Category Archives: Year B

Advent is Coming!

IMG_0388Year B
November 30-December 24, 2014

Three weeks until Advent!
I am working on an Advent Series and will post it shortly (possibly in bits and pieces).

Here is where we are headed: this year during our children’s sermon time, we will focus on the Chrismon Tree! Right, I said Chrismon Tree, not Christmas Tree. See here for an explanation of this relatively new church tradition. Last year, we had such fun building the creche with the Year A lectionary, and lighting the Advent candles goes best with the Year C lectionary; we are excited to see that the Year B lectionary fits nicely with the Chrismon Tree. Not every church uses a Chrismon Tree, so you can refer to my previous series for Advent Year B. But if you have a Chrismon Tree, think of how your church might highlight it to share God’s story. Below is a draft outline. We are also working on crafting O Chrismon Tree from the traditional song O Christmas Tree. (More later as rhyme and meter are settled!)

We are stressing SLOW. Our choir will do the anthem (one of my all time favorites: Lord, Before This Fleeting Season by Jindra/Larson… “let me remember to walk slowly…go less, stay closer to home, kneel more”), and so we will slowly decorate the Chrismon Tree over the 4 weeks of Advent.

To keep from being too complex during the children’s sermon, we will light the candles of the Advent Wreath during another portion of the service so we don’t need to refer to the wreath during the children’s sermon.

November 30
Advent 1
scripture– Mark 13:24-37 (Keep awake!)
focus: We open Advent by explaining that this is a season to move slowly and prepare for Christmas. Not slow in sitting around doing nothing, but we take time to be intentional.
prop: While the sanctuary will be decorated, the Chrismon Tree will be bare. Children will gather around the tree…which will have NO ornaments or lights. Discussion will focus that we are moving slowly this Advent. We bring in the tree and wrap its base with a tree skirt (yes, a la Linus and Peanuts), setting the foundation for our Advent Season. Yes, we want to get everything decorated and finished…but this year, we are moving slowly.
Echo Prayer
Song O Chrismon Tree

December 7
Advent 2
scripture– Mark 1:1-8 (Good News!)
focus: To go with the scripture, this Sunday we will highlight the ornaments of the tree. The top ¾ of the tree will have ornaments (lights will be strung, but not lit until the 3rd Sunday). Children will have the opportunity to place child-friendly ornaments on the lower branches during this sermon. The ornaments tell the story of the Church throughout time using various symbols.
Echo Prayer
Song O Chrismon Tree

December 14
Advent 3
scripture– John 1:6-8, 19-28 (Bear witness to the Light!)
focus: The Lights! Today we light the lights! These lights remind us that Jesus is the Light of the World!
Echo Prayer
Song O Chrismon Tree

December 21
Advent 4
scripture– Luke 1:26-38 (Fear Not!)
focus: The Angel appears to Mary saying, Fear Not! Did you know that every time an angel appears in the Bible, they say Fear Not!? God is with us always. The angel tree topper will be at the top now.
Echo Prayer
Song O Chrismon Tree

December 24
Christmas Eve
scripture– Luke 2:1-14 (15-20); 1 John 4:7-9, 16b; John 1:1-5
focus: We have been moving slowly during the Advent Season, but now Christmas is here. We will be like the shepherds and make haste to see the Baby Jesus!
Echo Prayer
Song O Chrismon Tree

and Bonus! Epiphany (Jan 4 or 11?)
We will still have the Chrismon Tree, and I hope to get the youth to participate in that children’s sermon, leading the kids in singing The Trees of the Field song…as we go out with JOY from the children’s sermon!

Crayons Over Crowns

crayonsotcs1for Sunday, November 25, 2012
Christ the King Sunday
Proper 29
Year B
lectionary focus: Revelation 1:4B-8
props: a hidden crayon to be revealed during your story; gift boxes of crayons for the children (optional)

Good morning!

The other day, I was telling my friend Zachary a fairy tale. I told Zach how the King wore a fancy outfit and on top of his head was a big crown. (put hands on top of head like a crown) But Zach didn’t hear the word “crown;” Zach heard the word “crayon.” (pull a crayon out of hidden place) When you listen to those words: “crown,” “crayon,” they do sound a lot alike. Zach and I had a fun time laughing about the King with a crayon on his head.

On the church calendar, today is the Celebration of Christ the King Sunday. And yes, as I say those words, I am now picturing Jesus with a big, ole crayon on His head. But you know, I think Jesus prefers crayons over crowns.

Throughout time, kings have been seen as bossy, sitting around telling their people what they can and cannot do, wanting to have all the power to themselves.

In our Bible story today, we are reminded that Jesus is not bossy. Jesus is not interested in sitting around. Jesus is more interested in going around. Jesus came to empower each of us to be preachers–to empower us to share God’s love, to help each other. Jesus does NOT wear a crown. No, Jesus works with us; Jesus works through us; Jesus puts the crayons in our hands and frees us to create with Him, frees us to make the world a more beautiful place.

(This would be a good time to pass out gift boxes of crayons to the kids.)

And so as we end this church year and next Sunday begin the new church year with the preparations for Christmas, remember you are a creative, important part of God’s Kingdom.

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 our King.
Thank You
for liking crayons
over crowns.
Help me
to help You
to share Your love.
Amen

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

We Gather Together

for Sunday, November 18, 2012
Sunday before Thanksgiving
33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
25th Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 28
lectionary focus: Hebrews 10:11-14 (15-18); Mark 13:1-8
resources: Here are two good children’s books to extend this lesson:

**Thank You, Sarah! The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving by Laurie Halse Anderson
**Thanksgiving in the White House by Gary Hines

Good Morning!

This week we celebrate Thanksgiving. On Thursday, everyone in our country will stop and give thanks for all their blessings. In the early days of our country, families picked their own day of thanksgiving. People celebrated on different days whenever it fit their schedule. Then 150 years ago, President Abraham Lincoln received a letter from Sarah Hale. Mrs. Hale suggested that there be a National holiday of Thanksgiving–that everyone in the country stop on the same day and give thanks. But at that time, our country was at war. The fighting made times sad, food scarce, and money tight. It was hard for people to feel thankful. People thought, We can’t have a holiday now! We don’t have time for a party! There are too many problems to be solved! But President Lincoln and the people soon realized that gathering together was just what they needed to do, especially in those tough times.

Our times are tough now. You may have heard in the news about wars and storms and sickness. But Jesus tells us not to be alarmed by sadness. Instead our Bible story today tells us to be confident and to gather together. We are called to come together, to encourage each other, to inspire each other to do love. Because no matter tough times or good times, love is the response. It’s always better when we’re together.

So this Thursday, as you celebrate Thanksgiving and count your blessings big and small, be confident and share God’s hope and love. Encourage each other. And let us all gather together and continue to make the world a more beautiful place.

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 a day of Thanksgiving.
Help us
to gather together
and encourage each other
to share Your love.
Amen

We are not Christians alone.
My mission is to share, inspire, and encourage.
Happy Thanksgiving! I am thankful for you!

Holding Hands

for Sunday, November 11, 2012
32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
24th Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 27
lectionary focus: Ruth 3:1-5; 4:13-17

When my friend Zachary was younger, he got kind of nervous when he went to bed. He was not comfortable being alone in the dark. Zach knew that his parents were right there in the house so his heart knew that he was wrapped in a coat of love, love, love–but his hands felt empty. Zach wanted some thing to hold with his hands. And so Zach’s parents gave him a soft, fuzzy blanket. Now Zach’s hands were not empty. Holding on to that blanket with his hands made Zach feel secure. It was his security blanket. And Zach was not so nervous in the dark.

In our Bible story today, Ruth and Naomi feel nervous in a new land. These two women have moved far from home and are now alone. They know in their hearts that the Lord loves them and will take care of them–but their hands feel empty. And so the Lord sends them a family. Ruth and Naomi can hold on to the hands of their growing family. Their hands are no longer empty and they feel comfortable and secure.

We know that wherever we are, whatever we are doing, God is with us and He fills our hearts with love, love, love. But God knows that some times our hands feel empty. So God gives us family–our family at home, at church, in our neighborhoods, at school–so that we can hold on to each other.

And by holding each other’s hands, we feel comfortable; we feel secure; we feel the love of God.

Will you pray with me? And today, while we pray, let us hold hands with those sitting next to us. (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it.)

Dear Lord,
Thank You
for all our families
and our hands to hold
that we may feel secure
that we may feel Your love.
Amen

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

On and On and On and On

for Sunday, November 4, 2012
All Saints Sunday
lectionary focus: Revelation 21:1-6a
props: a narrow strip of paper with a fat line drawn on it; tape
note: I thought of making a Mobius strip and then decided it was too complicated for Children’s Time…but it would make a great extension lesson during Sunday School with children and youth!

Good Morning!

I have a piece of paper and I have drawn a line on it. This is the start of the line, and this is the end of the line. If I trace along the line, I go from the beginning to the end and that is all there is. Start to end. And it is done.

But if I take this line and bring the beginning and the end to the same spot and tape them together, we now have a circle. And if we trace along this round shape, we pass the beginning and the end, but we keep going around and around. We keep going on and on.

We are now in the month of November, and we are nearing the end of the year. In 2 months, we will go from December 31, 2012, to January 1, 2013. One year to the next year. And in a few weeks, we will come to the end of the church year. We will celebrate Christ the King Sunday and then the next week we will start the new church year with the First Sunday in Advent. We go from the end of one year to the start of the next year. And the years go on and on.

But today we celebrate All Saints Day. Today we remember those in our church family who died in the past year. While we are sad that their life on earth has ended, we rejoice that their lives in heaven have now started. Their eternal lives go on and on.

In our Bible story today we hear that the Lord is the Alpha and the Omega. These are Greek words that mean the Lord is the Beginning and the End. But He is not like the line that goes from here to there and that is all. God is the Beginning and the End at the same. So like the circle, God goes on and on.

And as His children, we go with Him. We pass many beginnings and many endings–celebrating the end of various events and years and celebrating the start of various years and adventures. But we, too, go on and on.

God continues to call us to be His Saints, to share His love over and over, on and on, through this life and into our eternal life in Heaven.

Today we celebrate God’s Saints before us and we continue the work. We are God’s Saints on and on.

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

Dear Lord,
You are the Beginning and the End.
And You go on and on.
Help us
to be Your Saints
to share Your love
on and on
on and on.
Amen

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

The Outfit of Love

for Sunday, October 28, 2012
30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
22nd Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 25
(Halloween!)
lectionary focus: Mark 10:46-52

Good morning!

I’m excited about Halloween on Wednesday! I enjoy looking at all the kids coming to my door dressed up for Trick or Treat. Sometimes the kids are so well covered up that I can’t see who they are! I like trying to recognize you kids in the costumes you are wearing. It is fun pretending to be these fancy characters.

Our Bible story today get me thinking about looking and seeing and recognizing. And I wonder…if I look like a Christian, if I look like someone who follows Jesus? Do Christians wear a certain costume? Do I have an outfit or a mask that makes me a Christian? Is there some special look for my hair or my face that I can wear so everyone will know that I am a Christian?

No.

Being a Christian is not about what I wear or how I look; being a Christian is about what I do.
There is a song:

They will know we are Christians by our love…

and love is what we do. Love is how we treat each other. Love is how to be a Christian.

Today’s Bible story tells about a blind man who calls out to Jesus, who recognizes Jesus as Lord even though he cannot see Him. The blind man knows Jesus because he knows what Jesus does. We, too, know what Jesus does. And when we do what we are called to do: love God and our neighbors, everyone will recognize us as Christians no matter what we are wearing. And that is a treat that is no trick!

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 seeing me as Your child.
Help me
to do what Christians do.
Help me
to share Your love.
Amen

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

Spectacular Building

for Sunday, October 21, 2012
Children’s Sabbath
29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
21st Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 24
lectionary focus: Job 38: 1-7, (34-41); Psalm 104: 1-9, 24, 35c; Hebrews 5:1-10; Mark 10:35-45

Good morning!

Today I brought my blocks because I like to build things. I have this idea to make a spectacular building with a fancy top using these cool, curved and pointy blocks to make turrets and high rooftops. But when we are building, we don’t start at the top. We start with the foundation. These first blocks that we place not only determine how and where we can place the other blocks, these first blocks give strength and stability to our building. When we start with an even and firm foundation, we can construct our walls straight and strong; we can set our roof to cover and protect. Without a good foundation, it does not matter how we do the walls or roof, our building will not stand.

Our Bible story today also talks about building things. But the Bible is not talking about building with toy blocks or real bricks. The Bible tells us that to build our lives well, we need a firm foundation in Jesus Christ. When the foundation of our life is a solid relationship with Jesus, then we can develop and grow and advance. When we build our life on Jesus, it doesn’t matter what happens to us, we will stand strong.

But just standing strong is not our goal. Jesus tells us that we are to be strong so we can help other people. Having our strength in Jesus does not make us higher and better than other people. Our foundation in Jesus encourages us to serve God and God’s children. And then we are all spectacular.

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 supporting me.
Help me
to share Your strength
with all of Your children.
Amen

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

Flying Upside Down

for Sunday, October 14, 2012
28th Sunday in Ordinary Time
20th Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 23
lectionary focus: Job 23:1-9, 16-17 (specifically 23:8-9)

When I was a kid, my preacher, Scott McClure, preached a sermon about his time as a pilot in the service. When he learned to fly, he was sent out with these instructions: When you fly at night and all is dark, trust the gauges on your plane.
Well, sure enough, Scott found himself flying one night and it was very dark. No moonlight, no starlight, no lights from the cities below. In all of that dark, not being able to see anything, all alone, Scott said that he felt like his right wing was just a little low, so he pulled it up. But still he felt like it was a little low, so he pulled it up some more. And it still wasn’t right, so he pulled it up some more. Then he felt like his seat belts were really tight. So he finally looked at the gauges on his plane…and you guessed it, he had pulled up his right wing so much, he had flipped the plane over and he was flying upside down!

In our Bible story today, we hear from the man Job. Job is covered up in problems. He has so many problems that all he sees is darkness. And in this darkness, Job feels alone…like the darkness is hiding God. But Job has faith that God is with him. Job trusts God. Job is going through a dark, difficult time, but he is going THROUGH it WITH God. Job knows that God is in control and we will not get stuck upside down in the dark.

Some times, we have problems. But do not be tricked by the darkness. Trust in the Lord. God is in front of you; God is behind you; God is beside you; God is with you. Always. Even in the darkness and in the dark.

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 with me
in the light of good times
and in the dark of bad times.
Help me
to have faith in You
and trust Your way.
Amen

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

Generous With God’s Love

for Sunday, October 7, 2012
World Communion Sunday
27th Sunday in Ordinary Time
19th Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 22
lectionary focus: Mark 10:2-16

Hello!

When I was a kid, my parents were always inviting people over to eat dinner with us. Sometimes they had planned for people to join us, so we had lots of food. And sometimes, they made the invitation so quickly, there was just enough food. To make sure our guests had enough to eat, my mom had two code phrases that she used at the table for us kids. If there wasn’t a lot of extra food, my mom would say early in the meal, “F.H.B.” Those letters stood for Family Hold Back. Momma wanted us to hold back from taking a big serving until our company had had enough to eat. But if there was a good amount of food, she’d say, “P.O.T.T.” Those letters stood for Plenty on the Table. Then my family knew we could have as much as we wanted because there was enough food for our company and for us. Momma used these codes because she never wanted to hold back from hospitality or sharing with others. She never wanted to be stingy with our company.

In our Bible story today, Jesus’s friends, the disciples, get a little stingy with their hospitality. A crowd of people, including children, want to visit with Jesus, but the disciples speak harshly and turn them away: Jesus is too busy for you…Go away. But Jesus stops the disciples. Jesus reminds them that is there is plenty of Jesus to share. Jesus doesn’t use a secret code; He tells the disciples straight up, “Let them come unto me.” When people want to come to Him, the disciples’ mission is to welcome them.

Today we celebrate World Communion Sunday. Churches all around the world share in the bread and wine of the Lord’s Table. And this is the Lord’s Table–it does not belong to us or to the church–it belongs to God. And God is calling out that there is POTT: Plenty on the Table.

Our mission is to live God’s openness–and wherever we are–we are to welcome others and be generous with God’s love.

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

Dear Lord,
Thank You for having
plenty on the table.
Help me
to be generous
with Your love.
Amen

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

Prayer Is Not Boring

for Sunday, September 30, 2012
26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
18th Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 21
lectionary focus: James 5:13-20

Good morning.

At different times in our church service, we say different kinds of prayers. At the start of church, we pray to say hello to God. Then we pray to ask forgiveness for the mistakes we have made. When we listen to God’s Word read and proclaimed, we pray for understanding. We pray for our friends and neighbors. We say prayers of thanksgiving for all of our blessings. And when we leave each Sunday, we pray for God to go with us. We also pray at home and school and throughout the week. We say prayers before we eat and before we go to bed. We pray when we feel bad and when we feel Yeehaw good. (You can substitute any colloquial term of joy.) We pray when we are scared and when we need help. In some of our prayers, we ask for things. In some of our prayers, we share things.

There are many different times to pray and many different kinds of prayers. But there is just one reason that we pray. We pray to be close to God. Prayer is how we talk with God. And God wants you to talk to Him. God wants to know how you feel and what you think. God wants you to tell Him what you like and what you don’t like. God wants to hear you tell Him your story.

In our Bible story today, we hear about the power of prayer. But prayer is not a wish list of things you want God to give you. Prayer is not a race. Prayer is not a guarantee. And certainly prayer is not boring. Prayer is boldly sharing your heart and mind with God. Prayer is an action for building your relationship with God. So wherever and whenever you pray, talk to God with all of your heart and mind; honestly share who you are; and enjoy growing closer to God.

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

Dear Lord,
Thank You
for prayer.
Help me
to share with You
my heart and mind
so I can be close to You.
Yeehaw.
Amen

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