Showing posts with label Children's Sermon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Children's Sermon. Show all posts

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Faithful Acts Are Their Own Reward

16 Pentecost, C proper 22  October 6, 2019
Habakkuk 1:1-4, 2:1-4  Psalm 37:1-10
2 Timothy 1:1-14   Luke 17:5-10

Lectionary Link

I would like to tell you a story about two little girls who were sisters.  One was ten and the other was eight.  Their names were Susie and Sally.  Sally, the younger sister had some bad luck.  She had taken a bad fall while riding her bike and she had broken her leg.  So, she had to remain in bed.  Their mother came to their bedroom and said, "Susie, I would like for you to clean your room now."  And Susie said, "But do I have to do it alone?"  Her mom said, "Yes, you do because your sister cannot get on her feet."

Susie was pouting about having to clean her bedroom alone.  Sally said to her, "Susie, I am jealous of you."  Susie ask her, "Why are you jealous of me?"  Sally said, "Because you get to clean the room.  You have two strong legs and you can move around.  I cannot clean the room because I have to stay in bed."

So Susie thought, "Well, I guess I should be thankful, because I get to clean my room, because I can."

What Jesus was trying to teach with his stories is that all of us are supposed to do good.  And we get to do good because we can do it.

As babies and little children we think that we should be rewarded to do good.  Or we might be afraid of punishment if we don't do good.  But as we grow up, we realize that the reward is that we get to do good.  Doing good things is its own reward.

St. Francis was a hero because he discovered.  "Wow, God, I get to be good.  It is the best reward of all to be able to do good things."  So what did Francis do?  He gave his money to poor people.  He collected food for them to eat.  He was a friend of animals and the trees and the sunlight.  What reward did St. Francis want?  Yes, he like everyone, probably wanted to go to heaven, but he discovered that we can have a reward before we go to heaven.  What is the reward?  We get to be good.  We get to be kind.  We get to share with other people.  To be able to love is the best reward of all.

Jesus also said that a little mustard seed would grow into a very big tree.  He was teaching his disciples that they could not have "big faith" without doing all of the little deeds of faith each day, each hour and each minute.  If we do all of the little deeds of faith, they collect and form the character of our lives.

Let us learn of Jesus and Francis today:  We get to be good.  That is our reward.  And when we get to be good, we help others, we help our pets and we also take good care of our environment.

Let us say today to Jesus.  Thank you Jesus for this great reward.  Our reward is that we get to be good.  Amen.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Sunday School, July 28,2019 7 Pentecost, C proper 12

Sunday School, July 28,2019      7 Pentecost, C proper 12

Theme Prayer

The disciples like us wanted to know how to pray and so they asked Jesus to teach them.  And we have the famous Lord’s Prayer, which is really the disciple’s prayer.

What did Jesus teach us in this prayer?

He said we are to address God as “Our Father.”  This means that we are to be like Jesus in that we know and accept ourselves as God’s children.

He taught us about God’s realm of heaven where perfection is to be found.  Inside us, we have access to the perfect values of God; we ask God to bring the will of God known in the invisible world of heaven to the visible world of earth.

He said we should ask for daily bread.  We ask for the things that we need.  “Give us this day our daily bread.”  We say, “Give us” and not “Give me.”  This means that we are always asking enough for all people to live with what is necessary for their lives.

Jesus also taught us that the only way that we can be successful in family, church and community is through the practice of forgiveness.  Since no one is perfect, it means we have to forgive each other to survive as people living together.

Jesus also told us to ask God our Father, to spare us from the difficult challenges of our lives which would destroy our faith and confidence in God and God’s love.

The Lord’s Prayer gives us a model of how we can pray in our lives.


  What is the most famous prayer of all?  What is it called?
  It’s called the Lord’s Prayer and it begins with the words, “Our Father.”
  Jesus taught us to call God, “our father” because he was the Son of God, and he invited us to be sons and daughters of God.
  And we celebrate being sons and daughters of God by being a member of our second family; the family of our church.
  And since God is our Father and creator, we are to treat God and God’s name with great politeness and respect.  That’s why we say “hallowed is your name.”
  Jesus said that God the Father lives in heaven and that we are to ask him to let something of the perfect life of heaven happen upon earth.  Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
  And what would be perfect life on earth?
  It would be perfect if everyone had enough food to eat.  That’s why we pray, “Give us in this world this day, our daily bread.”  So we should help answer this prayer and work for everyone to have enough to eat.
  And what else would be heaven on earth?
  To practice forgiveness.  Forgiveness is learning how to say that we’re sorry and learning to give people another chance.
  What else would be heaven on earth?  To live our lives in such a way to avoid the things that cause us to lose hope and joy.  So we say, “save us from the time of trial.”  Or deliver us from temptation.  That means even if some bad things happen to us, if we live together as a family of care, then we will not lose our hope and joy when those bad things happen.
  So let us remember the famous prayer, the Our Father.
  Let us accept our selves as son and daughters of God and just like we talk we our moms and dads because we love them, let us learn to talk to God as our heavenly parent. 

Holy Eucharist, young child friendly
July 28, 2019: The Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

Gathering Songs:Hallelu, Hallelujah, Sing a New Song, O Lord, Hear My Prayer,  He’s Got the Whole World

Liturgist: Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
People: And blessed be God’s kingdom, now and forever.  Amen.

Liturgist:  Oh God, Our hearts are open to you.
And you know us and we can hide nothing from you.
Prepare our hearts and our minds to love you and worship you.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Song: Hallelu, Hallelujah,  (Christian Children’s Songbook, # 84)
Hallelu, hallelu, hallelu, hallelujah!  Praise ye the Lord!  Hallelu, hallelu, hallelu, hallelujah!  Praise ye the Lord!  Praise ye the Lord!  Hallelujah!  Praise ye the Lord!  Hallelujah!  Praise ye the Lord!  Hallelujah!  Praise ye the Lord!

Liturgist:         The Lord be with you.
People:            And also with you.

Liturgist:  Let us pray
O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Liturgy Leader: In our prayers we first praise God, chanting the praise word: Alleluia

Litany of Praise: Alleluia

O God, you are Great!  Alleluia
O God, you have made us! Alleluia
O God, you have made yourself known to us!  Alleluia
O God, you have provided us with us a Savior!  Alleluia
O God, you have given us a Christian family!  Alleluia
O God, you have forgiven our sins!  Alleluia
O God, you brought your Son Jesus back from the dead!  Alleluia

A reading from the Letter to the Colossians

As you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

Liturgist: The Word of the Lord
People: Thanks be to God

Liturgist: Let us read together from Psalm 138

Though the LORD be high, he cares for the lowly; * he perceives the haughty from afar.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you keep me safe; * you stretch forth your hand against the fury of my enemies; your right hand shall save me.

Litany Phrase: Thanks be to God!

For the good earth, for our food and clothing. Thanks be to God!
For our families and friends. Thanks be to God!
For the talents and gifts that you have given to us. Thanks be to God!
For this day of worship. Thanks be to God!
For health and for a good night’s sleep. Thanks be to God!
For work and for play. Thanks be to God!
For teaching and for learning. Thanks be to God!
For the happy events of our lives. Thanks be to God!
For the celebration of the birthdays and anniversaries of our friends and parish family.
   Thanks be to God!

(Sing Birthday blessings or wedding blessings to those present who are celebrating)

Liturgist:         The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke
People:            Glory to you, Lord Christ.

Jesus was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples." He said to them, "When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name.  Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us. And do not bring us to the time of trial."  And he said to them, "Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, `Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.' And he answers from within, `Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.' I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.  "So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"

Liturgist:         The Gospel of the Lord.
People:            Praise to you, Lord Christ.

Sermon – Father Phil

Children’s Creed

We did not make ourselves, so we believe that God the Father is the maker of the world.
Since God is so great and we are so small,
We believe God came into our world and was born as Jesus, son of the Virgin Mary.
We need God’s help and we believe that God saved us by the life, death and
     resurrection of Jesus Christ.
We believe that God is present with us now as the Holy Spirit.
We believe that we are baptized into God’s family the Church where everyone is
We believe that Christ is kind and fair.
We believe that we have a future in knowing Jesus Christ.
And since we all must die, we believe that God will preserve us forever.  Amen.

Liturgy Leader: Next in our prayers, we remember people who have special needs.  As we pray let us chant:  Christ Have Mercy

Litany Phrase: Christ, have mercy.

For fighting and war to cease in our world. Christ, have mercy.
For peace on earth and good will towards all. Christ, have mercy.
For the safety of all who travel. Christ, have mercy.
For jobs for all who need them. Christ, have mercy.
For care of those who are growing old. Christ, have mercy.
For the safety, health and nutrition of all the children in our world. Christ, have mercy.
For the well-being of our families and friends. Christ, have mercy.
For the good health of those we know to be ill. Christ, have mercy.
For the remembrance of those who have died. Christ, have mercy.
For the forgiveness of all of our sins. Christ, have mercy.

Youth Liturgist:          The Peace of the Lord be always with you.
People:                        And also with you.

Song during the preparation of the Altar and the receiving of an offering

Offertory Song: Sing a New Song, (Renew!, # 21)
Refrain: sing a new song unto the Lord; let your song be sung from mountains high.  Sing a new song unto the Lord, singing, Alleluia.
1-Yahweh’s people dance for joy; O come before the Lord.  And play for him on glad tambourines, and let your trumpet sound.  Refrain
2-Rise, O children from your sleep; your savior now has come.  He has turned your sorrow to joy, and fill your soul with song.  Refrain

Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise Him, all creatures here below.
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host. Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Prologue to the Eucharist
Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, for to them belong the kingdom of heaven.”
All become members of a family by birth or adoption.
Baptism is a celebration of birth into the family of God.
A family meal gathers and sustains each human family.
The Holy Eucharist is the special meal that Jesus gave to his friends to keep us together as the family of Christ.

The Lord be with you
And also with you.

Lift up your hearts
We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to God.
It is right to give God thanks and praise.

It is very good and right to give thanks, because God made us, Jesus redeemed us and the Holy Spirit dwells in our hearts.  Therefore with Angels and Archangels and all of the world that we see and don’t see, we forever sing this hymn of praise:

Holy, Holy, Holy (Intoned)
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of Power and Might.  Heav’n and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. 
Hosanna in the highest. Hosanna in the Highest.

(All may gather around the altar)

Our grateful praise we offer to you God, our Creator;
You have made us in your image
And you gave us many men and women of faith to help us to live by faith:
Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and Rachael.
And then you gave us your Son, Jesus, born of Mary, nurtured by Joseph
And he called us to be sons and daughters of God.
Your Son called us to live better lives and he gave us this Holy Meal so that when we eat
  the bread and drink the wine, we can  know that the Presence of Christ is as near to us as  
  this food and drink  that becomes a part of us.

The Prayer continues with these words

And so, Father, we bring you these gifts of bread and wine. Bless and sanctify them by your Holy Spirit to be for your people the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Bless and sanctify us by your Holy Spirit so that we may love God and our neighbor.

On the night when Jesus was betrayed he took bread, said the blessing, broke the bread, and gave it to his friends, and said, "Take, eat: This is my Body, which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me."

After supper, Jesus took the cup of wine, gave thanks, and said, "Drink this, all of you. This is my Blood of the new Covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this for the remembrance of me."

Father, we now celebrate the memorial of your Son. When we eat this holy Meal of Bread and Wine, we are telling the entire world about the life, death and resurrection of Christ and that his presence will be with us in our future.

Let this holy meal keep us together as friends who share a special relationship because of your Son Jesus Christ.  May we forever live with praise to God to whom we belong as sons and daughters.

By Christ, and with Christ, and in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit all honor and glory
 is yours, Almighty Father, now and for ever. AMEN.

And now as our Savior Christ has taught us, we now sing,
(Children rejoin their parents and take up their instruments) 

Our Father: (Renew # 180, West Indian Lord’s Prayer)
Our Father who art in heaven:  Hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done: Hallowed be thy name.

Done on earth as it is in heaven: Hallowed be thy name.
Give us this day our daily bread: Hallowed be thy name.

And forgive us all our debts: Hallowed be thy name.
As we forgive our debtors: Hallowed be thy name.

Lead us not into temptation: Hallowed be thy name.
But deliver us from evil: Hallowed be thy name.

Thine is the kingdom, power, and glory: Hallowed be thy name.
Forever and ever: Hallowed be thy name.

Amen, amen, amen: Hallowed be thy name.
Amen, amen, amen, amen: Hallowed be thy name.

Breaking of the Bread
Celebrant:       Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.
People:            Therefore let us keep the feast. 

Words of Administration

Communion Song: O Lord, Hear My Prayer, (Renew! # 173)
O Lord hear my prayer, O Lord hear my prayer:  when I call answer me.  O lord hear my prayer, O lord hear my prayer.  Come and listen to me.

Post-Communion Prayer
Everlasting God, we have gathered for the meal that Jesus asked us to keep;
We have remembered his words of blessing on the bread and the wine.
And His Presence has been known to us.
We have remembered that we are sons and daughters of God and brothers
    and sisters in Christ.
Send us forth now into our everyday lives remembering that the blessing in the
     bread and wine spreads into each time, place and person in our lives,
As we are ever blessed by you, O Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Closing Song: He’s Got the Whole World, (Christian Children’s Songbook,   # 90)
He’s got the whole world, in his hands.  He’s got the whole wide world, in his hands, he’s got the whole world, in his hands.  He got the whole world in his hands.
He’s got the little tiny babies….
He’s got the brothers and the sisters…
He’s got the mommies and the daddies….


Liturgist: Let us go forth in the Name of Christ.
People: Thanks be to God! 

Sunday, April 21, 2019


Easter Sunday  C   April 21, 2019
Isaiah 65:17-25  Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24
1 Corinthians 15:19-26  Luke 24:1-12

Johnny finished school on Thursday night and he picked his backpack and went outside to wait for his mom.  And he was very excited to leave for a long weekend for Easter.  When mom picked him up at school.  She asked, "Johnny, you seem really happy."  "I am," he said.  "Tomorrow is Good Friday so we don't have school and then we have a long weekend and Sunday is Easter and we'll have an Easter Egg hunt and we'll have lots of fun.  And I am really excited about something, but I forget about what I am excited about.  I had something really exciting to tell you but I can't remember it now.  Mom said, "Don't worry, Johnny you will remember."

"Oh, Oh, I was so excited to tell and I can't believe that I forgotten what I wanted to tell you."

Well, Good Friday came and Johnny got up early and came to breakfast.  Mom asked him, "Johnny did you remember what you wanted to tell me?"   Johnny said, "I remember being excited in my sleep last night, but I can't remember it this morning.  I know it was something special but I can't remember."

Johnny went to church and walked the Stations of the Cross with his family on Good Friday.  And he went to bed on Friday night.  He ask his mom to put a band aid on his finger.  She asked him, "Why do you want a band aid on your finger?"  Johnny said, "Maybe if you put a band aid on my finger, maybe I will remember the exciting news that I wanted to tell you about but forgot."  So Johnny went to bed with a memory band aid on, but it didn't work.  He got up on Saturday and he still could not remember.  But he did enjoy playing all day on Saturday and he was really tired on Saturday night.  When he went to bed and when his mom was tucking him in, Johnny said, "In my prayers, I am going to ask God to help me remember the exciting news that I wanted to share with you and the family."  Mom said, "Okay, let's pray."  And when they finished praying, mom said that she had a surprise for Johnny.  "What is the surprise?"  Johnny asked.  Mom said, "Well, tomorrow on Easter Sunday, after the Easter service and the Easter Egg hunt, we are going to go to the beach and have a picnic.  And your cousins are going to be there too."   Johnny said, " Wow...that's great, now if I could only remember my exciting news, I could share it with them too."

On Easter morning Johnny got up early and he made sure his Easter Egg basket was ready.  He went to church with his family and he got to wear a new lovely bright and colorful shirt.  He had a great time singing the happy songs of Easter and he collected about fifteen Easter Eggs on the church lawn.  He was really happy about that, though his mom, said that he could only eat one piece of chocolate before their picnic lunch.

Johnny's family got home from church and they packed up all of the blankets and towels and the beach toys.  Mom told Johnny to make sure and bring his backpack because it had his gym shoes and shorts that he could use at the beach, so Johnny threw his backpack into the back of the car.

Johnny and his family and his cousins had a great time and a great picnic at the beach.  But something strange happened.  Johnny's cousin Joey suddenly stopped on the beach and he yelled at Johnny, "Is that your backpack lying on the sand?  Why are those butterflies coming out of your backpack?"

Everyone on the beach started looking at Johnny's backpack.  The flap had fallen open and out of the back pack there flew one butterfly, two butterflies, three butterflies, four butterflies and five butterflies.  Mom asked Johnny, "How did those butterflies get in your backpack?"  Johnny said, "Oh, now I remember what I wanted to tell you.  When I left school last Thursday, the teacher let me bring home all of the cocoons from the terrarium.  We put them in a shoe box and put them in my backpack."

Mom said, "Well they are no longer cocoons.  They are now beautiful butterflies."  Johnny said, "Wow these butterflies were born on the the perfect day.  Just like Jesus Rose from the grave on Easter day, these butterflies have come out of their cocoons at just the right time."

Mom said, "I bet that you will never forget this Johnny."   Johnny said, "I will always remember Easter because I forgot about the cocoons, but the birth of the butterflies on Easter has made this a special day."

Easter is day that we celebrate the great change that took place in the life of Jesus.  He seemed to be dead and in a grave forever and his friends were sad.  But he came back to life to came to see his friends again.  And they were very happy.  And they never forgot this day.  And they shared this special day and now we again remember and share this special day.

Alleluia, butterflies come to life out of dead looking cocoons.   Alleluia!  Christ is Risen.  The Lord is Risen indeed.  Alleluia!  Amen.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Is Mom a Prayer Ninja?

7 Easter  B    May 13, 2018
Acts 1:15-17, 21-26   Psalm 1
1 John 5:9-13  John 17:6-19

Lectionary Link

Georgie came home from school one day and said to his mom, "Mom, did you come to school today?"  His mom said, "No, Georgie, I was not at your school today; why do you ask?"  Georgie said, "Well, when I was at school, it felt like you were there.  I thought someone was behind me rubbing my back and shoulder.  And I would turn around to greet you and then not see you.  Why did I think and feel and act like you were with me?"  Mom said to Georgie, "Georgie, I've got a little secret; I am like a silent Ninja Mom.  I can make you feel like I'm with you even when I'm not."  Georgie said, "Wow!  Is that for real?  How do you do that?"  Mom said, "Well, I'm not really a Ninja Mom, but I do have a secret."  Georgie said, "What is your secret?"  Mom said, "Well, I pray for you all of the time.  And because I pray for you, I feel connected with you all of the time.  It is like the thoughts of my prayers develop long reaching arms and hands and follow you around during the day when I cannot be with you.  So when I pray for you, it is like I am magically with as a Ninja Mom."  Georgie said, "Wow!  That's cool.  So when I alone, I can just think about you.  When it is dark in my bedroom at night, I can know that you are with me."  Mom said, "That is right Georgie, but also when you thinking about taking a cookie from the cookie jar right before dinner, I am there with you too."  Georgie said, "I guess that is when I would pretend you're not with me.  But why are we connected with prayers?"

Mom said, "Jesus was God's Special Son.  He prayed to his Father and he always felt connected with God his Father.  Jesus also prayed for his disciples and friends.  He asked that they might feel connected to him even when they did not see him.  He prayed that they might have a relationship with God the Father, like the one he shared with God his Father.  And when Jesus did not see the disciples; when he was gone from this earth, his prayers reached out and touched his disciples because he left his Holy Spirit inside of each of his disciples.  This is how we can be connected with each other even when we don't see each other.  And when we pray for each other we can celebrate our connection."

Georgie asked,"Mom, can I be a prayer Ninja too?  Can I reach and connect to you and dad and nana and papa when I pray?"  Mom said, "Yes, you can and I am very happy to know that you will pray for me."

Georgie said, "Mommy, Happy Mother's Day.  I love you.  Thank you for being a special Prayer Ninja for me."

Mom said," Georgie, Let us thank Jesus who prays for us and helps us each to be prayer Ninjas."  Amen.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Jesus Calls Us Friends

6 Easter b         May 6, 2018
Acts     Ps. 33:1-8,18-22
1 John 4:7-21      John 15:9-17      
Lectionary Link
What is one of the greatest gifts of life?

Is it a new bicycle?  Or a new doll?  Or some new clothes?  Or a new car?  Or a new house?  Or a new job?

All of these things might be good things and good surprises, but can you guess what the very best gift in life is?

The best gift in life is friendship.  When one discovers a friend one finds the best gift of life.

Jesus told his disciples.  You are my friends.  And as my friend, I will share with you everything.  And the best thing that Jesus shared with them was to have a relationship with God his father.

Jesus as the best friend of all, shared what was best.

He said that he would share his relationship with God as his Father.  So, Jesus told his friends; I'm like your brother, because you are sons and daughters of God too.  We are all members of God's family.

But you know what is said?  Not everyone knows that they are members of God's family.  Not everyone knows that Jesus is their friend.

Do you know what Jesus did to solve this problem?

Jesus told his students; you are my friends.  You have graduated from my school and now you have to go into all the world and tell and show all people that God is their Father and that I am their friend.

And so gather here today.  We gather today because Jesus has made us his friends.  And he has let us know that we are sons and daughters of God.

He has let us know that his life can be known within us by God's Holy Spirit.

God is pure friendship.  God is the Friendship of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  And the friendship of God has been given to us when God's Son, Jesus came to show us how to be special friends of God and friends with each other.

Today, we celebrate our friendship with God and with Jesus and with each other.  And we celebrate the Friendship energy that is in us and around.  That friendship energy is the Holy Spirit.

Let us be thankful today for the gift of friendship with God and let us be thankful for the friendship that we have with each other.  And let us not forget to share this friendship news to more people and invite them to be with us as our new friends.   Amen.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Molly's Multiplication of Trees

5 Easter    B  April 29, 2018
Acts 8:26-40  Psalm 22:24-30
1 John 4:7-21  John 15:1-8
Lectionary Link

  I would like to tell you story about Molly.  Molly was a wonderful little girl who liked to help her mom.  She used to watch her mom do all kinds of things.  She watched her cook in the kitchen and she watched her work in the garden.

  Molly liked to help her mom and do special things for her.  One day she watched her mom plant a small tree in the yard.  It was just a small tree, but it had four branches on it with leaves.

   Molly thought she would like to help mom and surprise her.

   She thought, “Mom loves trees.  What if planted more trees for her?”

Do you know what Molly did?  When mom went to the store, Molly decided to surprise her.  She went out to mom’s tree and she broke off the four branches.  And she planted each of these branches in the ground.  And she was very excited because now mom would have five trees and not just one tree.

  When mom came home from the store, Molly went out to see her and she was excited to tell her about a special surprise.  She said, “Mom, you planted just one tree, but now you have five trees.”

  And mom asked, “How did you do that Molly?”  Molly took her out to the yard and showed her how she had broken four branches from the tree and planted them in the ground.”

  Mom did not want to disappoint Molly, so she said, “You will have to remember to water your new trees.”  And so Molly watered her new trees every day, but they did not grow.  In fact, the leaves on the trees turned dark and they became brittle and soon the wind blew them away.

  Molly was disappointed that her trees would not grow.  She decided to pull one of them out of the ground and she saw that it was just a dead stick.

   Molly asked her Mom, “What happened?  Why didn’t my trees grow?”

   Her mom told her, “The branches can only grow if they stay attached to the trunk of the tree.  The roots of tree suck up water and plant food in the ground and makes a tree blood called sap.  And if you cut the branch off, the branch no longer gets the tree blood called sap and it dries up and dies.”

   Jesus told his friends, “I am the vine and you are the branches.”  The branches can live because they stay attached and connected to the vine.  They get the plant blood called sap.

  Jesus used this riddle to teach a lesson.  He said that we needed to remain connected to him.

  How do we do that?  We pray.  We learn.  And we find within ourselves the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is like the sap that flows through a plant.  It keeps branches alive, connected and attached to the vine.

  So too, the Holy Spirit deep inside of us keeps us connected to Christ.  And if we remain connected to Christ, we have the ability to have the fruits of the Spirit.  What are they?  Love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, self-control and humility.

  The lesson for us today to remain connected to Christ so that we can grow the fruits of the Spirit.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Billy Said, "I'm Not a Good Shepherd."

4 Easter B  April 22, 2018
Acts 4:5-12  Psalm 23
1 John 3:1-8     John 10:11-16
Lectionary Link

A boy named Billy went with his family to a petting zoo at a farm in the country and this petting zoo was very special place because on this day they had a sign up at the sheep pen.  Billy and his sister went into the sheep pen and were petting and playing with the little lambs.  They were so cute and nice.   Billy's sister Suzy could read and she saw a sign in the sheep pen.  It read, "Lambs for sale; please ask the owner."  Suzy said to her brother Billy, "Billy, the sign says the lambs are for sale."   And Suzy missed the gestures of mom and dad with their finger on their lips....meaning shush, "Don't tell Billy that the lambs are for sale."  But it was too late.  Once Billy found out that the lambs were for sale, he had to have one.  He bugged mom and dad and begged them.  "Please can we get a lamb.   Can I choose this cute little one?  Look, he likes me, he needs me and I think he wants to go home with me."

Mom and Dad said, "No, Billy, the lamb will be lots of work.  You have to take care of them and especially when it is so young. "   Billy insisted, "I can do it, I will do and we have a very big fenced back yard and we have shed in the back where the lamb can stay.  I want this lamb.  You don't have to get me a Christmas present or a birthday present.   This will be my next Christmas present and birthday present.  Please..please...please...and then pretty please and then pretty please with lots of sugar on it."

Mom and Dad rolled their eyes and finally they gave in.  So the farmer put the lamb in a box with some hay and some feed and a bottle and the lamb went home with Billy riding in the back seat.   Billy said, "I'm going to call him Fuzzy, because his wool is so fuzzy."  Billy was the happiest boy alive.  But did he stay that way?

For two days, Billy had fun feeding the Fuzzy with a bottle.  And he kept him in a big dog carrier with hay.

But after two days, the lamb would wake up bleating in morning.  Mom shouted, "Billy, have you fed Fuzzy this morning?"  Billy said, "I forgot."  "Billy, did you take Fuzzy outside to let him run in the yard."  Billy said, "No, because when I did that he got into your flowers and he made a mess and he chewed a hole in my basketball and popped it."

Mom said, "Billy I asked you to keep him in the fenced off area away from my flowers.  And you need to keep all of your toys away from Fuzzy or he will chew them."

Billy took Fuzzy outside to play with him.  But after about 10 minutes he came running into the house, shouting, "Fuzzy is gone; I can't find him."  Mom said, "Were you watching him?"  Billy said, "Not all of the time."  They went to look for Fuzzy.  The gate had been left open and he had gotten out of the yard.  Fortunately, Fuzzy was just in the neighbor's yard trying to knock over their garbage can.  Billy, corralled Fuzzy and put him back in the carrier.  And Billy was sad.

Billy remained sad and quiet and so his Dad asked him at dinner why he wasn't eating and why was he sad.  With tears in his eyes, Billy blurted out, "I'm not a good shepherd.  Fuzzy needs to be taken care of and watched all of the time and I don't have anytime to do anything else.  Fuzzy needs a good shepherd and I don't think that I am a good shepherd."

Mom and Dad said, "Billy, that's okay.  Little lambs are hard to take care of.  Do you want to take him back to the farm?"  Billy said, "Well no, but I think it would be better for Fuzzy.  Will the farmer take him back?"  Dad said, "Yes, he told us if it didn't work out that Fuzzy could come back."

What did Billy find out about taking care of a lamb?  It is very hard work to be a good shepherd.

Today we've read about Jesus being a good shepherd.  This world needs good shepherds.  It needs people who are strong, smart and generous to take care of the young, the poor, the sick, and those who are not smart enough or strong enough to take care of themselves.  Sometimes we are in need and we need good shepherds to help us.  And sometimes we are a strong and able to help people in need.

Our world needs a balance of having enough good shepherds to take care of all of the people in need.  And good news of Jesus as the good shepherd is a lesson for us to learn how to be good shepherd as we learn how to help people in need.  And like Billy, we will sometimes find out that we are not good shepherds, but we can never give up trying to be good shepherds.  Amen.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Jesus Meal and the Resurrection

3 Easter Sunday  b      April 1,  2018   

Acts 3:12-19  Psalm 4
1 John 3:1-7  Luke 24:36b-48

I would like to tell you a story about a little girl named Sally.  It may seem like a sad story, because Sally was a young girl who got sick as a baby and she lost her eyesight.  Sally was blind.  But Sally had good parents, grandparents and friends and she had a brother and a sister. 

And the family had a special name for Sally; they called her Super Sally.  Why?  Because even though she could not see, she had a super sense of touch, she had super hearing and she had super smelling ability.  Her brother and sister would sneak into the room and Sally would say, ”You guys are so loud, I know you are here.  I can smell you Jim in the corner and Sarah, I can smell you on the other side of the room.  You can’t trick me.” 

Sally had a special grandma and she really loved her Nana’s cooking, especially her chocolate chip cookies.  Nana had a secret recipe and Sally could recognize Nana special cookies, while her brother and sister could not recognize the difference between Nana’s cookies or store-bought cookies. 

   Sally and her Nana always had a special time together, but Nanas take vacations too.   And Nana and Papa went away for a long vacation for an entire month.  And Sally really missed her Nana.  Every day she would wake up and ask her mom, “Is Nana home yet?”  And mom would say, “Not yet.”  And every day Sally would wake up and ask the same question, “Is Nana home yet?”  And mom would say again, “Not yet.”

Well one morning Sally was awakened by her nose; she could smell something very familiar.  She ran into her mom’s bedroom and said, “Mom, Nana’s home, Nana’s home, get up!”  And Mom said, “how do you know?”  And Sally said, “I can smell her cookies.”

So they went down stairs to the kitchen and there was Nana and she had a plate of her special chocolate chip cookies.  Sally said, “I just knew you were home because I could smell your cookies.”  After they hugged and kissed they sat down and they broke the rules of breakfast.  They had milk and cookies for breakfast.

   Today we read a story about the disciples who were friends with Jesus.  Jesus left and went away.  They were very sad that they lost him.  Jesus died.  And yet some of them suddenly had the ability to see Jesus alive again.  And many of them did not believe this.  So, Jesus proved that he was alive.  He ate some fish with them.

  Before Jesus left this world, he asks his friends to gather and to have a special Jesus meal in his honor.  And this is what we do every week; we have a Jesus meal.  We remember Jesus and when we remember Jesus in the Jesus Meal, we know that he still lives close to us inside us because like Sally,we have something Super;  we have the Super Spirit of God to know that God is inside of us to help us know that Jesus is close to us.  Isn’t that wonderful?

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Jesus Returned to Share Eternal Life

Easter Sunday        April 1, 2018     
Acts 10:34-43  Psalm118:1-2,14-24
Colossians 3:1-4 Matthew 28:1-10

Once upon in the town of Hope, located near the desert and the mountains,  a very wealthy person John Divine,  decided that he wanted to attract people to come to the town, so he announced that he was going to host a major obstacle race.  He said, "Anyone can come and enter the race at any time.  And if you complete the race you will receive a wonderful and great surprise."   John Divine began to advertise this obstacle race on television and on the internet.  And many, many people began to come to the town of Hope to find out about the obstacle race.

And many decided to try to complete the obstacle course race.  But was not really a race because you were not competing with anyone and how long it took you to complete was not important.  The only important thing was that you finish the race.

So the young and the old began the race.  And the race seemed long and difficult.  And it seemed to be so difficult that all of the participants would quit and turn back.  They complained to John Divine that the race was too hard.  They said that he was tricking them.  They said that he just wanted them to come to the town of Hope as tourists and spend their money.  But John Divine kept advertising the great obstacle Race of the town of Hope.  And people kept coming and they kept failing and they kept complaining about the Race.

But one day, something happened, a man came back from the Race.  His name was Joshua Life.  He announced that he had made it to the end and he had won the prize.

The people did not believe him.  They said that John Divine wouldn't believe him either.  All of the people in the town of Hope followed Joshua Life to the big office of John Divine.  They wanted to know if John Divine would disqualify Joshua Life.

But when Joshua Life came to see John Divine, John Divine shook his hand and said, "Joshua Life, you are the winner.  You completed the race and you have returned to Hope."

All of the people said to John Divine, "How do you know that Joshua finished the Race; he may be lying to you."  But John Divine said, "I know because my helicopter and my drones followed Joshua on his journey.  And they took pictures and they proved to me that Joshua completed the trip."

But then the people shouted to Joshua, "Why did you come back?  If you won the prize why didn't you stay there?"

Joshua said to them, "Well I had a choice to stay there.  I won a beautiful new big house to live it.  It was a perfect place to live."  The people said to him, "Then why did you come back?"

Joshua said, "When I arrived at the end of the race, a nice person showed me the wonderful new home that I had won.  He said to me, "You can stay here forever, but if you want, you can go back to the town of Hope and show others how to get here too.  Just look up the mountains; there are many more homes that need people like you to live in."

Joshua Life said, "I did not want to live alone in that perfect place in the mountains, and I know how to get there; I know the short cuts and I know the best ways to go.  So I decided to come back and lead others on the best way to get there."

The people said, "You should not say that so loudly.  John Divine might hear you and try to keep you silent."

But John Divine said, "No, I am glad that Joshua came back; that is what I really wanted him to do.  And now he can lead many more people to go on the obstacle course and find the way to their new perfect homes.  Everyone give Joshua Life a big hand and thanked him for coming back to show us what the prize is and to show everyone how to get there."

This story can help us understand Jesus and the Resurrection.  Jesus went on a very difficult journey, the same journey that all of us are on.  Jesus arrived at his death on the cross.  But he came back to life.  He journey from death back to life, to show us that we can make the journey of life as we walk in the love and kindness of Jesus and when we die, we can arrive at the perfect place of eternal life."

This is why we say "Yeah God" on Easter Sunday with the special word, "Alleluia."

Alleluia.  Christ is Risen.  The Lord is Risen, Indeed.  Alleluia.  Jesus came back to get all of us and show us the way to everlasting life.  Amen.

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