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Find the Sheep!

Pentecost Proper 19; 17th Sunday after Pentecost

Scripture Reference: Luke 15:1-10

From “Scolding the Snakes”

Preparation: Before the service hide a stuffed toy sheep somewhere in the sanctuary not too far from where you meet with the kids. It shouldn’t be too difficult for children to find.  

Baaabara, My Favorite Lamb

Baaabara, My Favorite Lamb

Good morning! How are you this morning? (Let children respond.) Say, have any of you ever lost something that meant a lot to you? How does that feel? (Let kids share several experiences of loss and the feelings they had.) If you search and search and finally find what you had lost, how do you feel then? (Kids respond.) Well, I’m feeling sad this morning because I’m missing a sheep. I can’t find my special little sheep. I brought her to church with me this morning, but she got away from me and disappeared. I’m pretty sure she’s somewhere in this room.

I feel a little bit like the shepherd in this morning’s Gospel lesson from Luke. This lesson tells about a shepherd who has one hundred sheep, and if he’s missing one, he will go and look and look for that sheep until he finds it. Every single sheep is very important to a good shepherd. Will you help me find my sheep? We’ll all look for her, and then when we find her, we’ll celebrate, okay?

(Let children spread out throughout the sanctuary and look for the sheep; when they find it, have everyone gather up front once more.) Hurrah! We found the lost sheep. I am so happy. Do you know that Jesus is like that shepherd who went looking for the one lost sheep? Jesus wants everyone in the world to be a part of his flock. He wants everyone to know God’s love. It’s wonderful that some of us grow up in God’s family and have always known that God loves us. But there are lots of lost sheep out there, a lot of people who don’t know Jesus. And Jesus is looking for those lost sheep. He wants to rescue those sheep.

When we tell people about God and treat them with kindness and invite them to church, we are helping Jesus find his lost sheep. And do you know what happens when Jesus finds a lost sheep? There’s a big party in heaven—a celebration! Luke 15:10 says, “I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (NRSV).

So now you know how to start a party in heaven: teach someone that Jesus loves them. I hope all of you get to start many heavenly parties!

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, thank you for being our Good Shepherd. Help us always to be on the lookout for lost sheep to bring to you.

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