I Wonder Where You Are In This Story

13th Sunday after Pentecost
24th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Proper 19
for Sunday, September 11, 2011
lectionary focus: Romans 14:1-12; Matthew 18:21-35

Note: The Presbyterian Church USA offers an entire resource packet (linked here) to create a Service of Remembrance for the Tenth Anniversary of September 11. Their material includes a children’s sermon that I think is too frank. Here is mine. If you wish to avoid any reference to 9/11, you can omit paragraph 2 and the sermon still flows.

I love stories! I love to read myself into the world of Winnie-the-Pooh, or mysteries, or kings and queens, or the Bible. But not all stories are in books. Each of us has a story. When we tell about the things that we have experienced, we are telling the story of our life. And when groups of people come together, they have a story, too. You and the people here today are continuing the story of our church started by a group of people almost 100 years ago. And we and our neighbors around us are part of the story of our country started 236 years ago. Our lives are one story after another–some happy, some sad. When we tell of these events, others become part of our story with us. When we hear what happens to other people, we become part of their story with them.

Today is September 11, and in the story of our country, this is the day something sad happened and our country went to war. You might notice people remembering this day as they fly the American flag or they talk quietly, telling their memories of that day. It is hard, but good, to remember all the parts of our story.

We share Bible stories even though they happened a long time ago and none of us were there, so that those stories become part of our story now. In the book of Romans today, we are reminded that there are many different kinds of people in the world–it takes all kinds of characters to make stories–and each character is important. Some people bring happiness to our story; they are easy to like. But some people bring sadness. Jesus tells us that we must forgive them when they hurt us. We are not limited to forgiving them just once; Jesus says to forgive them again and again and again and again…just as many times as God forgives us for the mistakes we make. Forgiveness is how we move from a sad part of the story to next adventure in our lives.

I love stories. Mine and yours, the story of our church and of our country–by sharing all of these–the happy and the sad–and telling them again and again, we bring others into our story, and we join them in their story, and as a people, we weave them all together to be the one story of God’s beautiful world.

Will you pray with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it.)

Dear Lord,

Thank You for stories.

Help me to share my stories.

Help me to listen to other’s stories.

Help us all

share Your story

with the whole world.

Amen

We are not Christians alone. My mission is to share, inspire, and encourage.

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4 responses to “I Wonder Where You Are In This Story

  1. This is lovely. I’m so glad that our mutual internet friend Jill pointed me here. In fact, I’d like to link to this post from my own blog. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. Thank you so much for giving me an accessible way to talk about these challenging times with our congregation’s children. God Bless You

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