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August 2013

Throw Off the Weights

Pentecost Proper 15; 13th Sunday after Pentecost

Scripture Reference: Heb. 12:1-2 

From “Scolding the Snakes”  Kids_running

How many of you have ever run in a race? (Let kids respond.) If we were going to have to run in a long race, what things could we do to get ready? (Discuss children’s ideas.) We could get in shape by practicing. We could eat healthy things before the race so we’d have energy. We could wear lightweight clothes and good, sturdy shoes. And let’s all stretch our muscles like we’re getting ready to run in a race. (Stretch out with kids.)

Now this is going to be a walking race (no running in church, you know), and it’s going to be for just one racer—so I’d like one volunteer to be my fast walker. The rest of us will be the cheering crowd. (Pick a volunteer—an older child who is fairly tall.) Let’s put our walker in the middle aisle, and the race will be from the front of the church to the back. The fast walker has to wait until I say go, and then we can all cheer him or her on. But before the race starts, I’m going to add something to make our walker’s race more difficult. Can I have a few more volunteers? (Choose four or six more children and have them sit on walker’s feet and hold onto walker’s legs.) Now (to the racer), because you have some kids on your feet, you have to be careful not to hurt them. But still try to get to the back of the church. On your mark, get set, go! (Cheer as walker tries to go a few steps, then stop the race.)

You can’t race like this, can you? There’s too much weight slowing you down. Let’s remove these weights from your feet and legs and let you try again. But first, listen while I read a couple of verses from Hebrews, chapter 12.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us” (v. 1 NLT).

All of us are in the race God has set before us—our lives are like a race. We try to do what God wants us to do as we walk through life. If we’re carrying around sin and anger and bad feelings, those things can slow us down just like the kids slowed down our racer. We can pray for God’s help to keep us from sin and anger and bad feelings, and we can let God’s forgiveness take away the weight of the sins we do commit. When we’ve finished the race and come to the end of our lives, what happens? (Let children answer.) Jesus is waiting for us, isn’t he? And the people who have gone on before us to heaven are there to cheer us on and encourage us to keep going.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, take away all sins and bad things that slow us down and keep us from running toward you.

Now let’s try that walking race once more, and let’s all cheer our racer on! (Start walker again. After race, let kids walk quickly back to their places.)


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