Children’s sermon: light a fire in the baptismal font

It’s Pentecost – so we’re going to light a fire in the baptismal font.

Hi everyone!

I’m very glad to see you today.

So I want you to stand right about there….and look straight ahead. What do you see? The altar. The baptismal font. The pretty red paraments. Everything looks great, doesn’t it? We have the baptismal font setup here. We have the altar with almost everything it needs so we can share in communion with each other later in the service. There are red flowers on the floor and there’s red What shape/images are on the red paraments? Yellow flames of fire.

We’re surrounded by red which is a color that can represent fire. It represents how bright a fire can get. It represents the color a fire can get. And it represents the heat – the red hot heat a fire gets out. Where do you see fire? Fireplaces. Forest Fires. The altar candles.

We usually imagine fire in all those places – but we don’t usually think about fire in the church. But today…we will. Today, we’ll hear a story that’s full of fire. We hear how Jesus’ friends, after his resurrection, are gathered together just like we are. They’re hanging out together in the city of Jerusalem when, suddenly, a sound like a mighty wind – like the winds we heard this week when that storm came through – shows up. And scripture tells us that these little images of flames seemed to float and land on each of Jesus’ friends heads. Once they landed on their head, they didn’t hurt them. Instead, these little flames of fire helped Jesus’ friends do something amazing. It let them tell about Jesus – about God – and how much Jesus loves them and the world – in such a way that people, from all over the world, heard that story in a language they understood. The little flames of fire helped these friends of Jesus, when they talked about Jesus to people they didn’t know, be understood. And those little flames of fire, that mighty wind, is a description of what the Holy Spirit can do. The Holy Spirit – this part of God that comes to us – inspires us – and fills us up – helps us share Jesus’ story that the people around us – our families, friends, neighbors, and even strangers – can understand just how much Jesus loves them.

But the Holy Spirit doesn’t only show up on a windy day or when a little flame of fire appears over our head. In fact, it’s probably already showed up to you. When do you think the Holy Spirit showed up to you? Accept answers. Those are great – but there’s one place where the Holy Spirit met you – and that’s here – light the baptismal font on fire.

When we were baptized, even if we don’t remember it, we were given a precious gift. We were given Jesus. We were made part of Jesus’ family. And we were given this Holy Spirit – this force, presence, and active part of God that inspires us to be like Jesus, to follow his teaching, and to share Jesus no matter if we’re 3 years old or 93. Our baptism is the fuel that feeds our faith, our relationship with God, and helps us be the kind, caring, loving, and Christian people God wants us to be.

So now look at the scene again. What do you see? Fire. The Holy Spirit. All of us, right now, are filled with the fire of the Spirit. And because you have that Spirit – each of you – and all of you out there – can share Jesus with everyone.

Thank you for being here and I hope you have a blessed week.

Each week, I share a reflection for all children of God. The written manuscript serves as a springboard for what I do. This is from Christ Lutheran Church’s Worship on Pentecost, 5/20/2018.

Children’s Sermon: Card Carrying Lutheran

Bring your wallet (not too many things in it) but make sure you have your Lutheran card.

Hi everyone!

I’m very glad to see you today.

So I have a question: when you want to buy something, what do you need? Money. Credit Cards. Apple Pay. Accept answers. Right! And I usually keep many of those things in this: show your wallet. Let’s go through my wallet and see what’s in there.

Go through what’s in your wallet. Show credit cards, health care cards, random cards for ice creams, and your clergy card. Even show cash (if you have any – you millennial you). But then stop when you have your Lutheran card.

Now this card is a very special card. What do you see on it? Go through it. Luther’s face. My name. Luther’s seal. Old Lutheran logo. I got this as a gift for my birthday and I like it because it’s very funny. This card makes me, a literal card carrying Lutheran. If anyone wanted to know what faith I am or what I believe, I can just take out this card and show it to them: I’m a Lutheran. I’m a fan of Jesus. I dig the church. I worship, pray, and hang out with Scripture. And this card says that there is a certain point of view, a certain flavor, a certain perspective of talking about Jesus – this Lutheran thing – that feeds my soul.

But let’s imagine for a moment that I don’t have this card. And you weren’t going through my wallet. And you didn’t know me. You just saw me walking down the street, dressed like I normally am. How could you tell if I was a Christian? Or even a Lutheran? Accept answers. But, in general, you can’t.

How can someone, by just looking at us, learn, hear, and get to know Jesus? They can’t.

People can only hear about God’s love for them if we tell them about it. People can only get to know Jesus if we show them who Jesus is. It’s great to be a Lutheran Christian. It’s awesome to follow Jesus. But if we keep Jesus to ourselves, like if we leave our Lutheran card in our wallet so that no one can see it – then we keep a part of ourselves hidden from the world around us. Jesus doesn’t want us to keep his love hidden. He wants us to show it, to share it, and to live a life where that love compels all of us to just keep talking about Jesus. Because if you or me or your parents or all your friends out here don’t talk about Jesus, who will?

Thank you for being here and I hope you have a blessed week.

Each week, I share a reflection for all children of God. The written manuscript serves as a springboard for what I do. This is from Christ Lutheran Church’s Worship on the 7th Sunday of Easter, 5/13/2018.

Children’s Sermon: Matchbox Love

Bring a box of Matchbox cars someone gave you at T&T.

Hi everyone!

I’m very glad to see you today. I want to share with you something that happened here at the church yesterday. We had our big Trash and Treasure sale. We fill the entire place full of toys, housewares, plates, clothing – basically everything – and then in one day, sell as much as we can. People start showing up at 6:30 in the morning, lining up to get in. It’s pretty amazing if you’ve never had a chance to see it.

So I was there yesterday morning, preparing our welcome tent. It’s a place in front of the line where we serve coffee, water, and take prayer requests for people waiting to go to the sale. So as the line was filling up, and we were busy getting ready for the sale, and right when the doors were about to open – a car drives up to me. And a guy gets out. And he’s carrying a big box – much bigger than this one. He dropped it at my feet. He looked me in the face, he said “here’s a bunch of things for your sale!” and then he jumped into his car and…drove away. Before I could even understand what he was doing, he was already gone and I was left with this big box – at my feet.

Now, imagine for a moment, you were me in that moment. I’m busy trying to get everything ready for the hundreds of people coming to the church – because we want to treat them well. The last time someone was supposed to bring things to the sale was two days ago – so this guy was obviously breaking the rules. And before I could even respond, he was off! How would you feel?

Accept answers.

What do you think were different ways I could have responded?

Accept answers.

I could have said “hey! Wait a minute!” and explained we didn’t have time to go through the stuff in the box or price it or get it to the right place so someone would buy it. And that would have been okay to do. I could have said “nope!” and been a time firm and stern about it because we were here, at the church till 11 pm the night before, trying to get everything ready. And I could have ignored the box – just left it there – and hope someone else take it so I don’t have to worry about it. Or just wait until the end of the sale, and toss it into the dumpster. All of those options – would have been right because that person didn’t follow the rules, assumed that I could just take them, and decided to make his problem – his box full of things – my problem without even asking. He put me in a tough spot where I didn’t even have time to think.

So I didn’t think. I instead chose to act in the most loving way possible. And I opened the box.

Open the box. Show the cars inside.

It was a box full of matchbox cars! So I put them outside, and gave them away free, knowing that these cars would bring someone joy.

In our story about Jesus today, Jesus is going to tell his followers that they should, when they can, always love. There will be times when we get caught in an unexpected moment or someone will make their problem our problem or that will be stressed out and overwhelmed and we won’t know what to do – and so when that happens – you know what we do? We do what Jesus asks us to always do – love. When we’re stressed out, we love. When we’re angry, we love. When we’re scared, we make sure to love ourselves and others if we can. We always just love – because when we love, we do what Jesus does for us each and every day – he loves us – always!

Thank you for being here and I hope you have a blessed week.

Each week, I share a reflection for all children of God. The written manuscript serves as a springboard for what I do. This is from Christ Lutheran Church’s Worship on the 6th Sunday of Easter, 5/6/2018.

Children’s sermon: seashell

Bring some seashells you got from your trip of Cape Cod.

Hi everyone!

I’m very glad to see you today. Last week, my family and I were able to take a vacation and we went to one of our favorite places: the beach. We love the sand, the ocean, the waves, and everything there is about the beach. Now, usually, we go to the beach in the summer when it is warm. Then we get to wear bathing suits, go swim in the water, and lay on the beach reading good books or building sandcastles. But…this time…the weather was cold and rainy and wet. In fact, one day I was at the beach and it snowed. So it wasn’t my typical beach vacation but I did get to hear the waves and water. And I also got to bring back these. What do you see?


Right. Seashells. And all sorts of different kinds of seashells. What do these look like? Let the kids describe the shells, hold them, and see them.

They’re neat, aren’t they? I like to collect seashells when I see the beach. They’re amazing because of what they are. Shells are a hard, protective outer layer that an animal creates o protect itself in the sea. It’s like body armor, able to keep the animal inside safe. The shells we find are the beach are old, the only thing left from the animal that created it. Shells protect, keeping safe what’s precious and vulnerable inside it. The shell lets the animal inside grow big, strong, healthy, and above all – thrive.

Which is why, I think, we use a seashell in the church when we baptize. I use the shell to get some of the water and then pour it over someone’s head. The water flows, so it’s moving, reminding us that Jesus is “living water” for us – and when we are baptized, when Jesus becomes our friend and protector, Jesus helps us thrive. Our baptism is our connection with God. And since we’re connected to God, God helps us grow big, strong, and healthy – in love. Our baptism helps us grow in love – helping us love all people – by being kind to them, listening to them, helping them, and protecting them – like how the seashell protects what’s inside it. Our baptism, our faith, helps us become like a seashell to all sorts of people – to classmates, playmates, and even strangers – so that we can help them grow big, strong, healthy – and thrive.

That’s why a seashell is a symbol a baptism. And why we, whenever we are at the beach, and we see a shell – we can remember that Jesus loves us, that Jesus has made us his friend, and that Jesus is helping us to protect and take care of everyone.

Thank you for being here and I hope you have a blessed week.

Each week, I share a reflection for all children of God. The written manuscript serves as a springboard for what I do. This is from Christ Lutheran Church’s Worship on the 4th Sunday of Easter, 4/22/2018.

Children’s sermon: living with scars

Bring a small mirror so you can find the scar on your forehead.

Hi everyone!

I’m very glad to see you today. Today in our story about Jesus, we’re going to hear something that sounds a bit odd. We hear every year the week following Easter – so you might remember it. It involves Jesus, all of his friends gathered in a room with the front doors locked, and a disciple of Jesus named Thomas. But before we get to the story about Jesus, we need to talk about some of our stories too. And to do that, I need this.

Show the mirror.

What’s this? A mirror! Right! And this is a small mirror that lets you might use to look at your face when you want to put on moisturizer or makeup or whatnot. But I’m using it today because I’m looking for something specific on my face…and…yep, there it is. You see up here, on my forehead and up to the left? That’s a big scar. It’s faded now – and blends into my skin – and it’s usually more noticeable in the summer when my skin is darker. But it’s there, a scar, that I’ve had for over 30 years. And I got this scar because, when I was little, younger than some of you right now, my brother and I were playing at our house. We were having fun. We put the pillows on the floor from the couch in a large circle. And we were jumping from pillow to pillow, round and round and round. My brother started to pretend to chase me and I was running from him and it was awesome…until it wasn’t. I don’t remember exactly what happened – either I tripped over the pillow or it slipped under me – either way, I know that I fell down and hit my head on the corner of a big stereo speaker. I cut my head pretty bad. It was scary and I hand to go to the hospital. The doctors and nurses took care of me, gave me a bunch of stitches, and I was better pretty quick. As the cut healed, it started to turn into a scar. The scar is a place where the wound we have is repaired but the tissue, the skin, ends up being a little different than before.

Over the years, that’s the biggest scar I’ve got. But I’ve got plenty of smaller ones too on my knees and fingers and arms and legs. Do you have any scars?

Share scar stories.

Now we end up with scars for a lot of different reasons. And every scar, I think, is a reminder of a challenge or situation or experience that we lived through. Even if we think that scar was caused by something we did or we’re ashamed of it or if we’re embarrassed about it – if we have a scar, that means we’ve lived through it; we’ve grown through it. A scar is a sign of what we’ve been through – and since a scar is full of new skin – each scar is a sign of how we can, no matter what we’ve gone through, we can still heal and become who we are supposed to be. And we also, regardless of that scar, deserve and will receive from God – love.

Jesus today is going to visit his friends when they are afraid. He’s going to walk into the room and come to his friend Thomas. Jesus is going to show Thomas his hands, feet, and the the side of his chest – the places where Jesus was hurt. But, unlike us when we get hurt, Jesus doesn’t have a scar in those places. Instead, he’s still wounded. His hurts are still apart of him. Everything Jesus went through is part of who he is. But his hurts, and his past, aren’t – with God’s help – the limit of who he, or us, will become. Your scars will always be apart of you. And you will carry different kinds of scars that others won’t be able to see. But no matter what your scars are – Jesus loves you. Jesus is with you. And Jesus, who himself still carries his own hurts, will help you become exactly who you are supposed to be.

Thank you for being here and I hope you have a blessed week.

Each week, I share a reflection for all children of God. The written manuscript serves as a springboard for what I do. This is from Christ Lutheran Church’s Worship on the 2nd Sunday of Easter, 4/8/2018.

Children’s Sermon: Jokes

Bring Easter Eggs. Make sure you have a chocolate egg replaced with a grape!

Hi everyone!

For those of you who don’t know me or remember my name, I’m Pastor Marc. And I am so glad that you are here today. Today is a very special day – it’s Easter. Even though Easter officially starts today, I know many of us have been celebrating Easter in different ways for weeks now. Most towns in our area have already had giant Easter Egg hunts. And the town I lived in had there’s yesterday. After everyone had left the field, I noticed there were this one egg that everyone forgot. So I picked it up – and brought it here – and let’s open it right now, to see what’s inside.

Open the egg. Show the two chocolate eggs.

Whoa! What does it look like that is in there? Candy! Chocolate eggs. Chocolate eggs! Wait…these aren’t just chocolate eggs. They’re caramel chocolate eggs. Oooh that is my favorite! Let’s open it up and see what’s inside…

Open the egg. Discover a grape.

Wait a second?! What’s this? A grape! A grape isn’t chocolate. Okay, okay. There must have been a mistake. There’s another egg in here. Let’s open that up and see what’s inside.

It’s another grape!

ARGH. Isn’t that unexpected? We thought there would be a chocolate in there but instead, there was a grape. And a grape, while delicious, is not the same as candy.

But do you want to know a secret? I actually didn’t find these yesterday at my town egg hunt. I actually made them to share with you as a joke. We expected chocolate but we got a grape. We got something we didn’t think was possible. And finding the unexpected – that’s what Easter is all about.

On that first Easter morning, the women who were Jesus’ friends found something unexpected. But it wasn’t a grape instead of chocolate. It was, instead, new life from a place they didn’t think was possible. Discovering joy and love and wonder in places we don’t expect – that’s Easter; that’s love; and that’s Jesus story – a story meant for you, and me, and everyone here. So we’re invited, I think, to look for the kindness, love, and joy that comes from the places and people we don’t expected – because that’s exactly the place where God is making something new.

Pass out Easter eggs and highlight that there are no grapes in them.

Thank you for being here and I hope you have a blessed week.

Each week, I share a reflection for all children of God. The written manuscript serves as a springboard for what I do. This is from Christ Lutheran Church’s Worship on Easter, 4/1/2018.

Children’s Sermon: The Quiet Game

Play the Quiet Game.

Hi everyone! I’m so glad you are here today.

So I was hoping to play a game with you today. Is that okay? And it’s a game called… The Quiet Game. The game is easy. Once we start, we’re super quiet…and then when someone makes a sound, they’re out. And the person who stays quiet the longest, wins the game.

Will you play the game with me? Okay. Let’s…start.

Be quiet. See how long kids last. If they keep making noise, great. If they play it and be super quiet, after a bit, you break the silence.

It’s hard to be quiet, isn’t it? Usually we want to say something, right? Or maybe be a bit loud? Or do something that ends up making noise – like playing with something or using toys or whatnot. For many of us, being quiet is hard….and makes us uncomfortable.

But being quiet – that silence – can sometimes be just as powerful and intense as the loudest noise. I was reminded about the power of being quiet yesterday when, as I was watching on tv, one of the speakers at the big march in Washington DC stood on the stage and was just quiet. She stood there, in silence, for over five minutes. Which is pretty amazing and really hard. Because she was talking about something that made her tear up and emotional. And she was speaking at an event where hundreds of thousands of people were staring at her. And she was hooked up to a microphone so her voice was super, duper loud. But she just stood up there, playing her own version of the quiet game…but even in her silence, everyone knew what she was saying and what point she was trying to make.

Today is Palm Sunday where we wave palms, play music, wave the palms around, and a make a lot of noise. And we do that because we’re remembering that Jesus, when he entered the city of Jerusalem for the last time, entered to a parade. His followers and others celebrated and shouted and waves palms and put clothes on the ground and made noise. They were loud. But that noise was matched by lots of periods of quiet that followed. The quiet when Jesus was praying in a garden. The quiet from people as they listened to Jesus teach in the temple. The quiet Jesus offered by not answering the questions a guy named Pontinus Pilate asked him. And the quiet when all of Jesus’ friends ran away from him.

So much of today is about Loud…and Quiet…Loud…and Quiet…and how God is both in those loud and quiet moments. God isn’t only with us when life is good and we’re marching in a parade. God is also with us when we are sad, or lonely, or feel like all we have is silence. But even when we think God isn’t speak – Jesus is right there, in our quiet moments with us, because – as the Holy Week story shows – there is nothing we go through that Jesus won’t go through with us.

Thank you for being here and I hope you have a blessed week.

Each week, I share a reflection for all children of God. The written manuscript serves as a springboard for what I do. This is from Christ Lutheran Church’s Worship on Palm/Passio Sunday, 3/25/2018.

Children’s Sermon: The Whole World

Bring your Honduras Cross, the processional cross, and a World Map

Hi everyone! I’m so glad you are here today.

So I brought some props with me today. What do you see? A map. A cross. And a big cross.

Now let’s look at these things. This cross is on a long pole. It’s called a processional cross. On special holidays in the church, we use it during worship. Someone carries it high above them and the choirs, pastors, and others follow it. It serves as a reminder that, in everything we do, we follow Jesus.

This cross is a cross I received as a gift. It’s colorful and bright and comes from the country of Honduras. What do you see on it? Describe what the cross is all about.

And this is… a map of the WHOLE world. This is where we are point to NJ. This is where that cross came from. Point to Latin America. And waaayyy over here is where Jesus was in the story we’re going to hear about today. Point to Jerusalem.

So why did I bring all three of these things today? It’s to show a connection to something we’re going to hear Jesus say. Jesus will say “when I’m lifted up, I’ll draw the whole earth to me.”

And that’s a weird thing for Jesus to say. Jesus was all the way over here when he said that. He also said that 2000 years before any of us were born. And being lifted up is…a weird thing to say. But I think all these 3 things can help us understand a little of what Jesus was saying.

Jesus was making a promise to all of us – to everyone who came before and everyone who came after. He is saying that his story was going to make a difference. He is going to be lifted up on a cross and everyone around him will be sad because they will think this bad thing that is happening to him is the end of his story. But Jesus says it isn’t. Instead, God is going to do something else. And it’s through Jesus’ story – from his birth, life, death, cross, and all the way to Easter, he is going to invite everyone around the world to follow him.

Which means his story makes a difference to everyone here and here and here point to map even if they don’t know his story. And Jesus’ story makes a difference for people in Hondoras, who made this cross, and for all of his here in New Jersey. Jesus’ story shows us who God is, what God wants for us, and how far God will go to show that everyone is valued, loved, and matters.

And that’s good news. Because that means, even you, right now – matter to Jesus. And Jesus will do everything he can to help you know that he sees you, values you, loves you, and will never let you go.

Each week, I share a reflection for all children of God. The written manuscript serves as a springboard for what I do. This is from Christ Lutheran Church’s Worship on Fifth Sunday in Lent, 3/18/2018.