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The Gardener

For the 17th Sunday after Pentecost or Proper 22

(Lectionary 27) From “Saving the Ants”

Isaiah 5:1-7  “Now I will sing for the one I love
a song about his vineyard:
My beloved had a vineyard
on a rich and fertile hill.
2 He plowed the land, cleared its stones,
and planted it with the best vines.
In the middle he built a watchtower
and carved a winepress in the nearby rocks.
Then he waited for a harvest of sweet grapes,
but the grapes that grew were bitter….”  

Preparation: Bring flower or fruit stickers to hand out.  getyourkidsinthegarden

In the Old Testament reading this morning, the prophet Isaiah tells a story about someone who planted a garden. I want all of you to imagine that you are planting a garden. You want this garden to be very special and beautiful, so you begin by carefully preparing the soil. You take out all the rocks and dig up any weeds you find. You mix rich, black compost into the soil and rake the dirt so that it’s soft and crumbly and ready to be planted. Then you start to plant your seeds. (At this point, begin to put one flower sticker on each child, while you continue talking. You may, however, choose to hand out stickers at the end of childrenís sermon.)

You choose only the best seeds to plant in your garden. The chosen seeds are planted with care. Every day the garden is watered, and watched. The birds that come to eat the seeds are chased away. The weeds that pop up in the garden are quickly pulled out and thrown away.

With a garden so well tended, do you think good, healthy plants will grow? (Wait for responses.) Your garden should produce beautiful, healthy plants, shouldnít it? What if you put all that work into your garden and the only thing it produced was weeds? No flowers, no fruit, only prickles and thorns. How do you think you would feel? (Let children answer.)

Do you know what happened to the gardener in the story Isaiah told? He planted grape vines and took good care of them, but his garden didn’t produce good grapes.

God is like that gardener, and we’re his plants. God takes good care of us and wants us to grow and do good things. When we turn away from God and do what we shouldn’t, it’s as if God’s garden is wilting and filling up with weeds.

Do you think God feels sad when this happens? I’m sure he does. This morning, you all received flowers to help you remember that you are part of God’s garden. Grow strong and bear good fruit!

Prayer: Lord God, our Creator, thank you for making us and caring for us. Help us to grow like healthy plants and produce good things with our lives.

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