Have a bunch of larger building blocks (foam ones are great!) with you. Make sure that you have enough that each child gets at least one. Gather the children around the blocks as best you can. Ask “do you think that we can build something out of these blocks? Let’s build a house.” Take your block and place it on the ground. Say, “There here’s my piece, am I done? No? My block can’t be a whole building all by itself? We need more pieces? Ok. Here’s one for each of you. Let’s put our blocks together and build a simple house.” This might get a little chaotic depending on how many children you have! When done, say, “Wow! Look how we built that together! Each one of our pieces is important. What happens if I take a block away especially from the bottom?” Let them guess and then take one away-hopefully it will break or fall a little…if not remove one more! Without all of the blocks we just don’t have a complete building do we?
In our Bible story this morning, Jesus is reminding us that we all need each other and how we treat other matters. No one person is more or less important and we need to make sure that we are taking care of each other and including each other so that we can be whole-like our whole building. What happens when we tell someone that we don’t want them around anymore? (Remove a block.) Yes, we’re not whole and we need them. In our story from Genesis we read that God created us to work together, to not be separate blocks doing our own thing but to be like one building. Jesus says that God thinks that we are all important no matter how big or how small to God and so we treat each other how God would treat us. What are some ways that we can show people that they matter to God, to us and that they are not alone? (Maybe try and highlight some service/outreach ministries that are accessible to children and young families in your congregation. But allow all answers of sharing, helping, loving, hugs, nice words, helpful hands, etc.) That’s right! We have so many ways to show God’s love for everyone!
Dear God, thank you for creating animals, plants, and all people. Thank you for never leaving us alone but being with us always. We want to love everyone as you love us, God. In Jesus name, amen.
have a Jenga type wooden blocks on a table. Have permanent markers on the tables for people to write examples of how we are all one in Christ and/or how we care for each other and creation. Have them place their blocks to “build” the Jenga set. (You may want to have it started and someone there to facilitate.) For a hymn of the day that can be listened to instead of sung while they are doing this, check out the Alternate Routes song: “Nothing More.” Great lyrics for this activity!
+God cares for you+
Preparation: Have a 2×8 (or so) strip of paper for each person in the congregation. You will be making a paper chain of prayers. Have a large enough cross available to place the chain of prayers on the cross. You will also need clear tape.
For this children’s time have the children stay with their families instead of bringing them forward. Ask all the people gathered to shout out what time of day they pray. Before a meal, bed or other times? Do they use formulaic prayers such as the common table prayer? Or their own words?
Ask everyone gathered for worship, “Turn to the person next to you and tell about a time when you were so excited or worried about something that you couldn’t wait to tell someone. GO!” (Give them a couple of minutes.) We love to share with someone when we are excited or worried don’t we? Well, Jesus is showing us today in this story from John, that prayer can be like that: something that we are excited, nervous or worried about God wants us to talk to her about! We don’t have to use fancy words and it doesn’t have to be a special time. We can talk to God anytime, anywhere about anything!
God hears and understands our prayers no matter what all of the time. What’s important to us is what is important for God to hear. Talking to God about everything helps to connect us to God and to know that God is with us always. Prayer also connects us to each other as the people of God. We can pray for each other as Jesus prays for his disciples and we can pray for all people to love each other.
Faith+ Prayer: Depending on the size of your congregation or how you choose to do children’s message today, have either a group of about 8 children volunteer to help pray at the end or go around your worship space. Do the “one word prayer” where someone starts off with saying one word and then as you work around the group each person adds one word. Example: Dear. Jesus. Thank. You. For. Today. This might take a little while but its fun to build off of each other in prayer!
Make the sign of the cross and say: In God you have eternal life.
*Faith + Worship: Prayers don’t even have to be words, they can be thoughts or songs or pictures! Today during Open Space (sacred reflection time) you can draw, write, or doodle a prayer to God on this strip of paper. (About 2 x8) When you are done writing/drawing connect your strip of paper to the pray of your neighbors like a paper chain on the cross. (Have a cross of some decent size with a paper circle already started for the chain. Have this station where it is accessible from all sides for ease. Tape them together on the inside where nothing is written or drawn if you can.) All of our prayers connect us to God and to each other. After worship, find another person’s prayer to take home for the week to pray.