Previous Posts – Click to View

September 2012

Tongues of Fire

Pentecost Proper 19

From “Sitting on the Rainbow”

Artwork by Elsa Ingulsrud

Scripture Reference: James 3:1-6

Preparation: Bring a small match and, if possible, a picture of a forest fire or burned buildings. 

Who can name some dangerous things—things to be careful of? (Let children give answers; help them if necessary.) Are tigers dangerous? Are lightning bolts dangerous? Some dangerous things are fairly large, and we can see they’re dangerous just by looking at them. But some very small things are dangerous, too. I have something in my hand that could destroy a whole building. It could even destroy a whole city or a huge forest. (Show children the match in your hand.) This little match could start a very destructive fire.

I’m sure all of you know how dangerous it is to play with matches. Fire is not a toy to play with. You have to be very careful because a fire can get so huge so quickly that you can’t control it. (Here you may give an example of a recent destructive fire from the news or share one of your own experiences. My example follows.) Some recent forest fires started with just a small blaze that quickly grew so big that fire fighters couldn’t put them out or control them. Big fires get so hot that you can’t even get close enough to throw water on them.

None of you is carrying a match in your pockets. That would be a silly and risky thing to do. But all of you are carrying something that can be even more dangerous than a match. I invite every one of you to stick out your tongue and look at it. (Let children do this now.) That tongue doesn’t look very dangerous, does it? It may even look silly. But your tongue can cause so much damage. It can’t burn down a building, but it can make someone else feel very sad. The things you say can really hurt people. And the older you get, and the better you get at using words, the more you can hurt others with your tongue. Words can make people so sad that they don’t like themselves anymore.

The book of James in the Bible says, “The tongue is a small thing, but what enormous damage it can do. A tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is full of wickedness that can ruin your whole life” (James 3:5-6 NLT). Did you know you were carrying around something so dangerous?

But we don’t have to use our tongues for evil things; we can say wonderful and good things with our tongues. What are good things we could say to someone else? (Let children give examples like, “I love you,” and “Can I help?”) I hope that all of you will be careful with your tongues and always use them to help people and not hurt them.

Prayer:  Dear Lord, help us to learn to control our tongues. Help us always to use our voices to praise you, tell the truth, and help others with loving words. 

2 comments to Tongues of Fire

Bless Me with a Comment: