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April 2011

Love in Action: Children’s Sermon Response to 3/11

The March 2011 East Japan Earthquake

Scripture References:

Luke 13: 4 – 5 and Matthew 25:34 – 36

Preparation: Bring photos or a short video clip demonstrating the damage caused by the tsunami. Photos of families in refugee centers might also help the children understand what the conditions are like now in northern Japan.

On March 11, 2011 at 2:46 pm Tokyo time, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake hit Japan. The ground shifted and shook very hard and out in the ocean, a giant wave began to build as a result of the earthquake. As the wave approached the northern coast of Japan’s main island, it rose up to a height of more than 10 meters, or 33 feet high. That is taller than the height of many houses or churches. A wave that big can wipe away almost anything in its path. When that wave hit the coast of Japan, entire towns were washed away. Many people died that day. It was a very, very sad day.

We know that God is our Creator and Ruler over everything, so some people have wondered if God sent the earthquake as a punishment or a message to the people of Japan. Some have even called it a “Godquake.” When Jesus was preaching here on earth, a tower fell in Jerusalem and killed eighteen people and some said that those people must have been sinful and deserved to die; that is why the tower fell on them instead of some others. They thought that God caused the tower to fall on those people. Jesus was angry when he heard this. He said that those eighteen were no worse than any of the people around them. Just because some people are caught in a disaster, does not mean that they had it coming. Bad things can happen to anyone.

We don’t know what will happen to us today or tomorrow. We must always be ready to meet our Savior. Every day and in every way, we need to act as true followers of Christ. So when a disaster strikes and people are killed and families lose their homes and everything they own, what do we do? How do we serve Jesus in such a terrible time? If Jesus lost his home and his family members in a terrible disaster, would you give Jesus a place to stay and food to eat? (Let children answer.)

Jesus said that when we help others in need, it is the same as helping Jesus. When we show love to those who are hurting and crying, we are showing love to Jesus. So we do know what to do when a disaster happens, don’t we? What can we do as followers of Christ Jesus? (Let children offer their ideas.)

In Japan, right now, Christians and others all over the country are collecting food and blankets and other needed supplies and they are loading up trucks and ships and sending it North. Supplies are going to people who are living in shelters, all in one room, because their houses are all gone. And all over the world, people are sending supplies to Japan to help them rebuild homes and businesses. Somehow, good things are happening out of the sadness of this disaster, and we see God’s love reaching out to the people of Japan. This is God’s love in action and you can be part of that action. Let’s pray together.

Prayer: Creator God, we know that you have the whole world in your hands. We thank you that you love all the people of the world. Send help and comfort to the people of Japan. Please show us ways that we can help those who have lost homes and families. Help us to be your hands of help and love in this world.

Luke 13: 4 – 5; “Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem?  I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” 

Matthew 25:34 – 36 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’”

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