Children’s Sermon: A Box of Lent

Bring a Lent box with Easter Eggs at the bottom.

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

So today is the first Sunday of Lent! Can you say the word “Lent” with me? Lent! Very good. Lent is what we call a “season” of the church. And just like the seasons of “Spring, Fall, Summer, and Winter,” we have different “seasons” in the church too. And this 46 day long season began last Wednesday and continues all the way through Easter.

Now, I don’t know about you, but at my house, we usually store the things we need for each season in a box that we label. For example, I don’t need my snow shovel all year long. I only need it during what season? Winter. And in the summer, what kind of clothes do we wear that we don’t wear in winter? Shorts. Flip flops. I store those clothes in a box labeled “summer” so I know when to wear them.

So I brought my lent box! Let’s see what in it.

Go through the box. Pull out stuff we need during Lent. [Note: Build this stuff at the office!]
the book we’re studying
the Lenten devotion
a soup bowl because we’re having soup & studies
oil for a healing service
communion stuff because we do communion
something that’s purple because it’s our purple season
Bible because some read the bible more
Chocolate because some of us give up chocolate
Our worship book because some of us will go to church more
And then, buried at the bottom, is several Easter Eggs.

What’s this at the bottom? Easter Eggs. Easter is the day and season after the Lent so we won’t actually use these during Lent. But I keep them in my Lent box to remind us what we’re doing: this season is about preparing for Easter, preparing for when Jesus rose from the dead, preparing for when Jesus promised us that he is here with us, right now, whenever we gather. And this serves as a reminder that we need the season of Lent to really feel, experience, and be in awe of Easter. Lent is the season when we spend time growing our faith, spend time with Jesus and God, and spend time with the promise that Jesus is here; Jesus loves you; and Jesus will be with us, no matter what, forever.

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 First Sunday in Lent, 2/18/2018.

Children’s Sermon: Color the Transfiguration

Transfiguration. Idea came from Worship With Children.

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

So today is a special day in the church calendar that also has a special name. It’s called the Transfiguration. Can you say that word with me? Trans.Fig.Ur.A.Tion. Right! Good job. It’s a big word with lots of syllables and we usually don’t use that word on any other day of the year except for today. So I want to talk about that word with you a bit.

Bring out 3 sheets with – Trans. Figur. Ation. On it.

Here’s the word! And there are two parts of the word that are importants. The first part, “Trans,” means change. The second part, “figur,” means figure – which is a shape or form. When we put these two parts together – trans and figure – “change” and “shape/form” – that means today is about someone or something changing their shape and form.

So let’s stand up. And let’s think about the ways we can change our shape and form.

Now, that’s a bit hard. We’re people. We all look like people. Some of us might be taller or shorter or have more hair or less – but we’re all people. But there are ways we can have fun to change our form.

For example – we could become a letter. Stick your hands up and out to make a Y. Let’s do this! What letter do we look like? Y. Right! And what letter is this? Make an M. and what letter is this? C. And what letter is this? A. Y M C A. Great job. Now I know who to recruit for my next Village People cover band.

So we can use our arms to change our body. We can also form fun shape. Let’s bend and be like a ball. Squat and be a ball. We can stand on one foot, put our arms out like a bird, and we can look like a flamingo. Do that. We can, by using our body and our imagination, transfigure ourselves into new shapes.

And using our imagination is important. When we listen to these stories from the bible and Jesus, God wants us to use our imagination to visualize the story. So I want you, today, to use your imagination too. When you hear me share the story about Jesus, I want you to try and draw what you think the story looks like. And I’m going to give your crayons, a clipboard, and paper, to draw it. You might need to ask your parents to remember it – and you might need awhile to draw it – but I want you to take your time, imagine the story, and then share with me at the end of the service your picture if you are done.

Because today’s story about Jesus is a story that we don’t really have to explain. Instead, it’s a story that is meant to be experienced. And that’s why God gives each of us an imagination to imagine and dream what Jesus means to 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 Transfiguration Sunday, 2/11/2018.

Children’s Sermon: Sit Up. Sit Down.

Super Bowl Sunday.

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

So today is a big day in the world of sports. It’s the….Super Bowl! That’s right! If you watch football, and not everyone does and that’s ok, you’re going to see a lot of people using their bodies to play the game. And before the game, they are going to warmup and make sure they are ready to play. They’ll go out on the field and jog, stretch, and make sure their body feels warm. So I figured for today’s children sermon, why don’t we do the same? Let’s warm up but instead of warming up for a football game, let’s warm up for something that also uses our body: let’s warm up for a church service.

Okay, so are you ready? So copy what I do, ok? And we’re going to do many of the actions we do at church. So here we go. Stand up. Sit down. Stand up. Sit down. Stand up. Sit down. Stand up. Sit down. Stand up. Sit down!

Phew! That gets a little tiring, doesn’t it? It sometimes feels like all we do in church is stand up, sit down, stand up, sit down. We stand up at the beginning, sit down for the readings, stand up when we hear about Jesus, sit down when we read out prayers, stand up to sign, and sit down after communion. We actually use our body a lot during worship.

And we might not know why we do all this standing. We might want to sit down the entire time. But we don’t. We stand at very specific times – at those points when we are specifically being aware that someone special is here when we worship. Who can you guess that special person is? Jesus. Right! Jesus. It’s like when a friend comes over to our house or walks into the room we are in: we stand to welcome them. We stand to thank them for being here. We stand to invite them to come closer to us, to connect with us, to be with us. So when we stand during worship, we are welcoming Jesus into this place. Because when we gather together, Jesus promises to be here. And since Jesus is here, since Jesus shows up, we stand to welcome him, to say hello, and celebrate that his love, Spirit, and peace are here, in this space.

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 5th Sunday After Epiphany, 2/4/2018.

Children’s Sermon: Immediately

From Bring a pet-that-grows. Bring a bowl of water. Immediately.

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

So I was looking at today’s story about Jesus and I was a little puzzled about what to share with you all today. I went online and looked at what other people were talking about and this one person brought up a word that it’s important for us to look at.

Our story from about Jesus is from a book called the “Gospel According to Mark.” We usually shorten the name for the book to just calling “Mark.” There are 4 books that we call gospels and all of them talk are a little different from each other – but we listen to all 4 of them because each one helps us understand Jesus a little better. Mark is shortest gospel and also the one that goes by the fastest. In fact, it’s as if the author of Mark wants us to read the gospel as fast as we can because Mark loves to use the word “Immediately.” “Immediately,” people follow Jesus. Immediately, Jesus heals someone. Immediately, some people get mad at Jesus. Etc etc. Everything is happening right away and very quickly. Everything, in Mark, happens immediately.

But sometimes our relationship, faith, and our understanding of God doesn’t happen as immediately as we like. And to show that, I’ve brought this with me. What is it? An alligator. But this isn’t just any alligator. It is an alligator that, when you put it in water, it grows. So let’s put it in water and watch it.

Watch the alligator. Is it growing? Not so fast.

So…do you think it’s growing? Does it look like it’s getting bigger? It’s hard to tell. We will have to check back later, in a few hours, to see it grow. It takes time for the alligator to grow – and you know what? It takes time for our faith to grow. It takes time for us to recognize and realize that God is part of our life. It takes time for us to notice that Jesus is always with us, even if we can’t see him or feel like maybe he’s not there. It takes time for us to learn to trust God and love God just as much as God loves us.

So sometimes, we need to be patient when it comes to faith, or church, or Jesus. Sometimes things aren’t going to feel as fast be as immediate as we want them to be.

But there is one thing that God gives us that happens right away – and that’s God’s love. That happens immediately. That happens always. And since God’s love comes to us, no matter what, we can take time and be patient, trusting that the more we hang out with Jesus, the more our faith will grow.

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 3rd Sunday After Epiphany, 1/21/2018.

Children’s Sermon: Looking at Masks

Brings three masks: Darth Vader, Storm Trooper, Batman.

Hi everyone! I’m so glad you are here today.
So I want to talk about something that happens in the story we hear about Jesus today. And to talk about what happens, I’m going to use these: show the masks. Put them on too.

So you might not know these characters. But when I put on this mask, I am…Darth Vader! When we first meet Darth Vader, we discover that he’s a leader of a giant empire that wants power over everyone. He hurts people and does bad things.

When I put on this mask, I am… a storm trooper. Storm troopers are from Star Wars and they are soldiers who serve Darth Vader. They do bad things, hurt people, fight wars, and more.

When I put on this mask, I am…Batman! And who is Batman? He’s a superhero. He saves people who are in trouble, he does the right thing, he always tries to help. He does good things.

So when we see these masks, we might think we know what we need to know about the characters they represent. The villains are always villains and the superheroes are always heroes. We just have to look at the mask, look at their outside, and know everything we need to know about them. We don’t need to get to know them because the way they look tells us everything about them.

But that’s a mistake. We’re not supposed to look at people from the outside and assume we know everything about them. We’re supposed to get to know them – what they are like, what they think, what they love, and more.

Because when we get to know them, we learn that what we originally think isn’t always right. If you’ve seen the new Star Wars films, you know that there is a storm trooper who is named Finn – and he becomes a hero instead of a villain. And we know that Darth Vader eventually changed and helps his son Luke at the end of Return of the Jedi. And we know that Batman, who always tries to do good, sometimes gets angry or upset or confused and will not be as good as we think he’s supposed to be. People are more than just what we think they are.

Today, we’ll hear Jesus start putting together his disciples, his teachers, his followers. One will be named Philip and he will go and find his friend Nathaniel. Philip will tell Nathaniel all about Jesus and Nathaniel, at first, will not believe Philip. Nathaniel learns that Jesus is from a town called Nazareth and is poor and is the son of a carpenter. Everyone knew that Nazareth was a nobody town. Everyone knew that nothing important was ever happening there or coming from there. Everyone knew, from the outside, that Jesus shouldn’t be from Nazareth. But once Nathaniel learns that Jesus knows him, Nathaniel learns that what he originally thought wasn’t right.

Jesus doesn’t want us to just see the outside of the people around us. He wants us to get to know them, to learn everything about them, to know their hurts and their joys and what makes them laugh – because Jesus, and God, knows all of that about 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 2nd Sunday After Epiphany, 1/14/2018.

Children’s Sermon: Very Ordinary

Gather around the font.

Hi everyone!

So a happy New Year to all of you. This is our first church service of 2018. I hope you all had a good winter break, a happy New Years, and you had a few fun snow days this week. So since this is the first weekend of the New Year, a lot of us are thing about stuff that’s new – new things we want to try, new places we want to go, new things we want to learn, and more. And so I think it’s great that we, as a church, are going to do something sort of new today: at the 10:30 service, we are going to celebrate a baptism and welcome a new friend, publicly, into the Body of Christ, into a life of following Jesus.

And so that’s why we’re up here around our baptismal font. And inside of it, what do you see? A bowl with water in it. That’s right. Water. Now, let’s talk about the water. Feel free to touch it, maybe splash a bit. How does it feel? Wet. Cool. Like water. It feels pretty much like normal water, doesn’t it? It feels very ordinary. It’s the same kind of water you might get out of the taps at your home or at a store. Even though the water here at church comes from a well, water is just, well, water. Clean water is something that everyone needs to live well. If the water was bad, it might get us sick. But when it’s good, it’s something we need everyday so we can be healthy, keep growing, and keep learning. Water is necessary for us and it’s also, at the same, time very ordinary.

Yet it’s this ordinary thing that God uses to make a promise to each of us. God takes something very plain and almost boring, and unites God’s words to it. So how does god do that? Well, it’s through the power of words and breath. We hear in the Bible that God’s breathe moves over waters so go ahead, and together, take a deep breath and blow over the waters. Blooooowwww. When we speak God’s words, air leaves our body and moves into this water and this ordinary thing is united with God’s words, and it’s here where God promises come true to us. When we are baptized, God promises to love us. When we are baptized, God promises to be with us, no matter what. When we are baptized, Jesus makes a promise to be by our side no matter where we go. God makes a promise, through this water and through our baptisms, that we are never alone and that Jesus will always be near us.

God chooses to use ordinary things, the stuff of everyday lives, to show us how we much God loved us. God doesn’t decide to use something special like sparkling water, or water with bubbles in it, or water you can only find in one special place in the world. God uses ordinary water, everyday water, to say I love you.

And God truly does.

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 Baptism of Jesus, 1/08/2018.

Children’s Sermon: New Year’s Eve so Remember Highs, not only the Lows

3 communities worshipping together at First Congregational Church in Park Ridge.
I’m doing the children’s sermon. Bring cheesy/small/dollar store party hates.

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

So my name is Marc, and I’m the Pastor of Christ Lutheran Church. I am glad to be here today with y’all. What are your names? Listen to the names of the kids who are there. Repeat each name after they tell you them. You’re bad with names but try to remember. Awesome. Thanks for coming here today (especially since it’s so cold outside).

So today is a special day….it’s….put on a New Year’s Eve party hat.

Today is December 31. It’s New Year’s Eve. It’s the LAST DAY OF 2017! It’s a bit of a holiday. Some people are having parties and will spend tonight wearing party hats. Others are staying home but planning to stay up past their bedtime so they are awake when it’s 12:00 am – when it’s finally January 1, 2018. And others will try to do that – but they’ll fall asleep on the couch instead.

Today is a great day to think about the last year – and think about what was good about the last year, what wasn’t so good, and then make goals and plans for 2018. Those goals and plans for 2018 are sometimes called “New Year’s Resolutions.” And “New Year’s Resolutions” we come up with sometimes grow out of our experiences of the last year – what went right and what went wrong. So, if it’s okay, let’s do a little of that right now. We don’t have to think about the last year – but maybe we can think about just this last week. Maybe we can share our a “high” from the week and a “low” from the week.

So for example, a high for me for this last week would be seeing the new Star Wars movie. I liked it. I had a great time watching it, seeing it in the movies, and eating popcorn. I had fun. So that’s why it’s a high for me.

And if I wanted to share my low, I’d mention how I was feeling sick all week – but I feel better now. So I was tired and sneezy and I lost my voice – it wasn’t fun. So that’s was my low.

What about you? Do you have a high or low? See if anyone wants to offer a high or low for their week. If they share, thank them for it.

Thanks for sharing! That was great. Highs and Lows are great because they help us get to know each other a little bit – and also help us know if there are specific things we should pray for when we pray for our friends – what we are thankful for, what we need help with, and what we can ask God for.

So one way we sometimes spend this day is doing what we just did – thinking about what went right and what went wrong – and maybe making goals and plans for 2018 to go better.

But did you notice the order we just went? We started with our highs and we ended with our lows. And it’s sometimes easier to focus on our lows – on our frustrations and on things that didn’t go right. Maybe school isn’t going well, or something is bothering you, or there’s a struggle. And sometimes, the lows are going to dominate what is going on in our lives. That’s just the way it is.

But I’m going to invite you to try something – when you spend today thinking about your highs and lows for the year and dream up your New Year’s Resolutions, I want you to think about your lows first – but then end with the highs.

End with the things that went well. End with the moments when you felt loved, included, and happy. End with the moments that were awe inspiring, filled you with wonder, made you go wow. End with what you have – and wrap all of that up with something that can never be taken away from you – And that’s Jesus. All of you, right now, whether you can feel it or not, are beloved children of God. You are part of Jesus’ family. You matter to the creator of everything. And even in the moments when things don’t go as well – and we will have those moments, and sometimes those moments will last longer than we want, you still have Jesus with you, no matter what. And that’s something to celebrate today – and into every New Year too.

Thank you for being here and Happy New Year!

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 New Year’s Eve (with First UCC and Pascack Reformed Church) on 12/31/2017.

Children’s Sermon: Angels Say Hello

Bring the bag with Candy Canes. Bring Angel Wings..

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

So we’ve been learning a little bit about Jesus’ story and we’ve filled up this scene, which is sometimes called a nativity or a creche. And so let’s review: who is here? Mary. Joseph. Angels. Jesus. Animals. Very good! And this moment is what we’re celebrating today – Jesus Christ is born, becoming God’s present for everyone.

So for this Christmas Eve worship service, I want to focus a bit on the beginning of the story we just heard. And at the very start, we met this. Who is this? The Angel. The angel is named Gabriel. This angel comes down from heaven and visits someone. Who does the angel visit? Mary. Right! The angel has a special message for Mary and can’t wait to tell her. So the angel comes down and the first thing the angel does is show up, surprise Mary, and say: “Rejoice, favored one! God is with you.”

Now…let’s imagine that scene for a moment. Scripture doesn’t tell us what the angel looks like so we can to use your imagination to imagine what it happened. So let’s imagine the Angel Gabriel for a minute. Do we imagine the angel to be small? Large? Did the angel have these (wings)? Did the angel fly? Was the angel bright and looked like it was on fire?
Do you think Mary ever saw an angel before? Nope! I think we can imagine what she felt like when the angel showed up if we imagine what would happen if an angel showed up to us. So, if you were in your room or in your house, and you were all alone, playing and having fun and then BOOM – out of nowhere, an angel shows up. How would that make you feel? Afraid. Scared. Nervous. Affirm all answers.

I would be afraid. And I think Mary was too.

So the angel here is trying to make Mary feel less afraid. So he starts their conversation by saying: “Hello.” But the angel doesn’t say hello like we would. The angel doesn’t say “Hi” or “hey” or “hello” or “sup?” The angel says…. REJOICE (say that part loud). “Rejoice, favored one! God is with you.” The angel immediately tells Mary that she is special, that God knows her, that God cares for her, that God loves her, and that God is with her. He is telling her, in that moment, that she will be okay – because God will never let her go.

And you know what? Because God is with her, because Jesus is a big part of her life, Mary sort of changes here. She’s no longer just Mary. Rather, she’s now God’s beloved. She’s now a child of God. She’s now the One God cares for and will be with always. Even in those moments that are scary, or sad, or strange, God promises to be with us, no matter what. Jesus promises to show up and hold us, comfort us, and help us get through whatever we are going through. And because Jesus is with us, we can face difficult things, scary things, trying things – and know that even in the moments we are afraid and full of fear, Jesus is right there, helping us through.

The angel’s greeting is a powerful one and the angel promises that God is a part of her life. So now, look around at everyone up here – and everyone out there. All of us have God and Jesus in our life. That doesn’t mean we always feel Jesus is with us – but it does mean, even when we have questions or concerns or are angry – Jesus is with us.

So since we all have Jesus with us, do you think we can only say hello to each other? No! Right! We need to be like the angel. We need to remind each other that Jesus is with us, always.

So don’t just say hello. Say “hello! Beloved one of God.” or “Hello! You are blessed because God is with you.” or “How’s it going, the one who will never be far from Jesus?” And we know we will never be far from Jesus because tonight we’re celebrating Christmas. Jesus came into the world. Jesus was born. And that means we are loved, we are cared for, and that everyone matters to God. And since everyone matters to God, you matter to God too.

Pass out the candy canes/with stickers that say “To a Child of God. From Jesus.”

Thank you for being here and I wish you all a very blessed Christmas Eve.

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 Christmas Eve, 12/24/2017.

Children’s Sermon: Making Jesus Special

Bring Special Socks.

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

So do you have a favorite piece of clothing that you like to wear all the time? Accept answers. I have favorite pieces of clothing too. I have a Denver Bronco sweatshirt that I wear all the time. I have a Ocean City hoodie that is my favorite. And I like to wear my red converse chucks until they are literally apart. Today in fact, I’m wearing a favorite pair of socks. It’s chihuahuas in surfboards. Cool, huh?

Now what makes a piece of clothing? For some things, it’s something that looks nice and that we only wear on special occasions. It might be a special dress or suit that we wear on special church services or at weddings or other kinds of events. But special pieces of clothing are also those piece of clothings that we just keep wearing…and wearing..and wearing. They make us feel special, comfortable, and happy. We might wear them so much that they get broken or get holes in it or might get very faded. And when we wear them, people around us might wonder why we’re wearing something so old. But it’s special to us because we’ve lived wearing it. We’ve worn it to school or out to play or it was a gift from a friend. My socks are special because I received them, they remind me of my old dog, and I wear them all the time.

The pieces of clothing that are special to us are pieces of clothing that we have to spend time with. We need to live with them, do things in them, wear them a lot before they become just as special as we need them to be.

And that’s what being with Jesus is like sometimes. Most of us are focused on getting ready for tonight and tomorrow – when we get ready to celebrate Jesus’ birth. But what’s amazing and worth celebrating isn’t only Jesus’ birthday event. It’s the fact that Jesus lived a life just like you’re living. And he invites us to live our life with him – to learn his story, to say our prayers, to come to worship, and to take care of others because when we do all that, we discover what it’s like to have Jesus with us at different times and during different experiences. The more time we spend with Jesus, the more we learn just how special Jesus can be.

Thank you for being here and I wish you all a very blessed Christmas Eve.

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 Fourth Sunday of Advent, 12/24/2017.