Not Seeing but Believing

Do we always have to be able to see things in order to believe they exist? What are some things that we can’t see but still know are there? (Let kids share their thoughts.) We can’t see the air all around us, but when the wind is blowing, we can feel the air, or we can see the things it moves. (Use fan to illustrate air movement—maybe letting it move a scrap of paper.) We can’t see sound waves, but when we hear a loud noise (use whistle to illustrate sound), we know that sound is real. We can’t see the love that our parents and friends have for us, but we feel their hugs and hear their loving words, and we know that their love is real.

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Listening for the “Love”

Baabara: But why did Jesus have to die in the first place? Me: Well, if the disciples had listened carefully, they would have understood that Jesus was going to die on the cross to save the world from sin and death. By dying on the cross, Jesus, the Good Shepherd, was saying something very important to the whole world. Baabara: What was he saying? Me: Jesus was saying, “I love you.”

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Snake on a Stick

Strange as it may seem, there is a connection between Moses’ snake on a stick and Jesus on the cross. Many of you might know the famous Bible verse, John 3:16; “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” But right before that verse is this one: “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.”

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Cheating in the Temple

The temple, or the place where people came to worship God, should have been the one place where everyone knew they would be loved and accepted and treated fairly. Our churches should be the same way, shouldn’t they? But when Jesus visited the temple in Jerusalem, he found that a lot of cheating was going on.

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Crusty Grudges

“What’s a grudge?” “It’s what forms inside when someone says or does something bad to you and you refuse to let go of the hurt. It stays inside you and gets all crusty and hard and you end up carrying it around forever.”

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A Watered Garden

We all have something like a garden inside each of us. Our “inside garden” is filled with our thoughts, our discoveries, and our feelings. Our garden is who we are deep inside.

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Nothing Is Impossible

Now I know that you are never supposed to bring dangerous weapons to church, but in my bag, I have a model of an extremely powerful and dangerous weapon. What do you think it could be? (Let children guess.) This weapon has already been used here on earth. It was used to save all of us. And it broke down the gates of hell and destroyed the devil’s power. (Retrieve baby Jesus doll and show everyone.)

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God’s Hug

I know I can hug at least one person. I’ll show you, if someone would volunteer to be hugged. (Give one volunteer a hug.) And I’m pretty sure that I can hug two people at once. (Give two volunteers a hug.) But in order to hug all of you at once, the way our Father in heaven can, I will need some help. (Have your volunteer adults come forward to help out.) Now let’s see if we can give all of God’s lambs a hug at the same time, the way God can. (Give a group hug.)

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King and Shepherd

Ezekiel 34 tells us what kind of shepherd our Lord is: “I myself will search for my sheep. . . . I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak” (Ez. 34:11, 16 NRSV). Even when the sheep are scattered all over the place, the shepherd will gather them up and bring them back. God always looks for us when we’ve turned away from him and have taken the wrong and dangerous path. Our Lord never gives us up for lost.

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Use It Or Lose It

For the 23rd Sunday after Pentecost or Proper 28 (Lectionary 33) From “Saving the Ants” Artwork by Elsa Ingulsrud

Scripture Reference: Matt. 25:14-30 “… to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability.”

Jesus told many parables describing how we need to prepare for when he comes again. He really wanted his disciples to listen. Jesus’ return is something to look forward to, but it is also something for which we need to prepare.

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