Tag Archives: communion

KEEP (SH)OUT(ING)!

IMG_1895

This is how it played out at EPC. It was awesome. ~Fran

for Sunday, October 4, 2015
World Communion Sunday
19th Sunday After Pentecost
27th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Proper 22
Year B
lectionary focus: Mark 10:2-16

note and PROP: As Edgewood Presbyterian Church celebrates World Communion Sunday, our children’s sermon will prepare the congregation and the table for Communion. Our prop is a fence section that will be placed on top of the Communion Table. By turning the fence into a table, we are saying: there is plenty to share; the table is big; we are one world. A great book to extend this lesson is The Greatest Table by Michael Rosen.

Good morning!

I have a BIG prop today! This is a section of fence. We put fences around things for safety. We fence our yards so our dogs can play and not get lost. We put fences beside roads so that drivers will know where to drive their cars. We put fences around dangerous things like power stations and water towers so that people don’t get hurt. Fences can be very helpful. But some people want to build fences to be selfish. Some people want to use fences to say that other people need to go away; to say that other people are not welcome there; to say that other people need to KEEP OUT (helper puts sign on the fence). Some people want to use fences because they feel there is not enough to share.

In our Bible story today, Jesus fusses at the disciples when they are being selfish. The disciples use themselves to make a fence to keep children away from Jesus. Jesus moves the disciples, opens His arms, hugs all the children, and reminds the disciples that there is plenty of Jesus to share.

Today we celebrate World Communion Sunday. Today we celebrate that there is STILL plenty of Jesus to share all over the world. Today we celebrate that we don’t have to be selfish with Jesus and His love.

But I wonder about the fences. I wonder about the people who forget that there is enough to share. I wonder what we can do. I wonder how we can move the fences like Jesus. I wonder how we can show that there is plenty to share. Here are 3 ideas.

First. I think we need to change the sign on the fence. That sign says KEEP OUT. But if we add God’s love and put a few more letters on the sign, it now reads KEEP SHOUTING GOD LOVES YOU! I think that makes Jesus’s message loud and clear.

Second. Today at EPC, we are changing this fence into a table. Watch as our helpers take the fence and place it here on top of Jesus’s table. And now our other friends will  add the elements. That fence which was designed to keep people out is now making the table bigger, is now welcoming us all to eat with Jesus.

And third. We can remember that there is enough to share. Whether we are sharing Jesus or love or kindness or food or shoes or a place to live, there is enough. And Jesus calls us all to share, calls us to make sure that others are welcome, calls us to show how big His table is.

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 keeping us safe.
Thank You
for sharing with us.
Thank You
for reminding us
to share with others
and to move selfish fences.
KEEP SHOUTING!
GOD LOVES YOU!
Amen
Amen

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

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With Jesus to the Moon and Back

print 09 5for Sunday, July 21, 2013
16th Sunday in Ordinary Time
9th Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 11
Year C
lectionary focus: Luke 10:38-42
inspiration: “Commoonion.” 

Good Morning!

Forty-four years ago this weekend, in 1969, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were the first people to walk on the moon. This was a big, exciting event, and the whole world watched as Mr. Armstrong took the first step and said the memorable words, “That’s one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind.” But something else exciting happened BEFORE they walked on the moon. Since everyone had already put in a full day’s work with this new and technical operation of getting the spaceship on the moon, NASA had scheduled time after the landing for the astronauts to eat and get a goodnight’s sleep before their big walking adventure. But shortly after they landed, astronaut Aldrin took communion on the moon. Mr. Aldrin is an elder in the Presbyterian Church. He had arranged with his home church, Webster Presbyterian Church in Houston, TX, to carry a pinch of bread and a small chalice of wine so that in this remarkable place and in the midst of this amazing work, he could stop and express his gratitude and hope. There on the moon, Mr. Aldrin took time to acknowledge that Jesus was with him.

Our Bible story today reminds us of the importance of recognizing that Jesus is with us. In this Bible story, Jesus is visiting His friends Lazarus and Martha and Mary. Martha is busy being hostess and getting the meal ready…and Mary is just sitting and visiting with Jesus. When Martha gets upset that Mary is not working, Jesus reminds her that welcoming is not just the serving of a meal but also the reception…the being with your friends. Jesus is our friend and He invites us to be present with Him.

So every time you look at the moon, remember that astronaut Aldrin took time there to share that moment with Jesus. And the next time you are in the midst of great work…or great play, you, too, can take a moment to recognize that Jesus is with you and to share your gratitude and hope with Him. You can celebrate the presence of Jesus wherever and whenever and whoever you are.

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 being with me.
Help me
to welcome You
and be present with You
wherever
and whenever
I am.
Amen

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

Sit Here By Me

table

photo by Bill Woodruff

for Sunday, April 28, 2013
5th Sunday of Easter
Year C
lectionary focus: Acts 11:1-18; John 13:31-35

Good Morning!
Happy Easter!

When I was in high school, the tables in the lunchroom were separated: the nerds sat at their tables and the popular people sat at their tables. Fifty years ago in our country, restaurants were separated…white people ate at certain restaurants and black people ate at others. In Bible times, Jews could not eat with Gentiles. Seems like for thousands of years, we’ve been having problems with who can sit together at the table. Whenever different people have tried to share tables, other people freak out.

Our Bible story today reminds us that God’s table is big enough for everyone. Peter has just come back from a trip. Some of his friends are giving him a hard time because he ate with “those” people. (use the air quotes to make the point) But Peter patiently shares that “those” people are their neighbors. I wonder if you remember what Jesus taught about neighbors…Yes, Love your neighbors as yourself. Jesus also said, “Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.”

Obviously, love is a lesson the world is still learning every day. And love is a lesson we practice each time we come to the Lord’s table for communion.* Here we see that God welcomes each and all of us: tall or short, young or old, fancy or regular, (use other differences that fit your congregation, like in my area we would say Auburn or Alabama)… God does not let our differences prevent us from sharing His table. Therefore, let us praise God together! And let us remember that whether here at church or at school or anywhere in the world, we can come together with different people because we are all neighbors. God loves us and our neighbors. And just like God loves us, we are to love one another.

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 sharing Your table
with me.
Help me
to share tables
with the neighbors I meet
here
there
and everywhere.
Amen

*If your church does not do communion often or the children do not participate, substitute ‘God’s House’ or ‘Church’ in place of ‘His table.’

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.

Two for One

16th Sunday after Pentecost
27th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Proper 22
for Sunday, Oct 2, 2011

Note: This week I offer two sermons: one for those celebrating World Communion Sunday and one for those focussing on the lectionary.

Sermon I–World Communion Sunday 2011
lectionary focus (loosely): Philippians 3:12-14
The inspiration for this sermon came from the essay “Living from the Heart” by Pam Pitcher in “Under the Chinaberry Tree: a publication of the Chinaberry Book Service,” 1995.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been hungry. And what do we do when we are hungry? We get something to eat. The sooner, the better. We might get to go out to a restaurant. We might just go to the kitchen. We need to go to the grocery store regularly to have food ready. Did you know that one of the reasons we come to church is because we are hungry? But here we are not hungry for food; we are hungry for something else.

On the church calendar, today is known as World Communion Sunday. Today churches across the world celebrate that we are all really one church. Yes, we have different buildings, different names, different ways of worship. But we all are God’s church. We are a family of churches that loves God and God loves each of us. And how do families usually celebrate? By eating together. So today churches across the world are serving communion. The name communion is used for the meal in church where we eat bread and drink juice. But is this piece of bread and this sip of juice really a meal? Does this feed our hunger? No. And yes. We don’t eat this meal to keep our bellies from rumbling. We eat communion because we hunger for a world full of love and kindness and safety.

Everybody in the world needs food to live. Food gives our bodies the energy to do what needs to be done. But our hearts need God to live. God gives our hearts the love to do what needs to be done. When we share the communion meal, we are remembering that God loves us and that we should love each other. Through this celebration meal, we are filled with God’s love so we may go out and do good things in the world. I hope your bodies are never hungry for food. But I hope that you always hunger to go forward and to do good things in the world for 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 loving me.
Thank You for feeding me.
Help me to be hungry
for love
and kindness
and safety
that I may make the world
a better place.
Amen

Sermon II–Let the Words of My Mouth
lectionary focus: Psalm 19:14
The inspiration for this story came from a sermon by my friend Rick Allred.

Where is your mouth? Show me what teeth you have. Can you give me a big smile? Stick out your tongue. Do you know how to hum? Now listen to this.
Our mouths are wonderful things. They can do so much. We use them when we eat, when we sing, when we talk, when we say (smile while saying this) I-like-you without making a sound, and when we pray.

Because we use them so much, it is important to keep our mouths healthy. My dad is a dentist and he taught me to brush my teeth after every meal. It’s a good thing to do. But one time, my friend Zachary was getting ready to brush his teeth. He squirted some of the toothpaste onto his toothbrush. He made a nice, long squirt the whole length of his toothbrush. It was perfect and looked real pretty. Then he thought he could make it taller, so he squirted another long squirt on top of the first squirt. He had a double-decker! Then he thought he could make it even taller, so he squirted another long squirt on top of the first and second squirts. Now it was a triple-decker!!! Then Zach’s mom came into the bathroom. Uh, oh. He had too much toothpaste. There was no way he could use all of that. So Zach thought he would put it back into the toothpaste tube. But can you do that? No! Once you squirt out the toothpaste, it is not going back in.

In our Bible story today, the psalmist sings a line that many people use as a daily prayer: Let the words I say with my mouth make You happy, O Lord. God wants us to use our mouths to say good and helpful words.

But what about when we forget and say something not nice, something mean or ugly. Can we put the words back into our mouths like we never said them? No. Once we say something, the words cannot go back in. And if we say something mean or ugly, the hurt is done. Therefore let us be like the psalmist and ask God’s help that the words from our mouths be words of love and kindness and help. Those are the words that will make the Lord happy. And those words are never too much and never need to be put back.

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 our mouths.
Thank You for toothpaste.
Let the words I say with my mouth
make You happy
and be good and helpful
to all.
Amen

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