Seventy Times Seven

For the 14th Sunday after Pentecost or Proper 19 (Lectionary 24) From “Saving the Ants”

Artwork by Elsa Ingulsrud

Matt. 18:21-22 “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “No!” Jesus replied to Peter, “Seventy times seven!” (NLT)

Preparation: Bring a large pad of paper and a fat marker.

Have you ever hurt another person? If you’ve either accidentally or purposefully stepped on someone’s foot, or pushed someone, or called your sister or brother a mean name, or made someone

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What a Dog Teaches Us About God

This past summer, one of the members of our congregation at West Tokyo Union Church passed away. He was an unusual member, but he ran to church every Sunday and waited outside in the courtyard next to his water bowl until the service was over. Snack time often spilled over into the courtyard and Bjorn was always there to opportunistically clean up any leftover treats. He knew the value of a vigorous post-prandial roll in the grass and he was often joined by the children

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Junk Food

For the 13th Sunday after Pentecost or Proper 18 (From “Saving the Ants.” Purchase book at left.) Scripture Reference: Psalm 119:37

Preparation: Bring one candy bar along with a bowl of fruit to share. (Grapes make for tidy eating in church.)

Does anyone here ever eat junk food? What is junk food? Can you describe it or give some examples? (Wait for answers.) Yes, junk food is usually sweet or salty and crunchy, and we eat it just for fun. It doesn’t really

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Jesus Is the Rock

God’s promises are dependable and solid, like rock. There are a lot of hymns about Jesus being the solid rock on which we stand. It is a good way to describe Jesus. He’s solid. He doesn’t get washed away by trouble or time. Jesus has promised that he will always be with us, and he is always with us.

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Inseparable

Can anything pull us away from God? No! We’re inseparable. When I read this verse, I thought of my favorite stuffed animal and of other kids with their favorite toys. Have you ever seen someone try to take a favorite toy away from a child? They will hang on for all they’re worth.

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Weeds in the Field

The disciples knew this wasn’t just a story about a field with weeds, and they wanted Jesus to tell them the meaning. So Jesus told them that the field represented the world and he was the owner of the field. Who do you think the good seeds are? I can see many good seeds from where I’m sitting. Those who love Jesus are the good seeds. Are there any bad seeds in our world? Yes, unfortunately there are people who do not love God and who do mean things to other people.

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Parable of the Sower

This is a story that Jesus told to a huge crowd of people, and it is called “The Parable of the Sower.” A sower is someone who plants seeds. Many of the people in the crowd listening to Jesus were farmers. They knew a lot about seeds and soil and planting, so they were very interested in this story.

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Crossed Wires

We’re not robots, though, are we? We can’t blame our mistakes on crossed wires. We can’t claim that someone assembled us the wrong way. We’re children of God, and we want to do the right thing, but sometimes we make mistakes. Sometimes we do just the opposite of what we want to do.

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Inviting Jesus

Jesus told his disciples that whoever welcomes or invites them, welcomes Jesus. So how could I invite Jesus to my house? (A child may answer.) I can invite one of Jesus’ disciples, one of his friends, to my house. How many disciples or friends of Jesus do you see here? Raise your hand if you are a friend of Jesus!

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Abba, Daddy

Holy Trinity Sunday From “Sitting on the Rainbow” Artwork by Elsa Ingulsrud Scripture Reference: John 3:16 and Rom. 8:15-17

Preparation: Bring a little bag of treasures or treats to hand out at the end of your message, or you may have the gifts in your pockets.

Imagine that you are visiting at the home of a friend. Your friend’s father has been gone on a long trip, and the rest of the family is looking forward to his return. They tell you he’ll be coming

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