Gather the children in the back of your worship space. Ask them what they know about what was celebrated on Easter and what they know about the morning that the women found the tomb empty. As you are talking, begin to walk to wherever your font is in your space. Be sure that the children are following you. Keep talking until you get to the font. At the font, say, “We come together every Sunday to tell each other about Jesus in our lives. When we baptize people (children, babies and adults), we tell them how much God loves them and is with them forever. We also talk about how we are going to keep learning about God’s love through the Bible, The Ten Commandments, The Apostles’ Creed, The Lord’s Prayer, worship, and Holy Communion.” Then ask them what they know about Jesus from the Bible and begin walking toward the table. When you get to the table, say, “We know a lot about Jesus from the Bible, but in bread and wine, Jesus is known to us in real and concrete way! Give them all bread to eat (if this is a concern as it might look like communion for children who do not yet receive just hold up the bread). Jesus is truly with us just like this bread is truly with us!”
In our Bible story today, some disciples were walking and talking about Jesus’ death and resurrection. A man joined them and began to tell them about what the Bible said about Jesus’ and God’s love. But they didn’t know it was Jesus until they were sitting at dinner with him and he blessed bread and gave it to them to eat! They had been talking to Jesus that whole day! Even though they didn’t know it and they were sad about Jesus dying, Jesus was with them, even as they walked to a different town! Jesus is with us no matter where we walk, drive, ride our bikes or run. Jesus promises to be with us. We can talk to each other about Jesus no matter where we are too!
Everywhere our feet go, Jesus is there! Have different colors of construction paper, pencils, markers and scissors available. Invite people to trace their feet, cut out the tracings, write or draw how they know Jesus is with them in their daily lives, or how they experience the presence of Jesus in their daily lives. Hang them on a wall, or a bulletin board for a week and then invite them to take them home as a reminder.
Dear Jesus, you walk with us no matter where we go. Open our eyes to see you in our midst. Open our ears to hear your words of promise and love. Open our hearts to share the story of the good news of your death and resurrection that is for all people in all times and in all places. Give us your Holy Spirit to renew us for the journey. Amen.
As you have the children come forward have a large piece of butcher paper and numerous crayons available on the floor. Invite them to write their name on the butcher paper as you begin. (Just first names are fine for time sake.) Say, “When you meet someone for the first time, what’s usually the first thing you tell someone about yourself? Yes, your name! Our names are very important and they help other people talk to us, call us on the phone, email us, send us a card or even a present! Without our names, life could be very confusing, couldn’t it? Our names help people remember what is special about us and us about them. Do we learn and remember names of people who we don’t see very often? No, it’s hard to know the names of people who we don’t go to school with, live in our neighborhood or have never even met! But we learn the names of people who are important to us and we see a lot in our lives. Knowing someone’s name is a way to say “I care about you!”
In our story today, Jesus sends the disciples out to all kinds of different towns and cities where they will meet all kinds of different people. Jesus reminds the disciples and us, that the most important thing to remember as we go along in our life meeting new people, learning new things, and telling people about God is that God knows our name, everything about us and says that we belong to God. When people don’t like you, or don’t want to even meet you, even though that’s hard, it’s ok because God knows you and your name and says “I care about you!” When we baptize babies, children or adults, we say their name because we know that God is saying that we all belong to God, God knows us and promises to always call us by name to God.
Besides learning people’s names, how can we tell people that God cares for them? (Accept all answers.) There are all sorts of ways to show God’s love! A few ways we do that as a church are….(Fill in with ministries of your congregation). And you are never too little, young or old to help in one of those activities! As you go back to your seat, I want you to draw a heart around someone else’s name (not your own) to show that God cares for them.
(Invite the children and the whole congregation to join hands for the prayer. Have everyone hold their hands out with thumbs to the left. Then when you join hands, you are supporting someone’s hand and someone else is supporting you. The true meaning of community!) Dear Jesus, thank you for caring for us. You know our names and everything about us. Help us to share you love and care with our friends, with our families and with people that we meet. May your peace fill us and the whole earth. Amen.
Take the sheet of butcher paper with the children’s names on it from children’s sermon and place it on a table with more crayons, markers, etc. Have people write their own name as well as draw a heart around someone else’s name. Invite the congregation to pray for the person whose name they drew a heart around. And to try and meet them if they don’t already know each other!
Gather the children around the suitcase or bag that you have packed with some essentials for travel. Include the items listed in the text (purse or wallet, bag, sandals). Ask the children if they have ever packed a bag for vacation, over night to grandparents or a friends house. What did they take with them? What could they not leave behind?
Say: Today our story in the Bible is about Jesus sending people out to travel around and tell people about God. Jesus told them not to take anything with them as they went from town to town! Does that seem like a good idea? No, not really to me either! They did not have extra money to buy food or to buy something that they needed. Jesus said that they should trust that the people in the towns will give them what they need. The disciples job was to stay focused on telling people about God and God’s love for everyone.
Jesus did not want them to have heavy bags to carry or to think about collecting more stuff as they went from town to town. If we have too much stuff with us we get worried about carrying it, storing it, if someone will take it, etc. We would forget why we were there: to tell the story of God! Sometimes we think that in order to tell someone about God or show someone God’s love we need lots of stuff, We might think that we need a Bible with us, or our Sunday school papers or that we need to know a lot of details or have read every single word of the Bible in order to tell someone about God. Jesus is saying that we don’t need anything but ourselves. All we need is to just take time with people-stuff and lots of knowledge isn’t the most important thing. But our love and time is! Jesus promises to be with us as we share God’s love so we don’t have to worry about anything else. So I don’t need this bag of stuff to go another town and tell people about God. But I still might enjoy my toothbrush, huh? 🙂