Children’s Sermon: What to do with hard texts?

Bring the carrots and other stuff from the Community Garden

Hi everyone!

I’m very glad to see you today.

So it was a bit cold this morning, wasn’t it? It finally feels like fall. Leaves are falling from the trees, acorns are falling and making dents on our cars, and we’re starting to wear sweaters and long pants. It’s fall! What are some other things we do to get ready for fall? Accept answers.

Another thing we need to do is, if we garden, is to do our last harvests of the year and clean up the gardens so they’re ready for next year. On Tuesday at 5:30 pm, we’ll clean up our Genesis Garden. We’ll do a final harvest which will let us donate over 1200 lbs of vegetables this. We’ll clean up some tomatoes stakes and more. Everyone is invited to help out – and the more we do, the better it will be when we start the garden again next spring.

Now my family and I have are members of a community garden in the town we live. So in the spring, we got a bunch of different seeds, walked over to the garden, went to our plot, planted our seeds – and…then didn’t really go back. We went back a few times but…uh…I wasn’t very good at being a gardener this year. We had large sunflowers, tomatoes vines that grew everywhere, and pumpkin vines that…almost had pumpkins. I didn’t tend or take care of the garden like I should have. But I knew, since it’s fall, that I needed to go back and clear it out. So I did that on Friday with Oliver and George. And I was surprised what I found.

Because even though I didn’t do a good job harvesting or taking care of the garden, stuff still grew. And I’d like to show you what grew. Show off the super green tomatoes and the carrots.

Now that carrots are special. Most of the carrots I grew were super small. Some grew bigger but most didn’t. When you have carrots, one thing you’re supposed to do is, as they grow, make sure that the carrots have enough space between them. When the carrots are too close together, they’re too crowded and there isn’t enough room to grow. But when you spread them out, thin them out, they can grow nice and big. So if we want them to grow big, we have to visit the garden, weed it, give the carrots the room they need. The carrots will grow without our help – but when we weed, tend them, and get our hands dirty in the garden – they can grow bigger and stronger.

Today, our story about Jesus is going to be a difficult one. Jesus is going to say some stuff that’s hard to understand. He’s going to talk about about a camel, a sewing needle, a rich young man, and saying something like the first will be last and the last will be first. When we first hear Jesus speak, we’re not always sure what he’s saying. And that’s okay. It’s okay if Jesus says something and it makes us feel confused. It’s okay to have questions. It’s okay to say “what does this mean?” And when that happens, what we’re called to do is to not run away from what Jesus said – but listen to it again. To read more about it. To engage with it differently. We’re called to be active – to engage with Jesus’ words – knowing that it will take time to hear clearly what Jesus is telling to us. And that’s okay. Because when we’re active with our faith – when we go to Jesus – when we pray and listen to what he says over and over again – our faith, because of our questions, actually grows stronger. And we then discover just how much Jesus loves 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 the 21st Sunday after Pentecost, 10/14/2018.

Children’s Sermon: We Are For Each Other

Bring a bunch of stuffed animals – different kinds!

Hi everyone!

I’m very glad to see you today.

I want to talk a little bit about the first reading from the Bible we’re going to hear today. It’s a story from the book of Genesis, the very first book of the bible. The book of Genesis gives us different stories about God’s relationship with the world and everything on it. It’s not meant to be a set of instructions about how God created everything. Instead, each part of the story tells us how much God loves us and the world around us. It’s sometimes hard to hear that part of the story because we listen to the words but don’t imagine what the story looks like. So to help us imagine this part of the story, I’ve brought some friends with me. And here they are.

Share the different animals that your brought.

So the story begins with God seeing one person who is all alone. And God doesn’t like that. God knows that we need each other to live and love and be everything God wants us to be. So God decides to make a helper for that person. Now, a helper is more than just a person who helps. In the Old Testament, God is often described as a “helper.” So God wants to create for this person a partner who will help live and thrive and have everything they need. So God gets to work. And the story goes that God started to create all these different kinds of animals to see if they could be a good partner for the person. So God created a fish…and said “is this a good partner for you?” And, well, fishes are great – but there’s a lot they can do. So then God created a horse. Which was awesome but it’s hard to talk to horses or listen to them or even to get a horse to pray for us. So that didn’t work. Go through all the different animals. Then wrap up.

So God created all these animals and couldn’t find one that was the perfect partner for the person. And then God had the idea that we need each other so God, using the first person as a template/a model – God creates another person. And now, in the story, there’s two people who can care for each other, feed each other, help each other, pray for each other, love and serve each other.

God knows that we need each other to be who God wants us to be. That means all of us, regardless of how old we are, or where we’re from, or what gender we are, or whatnot – all of us are here to take care of each other. Everyone out there in the pews is called to help you and pray for you. And everyone up here is called to help and pray for everyone out there. We are designed by God to rely on each other. And one of the most important ways we can do that is by keeping each other in our prayers every day.

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 20th Sunday after Pentecost, 10/07/2018.

Children’s Sermon: All Together

Idea from Dollar Store Kid Sermons. Bring a bunch of bungee cords.

Hi everyone!

I’m very glad to see you today.

So when I moved into my house a few years ago, the previous person who lived there left a bunch of stuff. They asked me if I wanted any tools or anything and I said yes because I didn’t have anything. But, of course, they left a lot of stuff – stuff I could use and stuff I couldn’t. Some of the stuff I threw out. Some I donated to our church sale. Some of the stuff I kept. And I brought with me a few of the things I kept – specially these – a bunch of old cords.

Now let’s take a look at them. Each one is short with a hook on each end. They’re designed to hook together like this. But they’re all different colors. What colors are they? And they’re all different sizes. What sizes are they? Some are thick. Some are thin. They’re different. But they’re all suppppper stretchy. See how far they can stretch? And they’re also super tight so as they stretch, they don’t break and they can hold things together. They’re pretty neat.

If we look close at them, we notice that they’re made up different pieces. This green one has a green outer covering that is threaded together and weaved. But look at this part that shows us the inside? What do you see? There are a bunch of different cords – different black pieces. Which means this whole cord has these long pieces inside it. For this cord to be stretchy and strong, each of these black pieces has to be in it. If it had one less, it wouldn’t be as strong. If it had one more, it would be too big and the green cord would break. With these pieces working together, we get a cord that is strong and stretchy. And they’re all needed, working together, to make this cord what it is.

Today in our story about Jesus (Mark 9:38-50), we’re going to hear his friends come up to Jesus with a complaint. Someone they didn’t know was talking about Jesus and helping people just like Jesus did. They didn’t know who this person was; they didn’t know where they came from; they knew nothing about him. And so Jesus’ friends tried to stop that person because they didn’t know him. But Jesus tells them something powerful: those who are not against us are for us. This person who the disciples didn’t know was being faithful, trusted God, and trusted Jesus. And even though Jesus’ friends didn’t know that person, that person was needed and important. That person was making a difference.

And like how this cord needs different pieces working together to make it whole, Jesus needs all of us – everyone here in this church – everyone who is in other churches – Jesus needs all of us so that we can love, serve, and help the world just like he did. Jesus wants us to trust and follow him. But he doesn’t want us to do that alone. He wants us to do that together – because all of us – including you and you and you and me – are needed to love others just like Jesus loves 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 the 19th Sunday after Pentecost, 9/30/2018.

Children’s Sermon: the Way

“The Way.” Take a journey through the sanctuary.

Hi everyone!

I’m very glad to see you today. Today, we’re going to take a little trip around the sanctuary. And I’d like you to follow me.

Get up and go through the sanctuary. Stop by the stained glass windows. Highlight the different stories we see in each window. Each window tells a story, pointing to God, etc. After you get to the back of the sanctuary, stop and look around.

So we’ve got from all the way by the altar to here, in the back. How did we get here? They followed me and we went around the sanctuary. We could have gone a different way. We could have just walked down the center aisle to get here. But instead, we went a different way to get to where we needed to go. To follow Jesus’ story, we went around the sanctuary instead of just straight through it. We went a different “way.”

The phrase “The Way” is important. When Jesus started teaching about God, about how God wants us to live our lives, and when Jesus started to call friends and others to follow him – he didn’t call his movement “Lutheran” or “Christianity” or “Christian.” Instead, his movement was called “The Way.” And the way is just what we did – we walked a different path – we listened to different stories – we did different things. We followed “The Way.”

We follow the “way” by coming to church and hearing about Jesus. We follow “the way” by saying our prayers and listening to what God is telling us. We follow “the way” when we take care of our friends and family – and when we help those who don’t have everything we have or who are being made fun of or bullied. We follow “the way” by trusting that Jesus is loves us and that he is always helping us.

When you hear stories about Jesus, always listen for the phrase “the way.” It’s something not just a reference to a path or a journey – it’s sometimes a reference to Jesus being always with us – and helping us to love everyone in the same way he loves 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 the 18th Sunday after Pentecost, 9/23/2018.

Children’s Sermon: Words Come Out

We’re blessing athletes today. Idea from dskidsermons. Bring some toothpaste. Bring a plate.

Hi everyone!

I’m very glad to see you today.

So today is an awesome day because we’re blessing coaches, athletes, and players. If you play sports, we want to bless you and pray that you have a safe and fun season. In honor of that day, under my alb, I’m wearing one of the few things I have from high school – when I, for a short time, played on a team. And since I haven’t grown since like 8th grade, the jersey still fits. It’s my jersey for Lacrosse. I played midfield; number 47; and I wasn’t the greatest player. But I had fun doing it.

Ask the kids if they play sports (or if their parents and friends do). Share their teams, their numbers, and celebrate them for working and playing hard.

Now, one of the things that’s really important in sports is communication. If we’re on a team, we need to work hard to make sure we use our words to let our teammates know what we’re doing so that we can work together well. And we have to make sure our words are helpful and truthful too. If we’re playing soccer and we tell our teammate we’re going to the right but, instead, we go to the left – our teammate won’t know what we’re doing. The words we use are important and when we’re working together, especially in something like a sports team, we want our words to be truthful, helpful, respectful, and meaningful. Because words, when we’re playing sports or even if we’re in school – words have power.

I have something with me today. What is it? Toothpaste. Toothpaste is great! It helps our teeth stay cavity free and clean which is why we should brush twice a day. The toothpaste is in the tub. How do we get it out of the tub? Let the kids help you get toothpaste out and onto the plate. Awesome! When we squeeze the tub, especially from the bottom, it comes out and we can use it.

But what if we used too much? How can we get the toothpaste back into the tub? We can’t!

Once the toothpaste is out of the tub, it’s out there – and we can’t really put it back in. And our words are like that too. When we say something or put words out there, we can’t put them back in. What we say, or write, or post on the internet, that’s all out there. And we can’t put them back – if we end up saying something that isn’t helpful or is mean or is hurtful.

We’re going hear a special reading today from a guy named James who is going to tell us that words are powerful and what we say matters. What we say to each other; what we say about each other; makes a difference. When we say hurtful, untrue, or mean things – once the words are out there, once they cause hurt, we can’t undo them. What we say should be about helping each other, listening to each other, taking care of each other, and assuming that the people around us mean the best. In other words, our words should love our friends, our family, the people in church, in schools, and in the whole world – our words should show that we love and care for them – in the same way Jesus loves and cares for 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 the 17th Sunday after Pentecost, 9/16/2018.

Children’s Sermon: Open up!

Idea from Bring cotton balls (to stuff you ears). A hat (to cover your ears). Things that make it so you can’t hear.

Hi everyone!

I’m very glad to see you today.

I want to talk about a fun word that Jesus uses today. But before I can talk about the word, I’ve got to do something first.

Start plugging up your ears. Plug them up as much as you can. Talk to the kids about the different things you are using so that you can’t hear anything.

Now it’s really hard to hear when you cover your ears! It’s hard to hear people talk or whisper or hear noises. What is also hard when you can’t hear? Accept answers. Some people might lose their hearing because of an accident, an illness, or for other reasons. Others are born deaf – they can’t hear. But, right now, I’m being really silly – because I covered my ears so I can’t hear. Unlike some, I can help myself hear better. But what do I need to do? Open my ears!

Take off everything.

One of the stories we’re going to hear today involves Jesus helping someone hear. He’s going to pull this person aside, touch his ears, and help him hear. And when he does that, Jesus is going to say a word in the language he spoke – called Aramaic. And here it is:

Pass out sheets with the word on it.

This is a word that I….don’t know how to pronounce. Try to pronounce it. Work on it with the kids. It’s a word that means “be opened… opened.” Jesus, in our story today, is doing more than just trying to open up someone’s ears so they can hear. He’s was inviting the people around him to be open to the fact that he was God’s Son; that Jesus was God coming into the world to take care of us; and that Jesus loved everyone – including us and the people that we sometimes ignore or aren’t nice too. Jesus wanted everyone to know that, no matter where we are, God is there too. And we should open ourselves to God being wherever we are – and that means there is nothing that we go through that Jesus doesn’t go through with us. So I invite you, this week, to remember that Jesus is with you at school, in the car, at soccer practice – Jesus is with you always. And Jesus is inviting all of us to open up and discover how Jesus’ love – changes everything.

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 16th Sunday after Pentecost, 9/9/2018.

Children’s Sermon: We Can All Do One Little Thing

Bring a giant Shriver’s balloon and some salt taffy.

Hi everyone!

I’m very glad to see you today.

So I brought something with me today that is ridiculous. It’s…this! Share the giant balloon that is an eight foot tall salt water taffy. Let’s see how big this is. Compare it to the kids. Show how tall it is. Try not to knock over anything on the altar.

This is…gigantic. And it’s from a candy store in Ocean City New Jersey. Every night during the summer at 8 pm, the store gives out these giant balloons to kids. Kids line up to get them and then spend the rest of the night walking down the boardwalk carrying these HUUGGEEE balloons. It’s fun to see all the kids carrying them, playing with them, and celebrating these giant balloons.

Why do you think this candy company, Shriver’s, gives out these balloons? Accept answers.

I think they give them out for a few reasons. One, because they’re so big, they’re easy to see and they advertise the company. They hope people will see them and come to their store and buy their products. I also think they give them out because they like seeing the joy kids and adults have when they see something so big, so large, and so ridiculous. And they also, I think, represent something we might like to have – a giant piece of candy that’s bigger than us, that we can safely eat, and since this is pretend – we also pretend that we can eat this whole thing in one sitting, and not ruin our teeth, our appetite, our gain too much weight. These ridiculous giant taffy’s invite us to imagine a different kind of world where something ridiculous and fun brings us – and so many kids and adults – joy and fun.

Now, is it easy to carry this balloon around? No. Try it! Imagine trying to carry this around…all the time. It’s hard! You can’t get into the car easily. You can’t get into church easily. And if you carried this back to your pews, it wouldn’t fit very well with you. It feels impossible to have this in our life – because even though it’s fun – it doesn’t feel very practical.

In one of our readings today, from the book attributed to a guy named James, we’re going to start hearing some teachings that sound like they make sense and are good to do – but are sometimes not going to feel practical. We’re going to hear that we should always listen, not to speak until we listen first, and not get too angry too fast. We’re going to be invited to care for widows and orphans – which is God’s way of telling us to notice the people who are hurting, who don’t have much, and who we might not always see and that we should take care of them. James is going to invite us to imagine the world as a place where all people are fed, taken care of, and can become the people God wants them to be. And that’s going to sound great – and holy – and amazing – but…might not seem practical. God’s vision of the world is going to seem like this…giant balloon – fun, amazing, something to hope for, but not practical. Because how can we do all the things God asks us to do? It seems impossible to take care of all people, to listen to everyone, and to just…always love, no matter what. It seems like we sometimes can’t do that.

But James knows something that we sometimes forget. That, since we are Christians, and since we are baptized, and since Jesus is with us all the time – we get to do different and amazing and sometimes ridiculous things. It might seem impossible to take care of everyone – but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. And we do that by trying to do one thing: to be kind when we don’t want to; to listen to others when we first feel like we want to talk first; to notice the people who don’t have what we have and try to help them; to do one small thing. Because we can all do one small thing to love God, love our family, love our friends, and love our neights. And that one thing, (show the real salt water taffy that you have) while it feels small, can be just as sweet. Pass out salt water taffy to the kids that can have it.

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 15th Sunday after Pentecost, 9/2/2018.

Children’s Sermon: Rules of the Game

Bring a board game!

Hi everyone!

I’m very glad to see you today.

So I have something with me today – what is it? Looks like a game! Right! This is a game. It’s a board game that teenagers and adults can play. It’s called go through the game and show the box to the kids.

Now, when we have a game – and we want to know how to play it – we need to find something. What do we need to find? The instructions! That’s right. The instructions. And here are the instructions for this game. Go through the instructions – not describing how to play the game but different things the game gives us.

These instructions help us play the game the way the creator of the game intended. They’re a list of rules that help us enjoy the game and have fun. When we, together, follow the instructions – we all can have fun even if we don’t win.

Instructions aren’t necessarily easy. And they are sometimes hard to understand. We need to make sure we can read them, have the pieces we need, and can follow along. Some instructions are simple – others are complex. Instructions can be difficult – but they’re helpful for us to play the game the way the Creator intended.

Today, we’re going to hear in our readings from the bible that will sound like a list of instructions. And they’re not always easy to understand or follow. Yet we have to remember that because God loves us and Jesus is with us always, God gives us instructions to help all people experience God’s love. God’s instructions are away to help each other, take care of each other, be kind to each other, and more.

There might be time when we get an instruction that we might not understand. Or an instructions that feels like it doesn’t really work for us where we live. And that’s okay. God wants us to listen to these words, to read these instructions, and struggle to see if they help us to love each other. They might – or they might not. But God knows that when we gather together to figure these instructions out, when we pray and worship and share communion together, and when we bring a whole church of people together to figure this out – a church full of different people and different backgrounds and different experiences – the Holy Spirit will let us know how we can love each other the way God wants us to. Because love – the love we see as modeled and experiences and given to us through Jesus Christ – that’s our main instruction – and when we can love like that, we live the way God, the creator of everything, wants us too.

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 13th Sunday after Pentecost, 8/19/2018.

Children’s Sermon: Manna

Bring the Dr. Seuss book “Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!” and a Cat in the Hat hat if you can

Hi everyone!

I’m very glad to see you today.

So today I want to talk about an ancient Hebrew word we’ll hear today in our story about Jesus and to do that, I brought this: show Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!

We’re not going to be able to read the entire book today so if you’ve never read it, I invite you to bug your parents to take you to the library so you can get your own copy and read it. It’s a book by Dr. Seuss who wrote all sorts of books, including The Cat in the Hat. Dr. Seuss was an artist and a writer and he loved making up words. Let’s look at a few made up words in this book.

Go through and find some of the made up words for creatures, etc. Share them and invite the kids to imagine what those words are.

When we read books, especially Dr. Seuss, we get to use our imagination. We get to paint pictures in our heads of amazing things that we’ve never seen before or maybe that don’t exist. We get to dream up…anything. And we get to look at this brand new thing we dreamed up, maybe draw it, and share it with our family and friends – and get them to look at it and ask “what is it?”

Today, in our story about Jesus and in our very first scripture reading, we’re going to hear about God feeding God’s people through something called manna. Manna is an ancient Hebrew word – so why don’t we learn it? Can you say manna with me? Manna! Very good. The story goes that God’s people, the Israelites, after they escaped slavery in Egypt were wandering around a desert for 40 years. And there’s not a lot of food that grows in the desert. They start to get hungry and they do what we all do when we’re hungry – they start to complain. God listens to their complaining and says “okay. I’m going to give you bread – bread of my own making. All you have to do is, in the morning, go away from your camp into the fields, and you’ll see bread…everywhere.”

So that’s what the Israelites do. They wake up, go out into the fields, and they see something they’ve never seen before. It doesn’t look like bread…but it’s everywhere. And they don’t have a name for it. So they think, and think, and think and decide to call what they see – Manna – which literally means “what is it?” And that’s what God feeds them – with this amazing substance that we call bread but is so strange and different and wonderful, we have no real word to describe it. Rather, it’s something that God gives us, that feeds us, and all we can say call it is “what is it” – because we have no words to really describe it.

In all our lives, there will be moments when God will show up to us in a way that we didn’t expect. It might be in a vision – where we see something amazing – or it might be in the way someone takes care of us. God might show up to us when a friend is kind to us or when a stranger just seems to say and do the exact thing we need to be safe and loved. God shows up in amazing ways – in ways we can’t alway understand – and in ways we can’t always explain. But when God does show up, we are fed – we feel full, feel love, feel like we matter. And God does that for us through Jesus Christ every single day.

So when that love shows up – when you feel God in your life – you might not know what to call it – but there’s an ancient word we can use when we encounter the indescribable love of God – and that’s manna.

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 13th Sunday after Pentecost, 8/5/2018.