Prepare: For the children’s sermon – have some of the wafers or bread that you use for communion. Ideally, refer to what is on the altar for communion for the service that you are in, but if that is not possible, then have enough wafers/bread to serve communion to the whole congregation.
For the worship station – have some information about hunger/homelessness in or near your community. Even better if you have information about a year-round shelter. (Example of this below!)
Have the children gather around the altar table, or at a table where you have set up some wafers/bread to look a little like communion. Ask them if they know what is set up there and why? This could be a good time to get people talking about communion with their children!
Today’s story is not about communion, but it made me think about communion. It made me think about communion because of how we celebrate communion. Communion is an amazing feast where everyone gets fed and filled up, but not filled with food. See this little amount of bread? This is enough for all of the people here to have some, and to be filled with God’s good gifts of mercy, grace, love and forgiveness – and there are leftovers!
This story is about abundance from nothing! There thousands of hungry people and just a few small loaves, like these, and a few small fish, and Jesus decided that everyone could just share. Everyone ate, everyone was full and there were leftovers! More leftover than they started with!
Even when we think that God is far away, or that we don’t deserve God’s love, there is always more than enough of God’s love for all of us, and then even more!
The worship station could go a few ways. One way would be to have some information out about people who need help. You could focus on homeless in your community, or on people facing drought or war or other natural disasters. Offer a chance for people to do something. It can be as simple as a prayer station, or you can set up a basket for donations, or you could have a sign-up sheet to help at a soup kitchen, or for a habitat build. You could have blank cards out for children (or adults) to make cards for people.
Another way you could go is to show a video, or if that is not possible tell a story, about something that is happening in your community. Below is an example from my community about an organization here that is helping people get back on their feet. After the video/story, open a chance for conversation about in small groups about what it means to have your needs met, or not met. Create a space for people to offer public prayers.