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February 2013

Food for the Soul

3rd Sunday in Lent

From “Scolding the Snakes”

Scripture Reference: Isa. 55:1-9

Snow Monkeys; photo by Kiyoshi Ookawa

Preparation: Bring brief, favorite Bible verses printed on cards or bookmarks—enough to give one to each child. If possible, also bring a flipchart and marker to jot down kids’ responses.

What do all people and animals need to survive? (Let children share thoughts. If you have a marker and chart, note their answers.) We need food and water. We also need to stay warm. Animals have fur and feathers to keep them warm. How do people stay warm? Clothes and homes help keep people warm. So, we need food and clothing and homes. Do we need anything else to live?

Can baby animals that come from eggs survive all by themselves? (Let children speculate.) Some baby animals manage pretty well by themselves soon after they are hatched. Tiny turtles race for the ocean after they hatch from eggs; little alligators don’t need much help; even some birds can start taking care of themselves soon after leaving their eggs.

But we don’t hatch from eggs, do we? Just like monkeys and cats and dogs, we’re born from our mommies. And babies like us need help to survive. We need to drink milk, and we need to be protected. Our parents find food for us. Humans take a long time to grow up. People are often about eighteen years old before they can survive on their own.

But you know, it’s not just food and water and shelter that people and animals need to survive. If a baby doesn’t get love and hugs, he or she may not survive. If a baby mammal in a zoo loses its mother, the zookeepers feed it, and they also snuggle and hold the little baby animal to make sure it stays healthy. People need lots of love to stay healthy, too. Where do we get love and hugs and snuggles? (Let children answer.)

People also need a special kind of food to stay healthy and happy on the inside. In the Old Testament book of Isaiah, we hear God’s voice calling to us to come and eat and drink. “Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink—even if you have no money! . . . It’s all free! . . . Listen, and I will tell you where to get food that is good for the soul!” (55:1-2 NLT).

Jesus is sometimes called the Bread of Life: the love he gives us and the things he teaches us help us to grow into strong, happy people. And Jesus is free for the asking. We need God’s love for our souls to survive; and we need the Word of God, the Bible, to feed our lives—way past the age of eighteen. (Hand out the bookmarks/Bible verses.) Here is some food for your souls. Take these home and then snuggle up to your parents as you read the message together.

Prayer:  Thank you for giving us all we need to grow healthy and strong, Lord. Help us learn more and more about you by reading your words in the Bible.

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