Gather the children. If you have video capabilities (and the appropriate licensing), show the short clip from Toy Story where Woody sees Andy’s name on the bottom of his boot. If you don’t have the video option-tell the story from the movie. Odds are someone has seen it!
Say, “Andy had written his name on his toys not just so that other people would know that they belong to Andy but so that the toys knew that they were so special to Andy as well. Do you write your name on some of your toys or school supplies? It doesn’t mean that we don’t share our special things but we often only put our name on stuff that is special to us. Your name that your parents gave you is special because your parents gave it to you.
Say “In our reading from the letter to the people at Ephesus, Paul is telling the people how much God loves them. God loves the Ephesians so much that he gave them a special mark through the Holy Spirit. Can you guess what that mark might be? We have that symbol here in our worship space. Look around….Yes a cross! Paul reminds the people and us that God marks us with the cross of Jesus! In our baptisms the pastor, your parents, sponsors and other people may make the sign of the cross on your forehead to show the whole world that you belong to God! Just like Woody had Andy’s name on his boot, you have the cross of Christ on you! All the time! Even when you can’t see it, it is still there because God promises that you belong to God forever and always. Let’s make the sign of the cross on each other (even people in the pews!) before we pray. (*Use the blessing below.)
Dear Jesus, Thank you for making us yours and marking us with the sign of the cross. Help us to remember that all people are loved by you no matter what and that Jesus’ cross connects us to one another. May we share this specialness with the whole world. Amen.
Have a large cross available that is also accessible. Have smaller pieces of paper in the shape of crosses available. Invite people to write their names on the cross and then tape the cross that bears their name on the bigger cross. Also, have the baptismal font available and someone to offer a blessing with water and to make the sign of the cross on people’s foreheads. Have the blessing on strips of paper for people to take home for the week.