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May 2013

Strong Wind, Strong Branches

Holy Trinity Sunday; 1st Sunday after Pentecost

From “Scolding the Snakes”

Scripture Reference: Rom. 5:1-5


Preparation: Bring in a tree branch—preferably one that has fallen in a storm or been trimmed—to illustrate your talk.

I brought a tree branch with me this morning. (Hold up  branch and let children guess where it came from.) After a big windstorm, you might find a lot of branches scattered around on the ground. Have any of you seen the mess that strong wind can make of leaves and branches? (Kids can share some storm stories.) If the wind is strong enough, it can break a big branch right off the tree—or even blow a whole tree over!

You know, from a tree’s point of view, it might be better if there were no wind at all. Even ordinary wind can make things difficult for trees. The wind blows trees around and bends their branches this way and that, and sometimes breaks their branches.

Well, some years ago, scientists tried out an experiment with trees and wind. They built a huge, clear dome to enclose an area where animals and trees and other plants lived. Light could come in, but the space was closed off from the rest of the world in every other way. No air could enter from the outside, so there was no wind inside the dome.

At first the trees did very well. With no wind to bend or break their branches, the trees grew straight and tall; and after awhile some of the trees produced fruit. But as the fruit grew larger and heavier, the branches that held the fruit began to break! The trees were not strong enough to support their own fruit. The scientists discovered that trees need wind to build strong branches. As wind pulls the tree and branches this way and that, they grow strong and flexible. Trees actually need the bothersome wind in order to grow strong!

People are a little bit like trees. We may not like it when bad things or troubles come our way. We may feel hurt if others tease us for believing in God and for always wanting to do things God’s way. We may be pushed around by problems or by difficult people, but we don’t have to be afraid. Those troubles can end up making us stronger if we keep trusting the Lord.

In the New Testament book of Romans, we learn that we can rejoice when we run into troubles, because they will make us strong inside. God will be with us in any and every trouble we face. And when we see how God helps us make it through one problem, we know God will be there for the next one, too—and the one after that.

And the more we see how God helps us, the more we trust in God.

Prayer:  Dear God, stay with us in every trouble and every bad thing we face. Show us how strong we can be when you are with us.


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