapped in swaddling clothes, was born into a world of brutality, poverty, suffering and death. In the manger we see don’t see a perfect world but a world that God is deeply concerned about, loves and wants to make new. In the swaddling of baby Jesus comes the swaddling of God’s unconditional and forever love and grace- no matter how bad it gets, no matter how we question our world, God’s presence or our own humanity-for all people and all of creation. Jesus lived in our suffering, diseases of the body and mind and died in the reality of brutality and violence. But God declares that death and sorrow are not the last words, neither for Jesus and the disciples nor for us. God had the last word on Easter morning in the exclamation point of the empty tomb. God offers this in our sorrow, God who raised Jesus and overcame suffering and death, that death, suffering and sorrow will not win. Dawn comes after a long, dark night, new life springs from a dead seed, and resurrection is the gift that God offers to all. This is God’s promise now and forever and this is my hope and help not just for me but for all people of God. Amen.