Category Archives: Year C

Advent and Christmas 2015: Highlighting the Advent Wreath

IMG_1661This post contains 5 sermons: 4 for Advent and 1 for Christmas Eve. (For our other Advent series, check 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014.) This year during the children’s sermon, my church Edgewood Presbyterian Church is highlighting the Advent Wreath. Each week a Youth (who are also our lay readers during December) will light the Advent candles at the appropriate time. We are using the traditional words: Hope, Peace, Joy, Love in the traditional order—but on Christmas Eve we will rearrange our traditional Order of Worship in a meaningful way!

We are also excited to use a hymn written especially for the Advent Wreath. Light a Candle Bright and Tall by David Wood (2012) can be found here. I have left a message on his post; I encourage you to do the same if you use his song.

The First Sunday of Advent: November 29: The Candle of Hope
lectionary focus: Luke 21:25-36
The Second Sunday of Advent: December 6: The Candle of Peace
lectionary focus: Luke 1:68-79
The Third Sunday of Advent (Gaudet Sunday): December 13: The Candle of Joy
lectionary focus: Philippians 4:4-7
The Fourth Sunday of Advent: December 20: The Candle of Love
lectionary focus: Luke 1:35-45 (46-55)
Christmas Eve: December 24, 2015: The Christ Candle
lectionary focus: 1 John 4:7-9, 16b

*****

Let us begin…(and please let me know of any typos, errors, or broken links!) 

*****

candle1For Sunday, November 29, 2015
First Sunday of Advent
Year C
lectionary focus: Luke 21:25-36
references:
hope not as wish-so, but as know-so from an article by Jack Wellman, Patheos, 5/26/2014
Desmond Tutu quote from The New York Times, 3/7/2010.

Hello!

We are now in the Season of Advent. Advent is the time we get ready for the mystery of Christmas. Christmas is the celebration that Jesus becomes the light of the world, that we live in His light, and that no darkness can cover up the light of Jesus. While the stores and shops are trying to get us to rush up to Christmas, we here at Church settle into the time of getting ready. We sing slowly, we pray slowly, and we listen slowly.

To help us mark these four slow weeks until Christmas, we light the candles of the Advent Wreath. Notice there are four blue candles for the four weeks. We light one candle each week, slowly making the wreath brighter and brighter and brighter. And when we have lit all of the blue candles, then it will be time to light the white candle; then it will be Christmas.

But Christmas is still a long time from now. And so today, the First Sunday of Advent, Finn will light one candle. We start with the Candle of Hope.

I always thought that hope meant a wish…I hope that it snows this year. But our Advent hope is not a wish-so, this hope is a know-soby our hope in Jesus, we know that the world is surrounded by His light.

This one candle by itself does not seem like very much. But there is a wise man named Desmond Tutu who said, “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” Let me say that again, “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” And so the Candle of Hope is the perfect place to start our Advent.

After our prayer, we have a special song to sing.
Will you pray with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it.)

Dear Lord,
We light the Candle of Hope
that everyone may see
Jesus is the Light of the World.
Help us
to live in Your Light,
to live in Your Hope.
Shine within our hearts today.
Amen

And now we will sing the first verse of Light a Candle Bright and Tall.

*****

candle2For Sunday, December 6, 2015
Second Sunday of Advent
Year C
lectionary focus: Luke 1:68-79

Hello!

We are now in the Season of Advent. Advent is the time we get ready for the mystery of Christmas. Christmas is the celebration that Jesus becomes the light of the world, that we live in His light, and that no darkness can cover up the light of Jesus. The world is trying to get us to rush up to Christmas, but we here at Church are settling into this time of getting ready. We are singing slowly, we are praying slowly, and we are listening slowly.

To help us mark these slow weeks until Christmas, we light the candles of the Advent Wreath. As we light one more blue candle each Sunday, the wreath will get brighter and brighter and brighter. And when we have lit all of the blue candles, then it will be time to light the white candle; then it will be Christmas.

But it is not Christmas yet. Last Sunday, we lit the first candle, the Candle of Hope. We heard that by our hope in Jesus we are able to see the light despite all of the darkness.

Today is the Second Sunday of Advent, and that means Adrian will now light the second candle, the Candle of Peace.

I always thought peace meant completely silent and still. Listen to the candles. We can’t really hear them. Yet, notice how they flicker and move. The flames are so quiet, but they are not still.

In our Bible story today from the book of Luke, we hear that peace is an action. Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, proclaims God’s faithfulness, God’s salvation, and God’s peace. We are reminded that God calls us to move forward into the action of peace.

Our Advent Wreath is now a little bit brighter. We continue our slow journey to the celebration of the light of Jesus. With Hope and Peace, let us move forward into the action of sharing the light of Jesus.

After our prayer, we have another verse of our special song.
Will you pray with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it.)

Dear Lord,
We light the Candle of Peace
that everyone may see
Jesus is the Light of the World.
Help us
to live in Your Light,
to live in Your Hope,
to live in Your Peace.
Shine within our hearts today.
Amen

And now we will sing the second verse of Light a Candle Bright and Tall.

*****

1advent8260aFor Sunday, December 13, 2015
Third Sunday of Advent
Year C
lectionary focus: Philippians 4:4-7

Hello!

We are well into the Season of Advent. Advent is the time we get ready for the mystery of Christmas. Christmas is the celebration that Jesus becomes the light of the world, that we live in His light, and that no darkness can cover up the light of Jesus. It certainly seems we are rushing up to Christmas, but here at Church we are in this time of getting ready. We are trying to sing slowly, we are trying to pray slowly, and we are trying to listen slowly.

But you know, this Advent stuff has been going on a long time. And it’s still not Christmas. We’re trying to be all slow, trying not to rush getting ready for the celebration. But slow is hard.

And so today. We’re going to take a break from slow.

It’s still not Christmas yet, but today is the Third Sunday of Advent, today we light the Candle of Joy. And you know: joy just ain’t slow.

But, let me back up a bit.

On the First Sunday of Advent, we lit the first candle, the Candle of Hope. We heard that by our hope in Jesus we are able to see the light despite all of the darkness.

Last week on the Second Sunday of Advent, we moved forward with action and lit the Candle of Peace. We listened to the silent candles, but watched them flicker and move.

And like I said, today is the Third Sunday of Advent. Now Sarah will light the Candle of Joy.

Another name for the Third Sunday in Advent is Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete is an old Latin word that means Rejoice! And what do we hear in our Bible story today? From the book of Philippians, loud and clear, we hear “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.” Say after me, “Rejoice!” (Rejoice!) (Get them really going on this…lots of joy!)

Sigh. That felt good.

The Advent Wreath is a way for us to mark the long, slow weeks until Christmas. The three candles of our wreath are giving a good amount light. Makes us excited about how much more light is coming. With Hope, Peace, and Joy, the world is looking brighter and brighter.

After our prayer, we have a special song to sing.
Will you pray with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it.)

Dear Lord,
We light the Candle of Joy
that everyone may see
Jesus is the Light of the World.
Help us
to live in Your Light,
to live in Your Hope,
to live in Your Peace,
to live in Your Joy.
Shine within our hearts today.
Rejoice!!
Amen

And now we will sing the third verse of Light a Candle Bright and Tall.

*****

1xmas8289For Sunday, December 20, 2015
Fourth Sunday of Advent
Year C
lectionary focus: Luke 1:39-45 (46-55)

Hello!

We are still in the Season of Advent. Advent is the time we get ready for the mystery of Christmas. Christmas is the celebration that Jesus becomes the light of the world, that we live in His light, and that no darkness can cover up the light of Jesus. The world has been getting us to rush up to Christmas, but we here at Church have been slowly getting ready. We have been singing slowly, we have been praying slowly, and we have been listening slowly.

To help us mark these slow weeks until Christmas, we have lit the candles of the Advent Wreath. The wreath has gotten brighter and brighter and brighter.

But it is not Christmas yet. On the First Sunday of Advent, we lit the first candle, the Candle of Hope. We heard that by our hope in Jesus we are able to see the light despite all of the darkness.

On the Second Sunday of Advent, we moved forward with action and lit the Candle of Peace. We listened to the silent candles, but watched them flicker and move.

And last week on the Third Sunday of Advent, we took a break from slow and lit the Candle of Joy. Rejoice!!

And now look! There’s only one blue candle left! And we are going to light it today. Go ahead JD and light the Fourth Candle, the Candle of Love.

Our Bible stories during Advent have given us bits and pieces of the Christmas story. Today’s reading we hear of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and her visit with her cousin Elizabeth. Mary sings a beautiful song, a song of hope, peace, and joy, all wrapped up in a coat of love, love, love. Mary says, “My soul magnifies the Lord!” Love is about as big a light as we humans can make. And yet, God’s love for us is brighter. We call this the Candle of Love because no matter what, God’s love will always outshine the darkness.

All four blue candles are now lit. But we have a few more days left in Advent. We have a few days to carry slowly the brightly shining lights of hope, peace, joy, and love. And then we will celebrate Jesus becoming the light of the world, we will celebrate living in His light, we will celebrate a love and a light that knows no end.

After our prayer, we have another verse of our special song.
Will you pray with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it.)

Dear Lord,
We light the Candle of Love
that everyone may see
Jesus is the Light of the World.
Help us
to live in Your Light,
to live in Your Hope,
to live in Your Peace,
to live in Your Joy,
to live in Your Love.
Shine within our hearts today.
Amen

And now we will sing the fourth verse of Light a Candle Bright and Tall.

*****

IMG_1661For Thursday, December 24, 2015
Christmas Eve
Year C
lectionary focus: 1 John 4:7-9, 16b (This is flexible if you are not using this scripture.)

Technical notes:
On Christmas Eve, EPC does a candlelight service of 6 lessons and carols with the children’s sermon coming between the second and third lesson, the adult sermon between the fourth and fifth lesson, and following the sixth lesson the sharing of the light. We have decided this year to switch up the order.* The adult sermon will come between the third and fourth lesson. After the fourth carol is sung, those younger children who have opted to be in the nursery will brought in to the sanctuary and be invited with all the children down to the chancel steps. We will ‘review’ the Advent Wreath; light the Christ Candle; and then all listen from the steps as the fifth lesson (1 John 4:7-9, 16b) is read. We will pray; sing the Advent Wreath verse; and send the children to join their families as we prepare for the congregational candlelighting. With our children’s sermon series focus on the light, we want to make sure the children are ALL there for the candlelighting…it is the highlight of our series on Jesus becoming the light of the world!
*Parents will be notified so they can make decisions about their children who typically stay through the early children’s sermon and then head to the nursery.

Hello!

Merry Christmas! Yes, Christmas is here!

We have moved slowly through Advent; all four of our blue Advent candles are lit; now we are here at Christmas. We are celebrating that Jesus has become the light of the world, that we live in His light, and that no darkness can cover up the light of Jesus.

In the center of our Advent Wreath is the white candle. Surrounded by the Candles of Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love, we call this center candle the Christ Candle. As Sabrina lights the Christ Candle, let us listen to Word of the Lord. (The reading of 1 John 4:7-9, 16b)

Our Advent Wreath is now fully bright. But the light does not stop and end here. As we just heard, the light and love lives in us. And God calls us to share the light of Jesus. In just a moment, you guys will go back to where your families are sitting. You each have a candle there like this. Our acolytes will take the light from the Christ Candle and share it with each of us, and we will share it with each other, and soon our bright Advent Wreath will be even brighter as the light shines throughout the church. Now it’s important to remember, when we are holding the light of Jesus, when we are holding the lit candle, we do not tilt the candle. Wax can be hot. We always hold the lit candle bright and tall.

Jesus is the light of the world. We live in His light. No darkness can cover up the light of Jesus.

After our prayer, we will sing our special song.
Will you pray with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it.)

Dear Lord,
We light the Christ Candle
that everyone may see
Jesus is the Light of the World.
We live in Your Hope.
We live in Your Peace.
We live in Your Joy.
We live in Your Love.
We live in Your Light.
Shine within our hearts.
Amen

And now we sing the final verse of Light a Candle Bright and Tall.

And now go find your family…

Thanks be for each of you,
my on the chancel steps friends,
for being part of my family!

Merry Christmas!
May the light of Jesus continue to shine through you.
Fran

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

 

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Camping Out (Lenten Series: Almsgiving)

Transfiguration of the Lord
Lent 2014
Year A

During this Lent, we offer a series focussing on the Lenten Discipline of Almsgiving. Beginning with an introduction to almsgiving on Transfiguration Sunday, we will connect each Sunday’s lectionary to a different area of need. Children will bring an appropriate item of support and also be told what to bring the next week. This is still a work in progress, so PLEASE offer suggestions!

Here is a quick outline…for a more detailed outline, click here.

March 2: Transfiguration
Introduction to Almsgiving
March 9: 1st Lent
Fresh Bread or Canned Goods
March 16: 2nd Lent
Socks
March 23: 3rd Lent
Money for Water Wells
Water for South Sudan: See Linda Sue Park’s Newbery Award winning book A Long Walk to Water (2010); appropriate for grades 5-12
Living Waters for the World
(Avoid collecting bottled water due to the problems of the bottles ending up in landfills…)
March 30: 4th Lent
old eyeglasses and new reading glasses
See your local Shelters or the Lions Clubs
April 6: 5th Lent
??? Still trying to figure out the focus
April 13: Palm Sunday
??? Still trying to figure out the focus
April 20: Easter
Cut flowers

And now for the Sermon…

mountaintopfor Sunday, March 2, 2014
Transfiguration Sunday
Year A
lectionary focus: Matthew 17:1-9
almsgiving: Next week, we will collect fresh bread and take to the Women’s Shelter that day.

Today’s Bible story is one of my favorites. Jesus and His friends go camping. They climb high up in the mountains and everything is wonderful. Peter says, “It is good for us to be here.” And he wants to build houses and stay there. I understand Peter’s feelings. When I am happy and with my friends and everything is wonderful, I just want to stay in that place, too. We are called to love God and enjoy Him forever…and to share that joy. Sharing that joy takes some work. And so in today’s Bible story, Jesus and His friends come back down the mountain.

This week, we start the Season of Lent. During Lent, we prepare ourselves for the mystery and joy of Easter by working on the disciplines of our faith. This year we are focussing on the Lenten Discipline of Almsgiving. Everybody say Almsgiving. Almsgiving is when we give people the things they need to live. Did you hear I said NEED to live? We all need food; we all need water; we need clothing; and we need shelter. And some people don’t have these things. There are people around the world and around the block without these basic things. Each Sunday during Lent, we will talk about a different need. We will also preview the next Sunday’s topic so you will know what thing to bring to church as your almsgiving.

Next Sunday, we will hear a Bible story about bread. I want you to think about bread this week. I want you to notice when you eat bread. I want you to count how many times you see or eat or smell or make or think about bread this week. And next Sunday, I want you to bring a loaf of bread to church. It can be your favorite loaf of bread from the store, or it can be a loaf of bread you and your dad make; it can be whole wheat or white or a long baguette. I am sure you will encounter bread a very high number of times this week. A week can be long; so on Thursday, we will send an email to remind you to get your loaf of bread for next Sunday.

Jesus and His friends did lots of work to help people. We also can work to help others. During this Season of Lent, let us answer God’s call to share His joy by meeting the needs of others.

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

Dear Lord,
During this Season of Lent,
help us
to think about the needs of others.
Help us
to work for the needs of others.
Amen

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

Praying for Stephanie

IMG_0479for Sunday, February 23, 2014
7th Sunday in Ordinary Time
7th Sunday after Epiphany
Year A
lectionary focus: Matthew 5:38-48

We all know that Jesus said, Love your neighbor as yourself. But in today’s Bible story from the Book of Matthew, Jesus says this a different way. Jesus says, Love your enemies and pray for them.

When I was in school, there was a girl in my class named Stephanie. I didn’t like Stephanie. She hummed all of the time. It drove me crazy. I knew that Jesus said I should love my neighbor, so I loved Stephanie. While I didn’t like her because she hummed all of the time, it was easy to love her because I just ignored her. I didn’t sit next to her in the lunchroom or during circle time. I didn’t choose the same activities she was doing. I just avoided her…but hey, look Jesus, I still loved her.

Then one day, our teacher, Mr. Wesemann, gave us projects to do and assigned us each a partner for our project. I bet you can guess whom my partner was…Stephanie.
Ugh! Why her? Why the humming girl?

But Jesus said, Love your enemies and pray for them.

So I started praying! Please God, fix Stephanie! Make her stop humming.
But even though I kept praying for her, she didn’t change!
I kept praying, Why God? Why don’t you change her?

Then one day, as Stephanie and I worked on our project, she was humming again. I couldn’t stand it. I blurted out, “Why do you hum all of the time? Would you just stop it?!”
And Stephanie snapped back, “Why are you always drumming on the table? Would you just stop it?”
We glared at each other.

That night, when I prayed, I apologized to God. I didn’t realize my drumming was driving Stephanie crazy. I was just drumming. I guess, like she was just humming. I realized that praying for Stephanie didn’t mean that I was to ask God to fix Stephanie; praying for my enemies meant I was to ask God to fix our relationship, to fix us from not being friends to being friends.

The next day Stephanie and I sat down to work on our project. We were both grumpy. Then Stephanie said, “Hey, I thought our project could use a little pizazz. So I wrote a song for it.” And when she sang the song, it was really great! And the best part…well, one of the best parts, was it had my name in it. And as she sang, I automatically started drumming along with it. And as I drummed, Stephanie nodded her head and smiled.

That night when I said my prayers, I thanked God for Stephanie and that we had been partners. And I thanked God for fixing us, for helping us find a way to be friends.

Jesus asks us to do some weird things. Praying for our enemies certainly sounds odd. But when we pray for God to fix our relationships, we all come out better.

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 old friends
and new friends.
Help us learn
how to be better friends.
Amen

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

The End is the Beginning (Without End)

Milo teaches Cookie about blessings.

Milo teaches Cookie about blessings.

for Sunday, November 24, 2013
Reign of Christ Sunday (Christ the King)
Thanksgiving Sunday
Proper 29
Year C
lectionary focus: Colossians 1:11-20; Luke 23:33-43
prop: calendar

Welcome!

This is a calendar. We use calendars to mark the passage of days and weeks and months and years…and to keep track of our schedules so that we will know when we are to do what. We have many different calendars: the World calendar runs from January through December; the School calendar runs from August through May; and the Church calendar runs from December through November. On the Church calendar, this Sunday is the last Sunday in the Church year, making this Sunday the end of the Church year. Endings are often sad. It is sad when our vacations end, or when a party ends, or when a good book ends. But by now, you understand that the end of one year just means that a new year begins. We just start a new calendar and life goes on…no need to be sad.

Our Bible story today reminds us of the Easter story. When Jesus died on the cross, His friends thought that it was The end. But then Jesus rose from the dead to rescue all of us from the power of darkness and invite us to be a part of His Kingdom. The Easter story is really the beginning! The Easter story is a story of joy.

We call this Sunday that is the end of the Church year the Reign of Christ/Christ the King Sunday. We call it this to remember that no matter when it is and no matter where we are, we are part of Christ’s Holy Kingdom, living to share God’s love. The Church calendar may say that it is the end of year, but God says that His love never ends.

So this week we end the Church year with happiness, with joy, with God’s love, counting of all of our blessings at our Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, and we  begin a New Church Year next Sunday as we enter the season of Advent and prepare for Christmas. See, life goes on…no need to be sad…God’s love never ends. We are blessed.

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

Dear Lord,
Thank You
for the joys of this past Church year.
Thank You
for the joys of this coming  Church year.
Thank You
for having me
as part of Your Kingdom.
Amen

We are not Christians alone.
My mission is to share, inspire, and encourage.
(Advent is coming!!)

An Opportunity to Share Good News

IMG_3439for Sunday, November 17, 2013
33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
26th Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 28
Year C
lectionary focus: Luke 21:5-19

Welcome!

All around the world, at some point each day, people seek out the News. Through newspapers, magazines, radios, televisions, computers, and phones, we are able to know what is happening in other places near and far. Sometimes the News is happy, like a prince being born in England or a parade in Boston for a world champion baseball team; sometimes the News is sad or scary like a forest fire in California or business troubles in New York or war in Afghanistan. All of our cool electronic gadgets make getting News easy and fast. But getting News is not a new thing. For thousands of years people have been paying attention to what other people are experiencing or doing or saying or thinking. We are curious people and we curious to know what else is going on…even if the news is sad or scary.

In our Bible story today, Jesus gives us wise words about hearing bad News. Jesus tells us not to get trapped by the troubles in the world, not to get paralyzed by the sad and scary things that people say or do. Jesus advises us that when we hear serious or unpleasant News, we should listen for God calling us and respond by doing what is right to make God’s world a more beautiful place. With Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, messaging, texting–it is so easy to know what is going on in other places. But we are NOT to be overwhelmed or terrified. Instead we are to hear challenging news as an opportunity to share God’s good news! We can take action and do His work and share His love.

God loves us and is with us each and every day. By knowing this, we can keep informed about what is going on around the world and continue to move forward building God’s Kingdom. We can be glad to use our gadgets, sharing what happens in other people’s lives and sharing God’s love with our family and friends far and near.

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 that gadgets
that give us the News.
Help us
hear the News
as an opportunity
to share the News
of Your love.
Amen

We are not Christians alone.
My mission is to share, inspire, and encourage.
(and you can share, too, through FB, twitter, etc., etc., etc.)

Cheering for Us

photo by cwoodruff 2011; used by permission

photo by cwoodruff 2011; used by permission

for November 10, 2013
32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
25th Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 27
Year C
lectionary focus: Haggai 1:15-2:9

Welcome!

Today I want to talk about CHORES. Chores are those jobs that we have to do that are not all that fun to do…like making up our bed, or putting the dishes in the dishwasher, or brushing our teeth, or homework, or any of those other things that you might have on your chore list. Chores can be difficult or unpleasant or just boring. And while people, your age and my age, often do not like to do chores, these little jobs are what keep our lives moving along in a healthy and happy way. I mean, we want clean dishes and clean teeth and clean homes, and we want to learn and be smart. One thing I’ve learned from you kids that makes chores easier…is to make a game of them! I love how you kids will sing songs while doing chores or how you will stop and do a little dance after each homework problem. It’s like you guys are doing Cheers for Chores! You are saying to yourself and to each other: “You can do it! Go guy! You can clean it! If you try!” You have figured out that when somebody is cheering you on, there is nothing you can’t do.

All of your Chore Cheering makes me think that you already know today’s Bible story. Today we read from the unfamiliar book of Haggai. This is one of the minor prophets, so everybody say his name for good practice: Haggai. Haggai’s short little book in the Bible tells us about a time the Hebrew people are rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem. Seems that building God’s house is taking a long time and has become a chore and the people are getting all whiney about it and finally just stop building. Then Haggai comes and shares the word of the Lord. Haggai declares that God is calling His people to get to work! “Yes,” he says, “this is work, but this is work for God! Take courage, take courage, take courage, all you people of the land, for God is with you according to the promise that He made to you. Do not fear!” The prophet Haggai is speaking God’s cheers for His people! Yes, God is cheering for them and hearing these encouraging cheers, the people of God get to work and do what God has called them to do.

God is still cheering for us today. When we have chores like scrubbing and working and sweating, it may not seem like we are doing these things for God. But when you think about it, every thing we do, we do for God. The Book of Haggai lets us know that God appreciates all of the work that we do, that God Himself is cheering for us. And knowing that God is cheering for us makes doing all kinds of chores easy and fun and joyful. Haggai also sets the example that we can share God’s cheers for us by cheering for each other. Whether we are doing the chore or someone else is, we can speak God’s cheers and encourage others and ourselves to take courage and to work…for God is with us!

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 cheering for us.
Help me
to share Your cheers
that we may all remember
that everything we do
we do for You
and You appreciate
what we do.
Amen

We are not Christians alone.
My mission is to share, inspire, and ENCOURAGE.
You go, guys! You can do it! God is with You!!!

In Shops or At Tea

saintsfor Sunday, November 3, 2013
All Saints Sunday
lectionary focus: Psalm 149:1-9; Ephesians 1:11-23; Luke 6:20-31
prop: a hymnal that includes I Sing a Song of the Saints of God
Find more history on this hymn here and an interesting survey results here.

Welcome!

Today I have another important book that we use in worship. This is our Hymnal. In here, we find the hymns, or songs, we sing as a congregation. Today we are singing one of these hymns that has been around for a long time and that is traditionally sung on this Sunday each year. The hymn is I Sing a Song of the Saints of God. Let me tell you the story of this hymn: Almost one hundred years ago, a woman named Mrs. Scott who lived in England wrote some songs for her young children to teach them about God. With this song, Mrs. Scott wanted her children to know that Saints are not just fancy people who have statues in churches; Saints are just regular folk like you and me. Eventually Mrs. Scott’s hymns were published in a little book and that book found its way to a man who lived in the United States; John Hopkins wrote a new tune for this hymn and it was added to the collection of hymns sung by many churches.

But back to the words…if Saints are just regular people, why are they called Saints? Saints are everyday sort of people who spend their lives doing good for God. Everything that a Saint does is for God. Whether they are being a preacher sharing the Good News, or a doctor helping the sick, or a waiter serving in a restaurant, or a gardener cutting the grass, Saints love God and share God’s love by doing what God has called them to do. This hymn reminds us that whatever we do, we, too, can be Saints.

So why do we sing this hymn on this day? Today is All Saints Sunday. Today we remember those people in our church family who died in the past year. We are sad that they have died, but we are blessed and rejoice that we knew them and received God’s love from them. We remember that they are Saints by all the good things they did. And we work to follow their example. I remember Miss Betty sharing her violin music and her stories of all the places she played. I remember Buddy helping fix things around the church…and at anybody’s house who had something broken! I remember Mr. Mike; he was so nice and sweet and friendly yet somehow he was the best King Herod we ever had in the Christmas pageant! I remember Cookie always ready for a game of catch whenever you guys showed up with a ball.

Our hymnal has many songs in it. And at one time, some people thought I Sing a Song of the Saints of God was too common and being a ‘children’s hymn’ not appropriate for our Hymnal…but fortunately, other people knew that is the point! We are ALL blessed children of God…and as His children, we, too can be Saints today, tomorrow, every day.

So listen today as We Sing A Song of the Saints of God, and hear how Saints are just regular folk who love God and love to share God’s love. Listen how there were Saints long ago but there are Saints today…you can meet them in school, in shops, any where!

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

Dear Lord,
Today we sing a song of Your Saints.
We are thankful
for the Saints we have known.
Please help me
to be a Saint too.
Amen

We are not Christians (or Saints) alone.
My mission is to share, inspire, and encourage.