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Have the children gather in their usual place without you. Walk around the worship space asking them if they can hear you. Sometimes be loud or with your mic on, sometimes have your mic off, whisper and one time just think it to yourself and then ask them if they can hear you. When you reach them, ask them, “Could you always hear me? Was it always easy to hear me? When I didn’t speak at all, you had no idea what I wanted to communicate to you. If we have something important to tell one another we have to be sure that the other person can hear us.”
In our Bible story today, there was a man Bartimaeus who was born blind. He couldn’t see anything at all. But he had really good hearing. He heard that Jesus was coming to town and he knew that Jesus would help him. So he called out to Jesus for help. Jesus heard him and helped him. Jesus said that he was healed because Bartimaeus knew that Jesus would hear him. Jesus wants us to know that he will always hear us, whether we talk to God loudly, quietly or just in our hearts without saying any words out loud. Jesus is always with us, sees us, hears us and loves us no matter where we are or what we are doing. (Depending on the size of the group you can ask the following question) What do you want to ask Jesus today? Ask anything because Jesus promises to hear you! Sometimes we can’t always tell that Jesus has heard us and we wonder but that’s ok. We can even ask Jesus if he’s heard us! There is not anything that we can’t tell Jesus!
Jesus you promise to see us and to hear us always. We are grateful that we can ask you anything at all. We love to share your closeness and love with others. May we be like Bartimaeus, confident to call out to you no matter what. Amen.
Set up on a table a prayer station with post-it notes and pens. Have a basket to place the notes in. Invite people to ask Jesus anything they want on those post-it notes. They can place them in the basket to be read during the prayers in worship or taken home with them for their own prayer time (or both!). It’s also Reformation Sunday in many congregations. Have a brief reminder of the history and how Martin Luther posted questions for discussion on the door at Wittenburg. You could also have people place their post-it notes on the worship space door. Be sure to close the prayer with words of assurance that Jesus always hears us even when we aren’t sure or can’t see the outcome we desire.
Here is the devotion page for Reformation Sunday, October 25, 2015. (Click on the words!)
Just click on the picture to download the PDF file!
Did you miss a week? Go to the Weekly Devotion page to download past weeks!
As the children come forward be playing with a lump of play-dough. Talk about how what is so cool about play-dough is that you can make it into anything that you want. You can make a snake, a letter, a shape, whatever your imagination allows (make one or two of these things if you can). If we don’t like what we have made we can start over and try again, over and over-that’s the really neat part of play-dough.
In a book of the Bible called Jeremiah, the people had forgotten about God. They did not remember to pray to God or that God loved them very much. God wanted the people to remember that they are loved and so God tells the people that God will make a new promise with them. God will forgive them for forgetting God and will help them to know about God in their lives. God reminds them that they belong to him/her and that nothing changes that. God will work in their hearts to help them remember to whom they belong and forgive the things that they had done that were not nice.
God does that with us too! We know that changes us and makes us new, day after day, over and over. Each day God promises to be with us and to help us to live God’s love in the world.
Here is a piece of play-dough for each of you to have. Let’s make a heart out of it to remind us that God changes our hearts to live in God’s love and to share God’s love every single day.
Preparation: symbols of freedom like: flag, Bible, peace signs, statue of liberty, cross, hymnal (the old red hymnal was a sign of freedom in Namibia, Africa as it was given to them in a time of occupation and war but was used to declare their freedom to have english as a common language when the country gained independence)
Faith+Gather: Gather the children with you and welcome them. Say, “I have some items with me today… let’s see if we can figure out what they have in common” Have items in a bag or hidden and pull them out one at a time. Save Bible and/or cross for last. Ask kids to see if they can come up with their common element. Give them hints like, “What does this symbol mean?”
Faith+Share: After you have explored items for a minute say, “All these things are a little different and they do have different meanings, but one thing they have in common is that they bring to mind the word ‘freedom’. See the flag is a symbol of freedom for our country and the statue of liberty is a symbol of welcome and freedom not only for us in the United States but to those who come from other places. I also have the Bible here that is a different kind of symbol of freedom–this Bible is in English and did you know that a long time the Bible was only written in Greek and then in Latin? So people who didn’t know those languages could not read the Bible. Today we are talking about the day of reformation which is a day we remember a part of the history of our church but also a day that we look forward to how we are always being made new by Jesus. Part of the history of reformation is that a man named Martin Luther thought it was very important for everyone to be able to read the Bible and to teach their children what it says. So he translated the Bible and that is how the Bible is now like a symbol of freedom because it means that we can all read and know the stories of God. I also have a cross here–in today’s gospel Jesus says, ‘The truth will make you free–you all sin and are not perfect and cannot be without sin, but I have come to make you free.’ (paraphrase, you can read the scripture directly). Jesus went to the cross for you and for me and for all people, so this cross is a symbol of that freedom that we have through Jesus. It is freedom to love one another and help one another and tell the stories of the Bible to show God’s love for the world.”
Faith+Prayer: Let’s pray together. Jesus, you make us free. Thank you for your love. Thank you for the Bible which tells us your story. Amen.
Faith+Blessing: Make the sign of the cross and say + May you know God’s love and freedom today and always.
**Additional Idea: You could also do a children’s message that simply explains parts of reformation and how the Bible got translated. You could show many Bibles and talk about how we use scripture all throughout worship. Then use stickers as suggested by Worshipping With Children at this link to have kids find places in the bulletin where there are words from the Bible.
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Preparation: something you can say or sing ‘by heart’–UPDATE and a Greek or Hebrew or Latin Bible.
Faith+Open: Gather the Children. Do you know anything by heart? A song or a poem that you can say without looking at paper or having someone help you? I know _____________ by heart. Share a short song, Bible verse, piece of the catechism, whatever you know by heart!
Faith+Share: Jeremiah tells us that God says, “I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” What do you think it means to have something written on your heart? (you can refer to last week’s children’s message if you used the Shema. Ask them if they were able to say this week and if they know it by heart)
It means that because God first gave us this gift of love and faith, we can know something in our hearts we can live in a way that shows we know God. What are ways that we can show we know God? (how we treat others and ourselves, creation, reading the Bible, learning songs and verses that help us remember God loves us).
Show them your ancient language Bible. Ask a child to read to you from it--Oh you can’t! So if you can’t read what the scripture says it makes it difficult to know what it is that God has written on our hearts and they ways to know God. Martin Luther, a man who lived a long time ago, wanted people to have the chance to know God through the Bible and to learn things by heart not only by listening but by reading them. Before him only people who knew an ancient language could read what God’s word said. Now we have Bibles in all languages and all kinds of formats to help us know God by heart.
Faith+Prayer and Blessing: My hope for you is to know some things by heart. Let’s pray, “God help us to know you and to know that you love us no matter who we are–we are always yours.” Amen
Let’s work on knowing by heart that God is with us all the time by learning this blessing(or saying our blessing if you use this often OR pick one you do use often)
Make sign of + saying:
God in my head
God in my heart
God on my left
God on my right
1. Teach them a song like Love the Lord your God (see Children’s Sermon Pentecost 19A)
2. Teach them the Lord’s Prayer or another prayer
3. Have the children share songs or stories or poems they know by heart.