Making Connections

for Sunday, August 26, 2012
21st Sunday in Ordinary Time
13th Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 16
lectionary focus: Psalm 84:1-12
props: two cards–one with an 8 and one with a 4.
note: Ideally we will do this sermon with the youth group joining us on the steps and then all of us singing the anthem together–hand motions and all–afterwards! If you need help with the song, search Matt Redman or click here.

Good Morning!

Hey, I notice that you and I have on the same color shirt today! That makes us like twins! Cool. And I see that you two have on the same…(point out similarities among the children). When we look for things that are the same or that match or that go together, we are making connections. And when we make connections with each other or with the world around us, we are making our connection with God stronger.

I noticed some neat connections in our Bible story today. Today we hear the words from Psalm 84;the number 84 looks like this. Last year, my father celebrated his  birthday number 84. And also last year, I celebrated my birthday number 48; the number 48 looks like this. Wow! My dad was 84 and I was 48. What a neat connection in our ages and this beautiful psalm!

One of the verses in this psalm says, “Better is one day in Your courts than a thousand elsewhere.” Now since the word courts means the royal place where a king lives and since we are talking about God, we mean: that to be in God’s Holy kingdom, even for just one day, is better than being anywhere else. And this is true!

This psalm has been put to music by a great songsman named Matt Redman. I had heard it sung many times, but the amazing connection between me and this song came the first time I heard it sung at a Youth Conference. I was with about 1000 young people, just a little older than you guys, and when they sang the chorus this is how they did their hands:

Better is one day in Your courts,
(swish hands like doing a free-throw in basketball)

Better is one day in Your house,
(tent hands over head like the roof of a house)
Better is one day in Your courts (swish hands again)
than thousands elsewhere.
(pull hands down with palms up in praise)

Wait? What’s with the hands doing this? Can you make a connection to something that you do with your hands moving like this? Yes! Basketball! And where do you play basketball? On a basketball court! Do you hear the connection? Better is one day in Your courts…

These kids showed me the connection: God is not just in His Heavenly court. God is here with us…even on the basketball court. God is with us. His Holy court, our playground court. Everywhere.

I wonder what connections you make? Where do you see God in your daily life? Which Bible stories match your life? How are you joined with your friends, your family, our God? By looking for connections with others and with God, we make our connection with each other and with God stronger.

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 being connected to me.
Help me
to find connections with others.
Better is one day
in Your courts,
Better is one day
in Your house!
Amen

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

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