Preparation: This children’s time is loosely based off of the Gospel reading and is also an opportunity to talk to children about complex and frightening topics such as super typhoon Haiyan. Have a large cross available for the children to put sticky notes on. Have several stacks of sticky notes, pencils, pens and markers. You will also need either a cross sticker or some sort of simple cross to give everyone in your congregation. Invite the adults to participate with the children.
Have the children gather around the cross. Ask the children if they know why the cross is important to us. (Accept all answers.) Tell the children that yes, Jesus died on the cross and it is how we know that God understands our fear, our hurting and is always with us. Jesus on the cross reveals that God is with us even in some pretty scary times and places. We have all had scary experiences haven’t we and we worry about being alone, sick, hurt or scared. This is completely normal and we all worry. Every single person here-even adults-worry about these same things.
We heard Jesus mention some pretty scary things in the Bible this morning didn’t we? Jesus knows that we hear difficult things on the news or on the computer like storms or other stuff. BUT Jesus wants us to know that even if these scary things happen-we are not alone. We have a whole group of people here and in our neighborhoods that are with us; we have family, friends AND Jesus promises to be with us NO MATTER WHAT. It doesn’t matter where we are or what we are doing-Jesus promises to be there. Jesus says this in the Bible: Matthew 28: 20 “I am with you until the end of the age” which means forever.
But that doesn’t mean that we still won’t worry, right? I do! I worry! Do you know what I do when I am worried? I might talk to my husband or my friend but I always pray and talk to God about what is scaring me. I have some sticky notes here for all of us (including adults!). Let’s all write or draw a picture of what is worrying us or scaring us. (This might take some time so you will need to allow for this. Have older children help younger children or adults help.)
When you are done writing/drawing, put your worry on the cross. Jesus knows what it is to be afraid and hurt and promises to listen and be with you when you are scared and hurt. The cross can remind us of that. After you put your worry on the cross come and pick up a cross sticker to take home to put in your room, on your refrigerator or another place where you will see it. The cross can remind you that when you are afraid God is there and to tell God all your worries and fears.
Dear God, sometimes we are scared. Thank you for promising to be with us and for our friends, family and neighbors who help us when we are worried or scared. We know that you love us and care for us always. In Jesus name, amen.