Tag Archives: Luke

The First Church Potluck?

bowlfor Sunday, May 4, 2014
3rd Sunday of Easter
Year A
lectionary focus: Luke 24:13-35
note: Don’t forget Graduation Sunday! Would this be a good Sunday to recognize those moving on to other things?
prop: casserole dish

Happy Easter!

Yes, it is still Easter. The mystery and joy of Easter are too big to celebrate in one Sunday so we continue celebrating the love of our Risen Lord. And to celebrate today, I brought this. (Show casserole dish.) I’m sure you have seen these around your kitchen. This is a casserole dish. It is large enough to hold a big lasagna or chicken spaghetti or some other yummy dish that will taste great and fill a family with love. I wonder if you have also notice that whenever something big happens, people share food. When a family has a baby born, or someone in the family is sick or had an accident, or some friends get back from a long trip, or especially when someone in a family dies, people will cook up lots of food and take it that family. Making dinner for people is a delicious way to share love. The food provides rest and comfort and nourishment and caring. You have probably heard when something big happens, people say, “What food can I bring?”

I’ve been thinking about this question as I’ve been reading the Easter story in the Bible. Did Peter and his wife take dinner to John and his family? Did Mary and Martha and Lazarus host a potluck dinner at their house? And then we have today’s Bible story. In today’s lesson from the Book of Luke, we hear how two of Jesus’s friends are walking to the village of Emmaus. Along the road, they meet Jesus. Only they don’t recognize Him. They walk and talk and share all that they are feeling about Jesus. They are so moved by their conversation with this Man that they invite Him to dinner. And there, at the table, when this Man, when Jesus breaks the bread and blesses it, their eyes are opened, and they recognize Him. When Jesus shares dinner, they feel rest and comfort and nourishment and caring. They feel His love.

I think this is why we share food with others. We know our bodies need food to grow and be strong, but Jesus shows us that we need sharing for our hearts to grow and be strong. Each time we take food to those in need or eat together…breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner…our eyes can be opened, our hearts can be opened, and we can feel the love of Jesus surround us.

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 feeding us
with food
and with love.
Help us
to share with others
through food and love
that we all might see
Your love
everywhere.
Amen

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

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Gathering Advent 2013

AChristmasfor Advent and Christmas Eve 2013
Year A

It is time to gather Advent! This post contains five children’s sermons: one for each Sunday in Advent and one for Christmas Eve (or Day).* My church uses the children’s time to light the Advent Wreath candles. But this year, my Advent/Christmas sermon series goes beyond lighting the candles by having the children also assemble the crèche week by week. We will stage our medium-sized, tabletop, durable yet lovely, crèche in the front of the sanctuary near the Advent candles. We are still discussing the exact details of placement as we want it viewable by all, yet easily accessible by the children.

Here is my outline–which you can certainly adjust to fit your children, crèche, and worship style:
1st Sunday, December 1: The Candle of Home/The Stable: Psalm 122:1-9; Isaiah 2:1-5
2nd Sunday, December 8: The Candle of Community/The Cattle: Isaiah 11:1-10
3rd Sunday, December 15: The Candle of Joy/The figure of Mary: Luke 1:47-55
4th Sunday, December 22: The Candle of Faith/The figure of Joseph: Matthew 1:18-25
Christmas Eve, Tuesday, December 24 or Christmas Day, Wednesday, December 25: The Christ Candle/The Angels, the Shepherds, the sheep, and the figure of Jesus: Luke 2:1-20 or John 1:1-14

The full sermons are below. I am still fine tuning them, but as time is getting close, I wanted to go ahead and post. Please forgive typos (or better yet, let me know!) and check back each week to see if I’ve done any improvement editing.

In addition to using these sermons, you can modify this handout Gathering Advent for your members to use at home as they gather Advent. It is a Word document; honestly, I’m not sure how it will open on your computer! If you have problems please email me (chancelsteps  @ gmail dot com). Once you open it, add your Church’s name, and share with your congregation; feel free to edit as needed but please retain my web address at the bottom of the pages as the source. Also note, the two added verses for Away in a Manger…courtesy of my friends Jill Stewart, Lynn Dorough, and Susan Windham. (They are blessed with poetic talents!)

So, from here, seek out an appropriate crèche and invite your church children to gather Advent and prepare for the great mystery of Christmas.

May you gather home, community, joy, and faith this Advent Season,
Frances

*You can find two other Advent/Christmas sermon series in this blog: traditional here and different here.

*************************

Astable1st Sunday, December 1, 2013
The Candle of Home
The Stable
lectionary focus: Psalm 122:1-9; Isaiah 2:1-5

Welcome to Advent!

Today we start the Season of Advent. During this time, we spend four weeks preparing ourselves for the great mystery of Christmas. Each of the four Sundays during Advent we will light another candle on the wreath. And this year, as the candles help us move closer to Christmas, we will also add to our crèche, which is the church word for manger scene.

Our Bible story today calls us to think about the House of the Lord. Usually those words make us think about the church. But during Advent, we think about where Jesus was born. He was not born in a hospital or a fancy castle or even a house. Jesus was born in a stable because there was no room in the inn. A stable is a barn; it’s where animals sleep. A stable is not where people stay. But this is the message: Jesus is at home everywhere. Certainly, if He can be at home in a lowly stable, then He can be at home here in our church; He can be at home in our houses; He can be at home in the Shelter downtown; and He can be at home in our hearts.

Today we will begin our crèche by placing the stable. As you each get to hold it and pass it around, notice how simple it looks and how strong it feels. And now Zachary will place it on our table.

Today we also light the First Candle in our Advent Wreath. People have different names for the different candles. We will call this First Candle, the Candle of Home. With our stable and our candle, we remember that Jesus is at home everywhere, and we are at home in the love of Jesus. While Zachary now lights the First Candle, the Candle of Home, will you pray with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it.)

Dear Lord,
We place the stable
and light this candle
on the First Sunday in Advent
to remind ourselves
to prepare our hearts
as loving homes
for the coming Christ Child.
Amen

And now Miss Amanda will lead us all in singing the first verse of Away in a Manger.
(Away in a manger, No crib for His bed. The little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head. The stars in the bright sky looked down where He lay. The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.)

May you be at Home in this Advent Season.

*

Aanimals2nd Sunday, December 8, 2013
The Candle of Community
The Cattle
lectionary focus: Isaiah 11:1-10

Welcome to the Second Sunday in Advent!

Last Sunday, we lit the First Candle, the Candle of Home. We also placed the stable, Jesus’s first home, in our crèche. We thought about the House of the Lord and how Jesus is at home everywhere…and we are home with the love of Jesus.

Our Bible story today is an Old Testament prophecy describing the Advent of the Lord. We hear that when He comes, the wolf will live with the lamb, and the leopard with the goat, and the young cows and the lions and the bears and the snakes will all be friends and eat together. Nowwwww, we know lots of these animals aren’t really friends. Most often, if they eat together…it’s because one is eating the other. But again, this is the message: with Jesus, all kinds of people can be friends. People who act differently and think differently and look differently can sit and eat together at Jesus’s Holy table. Jesus invites us to live together in this one world, invites us to live together in a peaceful Community.

Last Sunday, we placed the stable. And what would be a stable without animals? As you each get to hold and pass around the cows and sheep and goats, think about all the different kinds of people that make up the community of our church, the community of our neighborhoods, the community of our world. And now Miles and Theo will place the animals in the stable.

Today we light the Second Candle in Advent. We call this Candle, the Candle of Community. With our stable and our animals and our two candles, we remember that Jesus is our home and He is the foundation of peace in our communities near, far, and everywhere. While Miles and Theo light the two candles, will you pray with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it.)

Dear Lord,
We add the animals to the stable
and light this candle
on the Second Sunday in Advent
to remind ourselves
to prepare with peaceful Community
for the coming Christ Child.
Amen

And now Miss Amanda will lead us all in singing the second verse of Away in a Manger.
(The cattle are lowing; the Baby awakes. But little Lord Jesus no crying He makes. I love Thee, Lord Jesus look down from the sky and stay by my side ‘til morning is nigh.)

May you be in Community this Advent Season.

**

AMary3rd Sunday, December 15, 2013
The Candle of Joy
The figure of Mary
lectionary focus: Luke 1:47-55

Welcome!

Today is the Third Sunday in Advent. On the first Sunday, we lit the Candle of Home and placed the stable in our crèche. Last Sunday, we lit the Candle of Community and placed the animals in the stable. We have talked about Home and Community and how Jesus is at home everywhere and He calls us at to be at home throughout communities around the world.

Our Bible story today is the beautiful song of Mary, Jesus’s mother. When the Angel comes to tell Mary that she will be the mother of Jesus…which honestly is kind of an overwhelming announcement…what a big job!…Mary says, Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord! Mary means, Yes! She is overjoyed to do this big job! And she sings a hymn of praise and thanksgiving. Be sure to listen later in the service when the choir sings this song…and feel the joy that Mary tells…the joy of being with Jesus.

This Sunday, we add the figure of Mary to our crèche. As you each get to hold her and pass her around, look at how the artist that created this figure painted her face to captured her feeling of joy. And now Liza will place the figure of Mary in our crèche.

Today we light the Third Candle in Advent. We call this Candle, the Candle of Joy. We think of Mary’s joy; we think of our joy; we think of the Joy of the Word…the Joy that is coming…the Joy that is Jesus. And now Liza will light the three candles: the Candle of Home, the Candle of Community, and the Candle of Joy. Will you pray with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it.)

Dear Lord,
We joyfully add Mary
and light this candle
on the Third Sunday in Advent
to remind ourselves
to prepare with Yes!
to prepare with Joy
for the coming Christ Child.
Amen

And now Miss Amanda will lead us all in singing the another verse of Away in a Manger.
(His mother, dear Mary, looks down as He sleeps. Her Yes to the angel, a promise she keeps. She treasures this moment, her heart full of joy. She’s holding God’s Son, her sweet baby boy.)

May you find Joy in this Advent Season.

***

Ajoseph4th Sunday, December 22, 2013
The Candle of Faith
The figure of Joseph
lectionary focus: Matthew 1:18-25

Welcome!

Today is the Fourth Sunday in Advent. Today is the final Sunday in the Season of Advent. We began the Season by lighting the Candle of Home and placing the stable in our crèche. We then added the animals to the stable and lit the Second Candle of Advent, the Candle of Community. Last Sunday, we placed the figure of Mary and lit the Candle of Joy. We have gathered a loving home, a peaceful community, and joy for the world.

This Sunday, our Bible story introduces us to Joseph. Joseph has the important roles of being Mary’s husband and being Jesus’s daddy here on earth. Last week, we noted that when Mary heard the news about being Jesus’s mother, she sang a song of YES! But this week, we hear Joseph honestly admit his fear of having such a big job. But an angel tells him Fear not! that God has chosen him for this job. And so Joseph boldly steps out in faith to take on this awesome responsibility.

We now add the figure of Joseph to our crèche. As you each get to hold him and pass him around, think about his courage, his willingness, his faith to do what God called him to do. And now Kia will place the figure of Joseph in our crèche.

Today we light the Fourth Candle in Advent. We call this Candle, the Candle of Faith. We remember Joseph and his faith; we envision our faith, ready to do what God calls us to do. And now Kia will light the four candles: the Candle of Home, the Candle of Community, the Candle of Joy, and the Candle of Faith. Will you pray with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it.)

Dear Lord,
We boldly place Joseph
and light this candle
on the Fourth Sunday in Advent
to remind ourselves
to prepare with Faith
for the coming Christ Child.
Amen

And now Miss Amanda will lead us all in singing another verse of Away in a Manger.
(As Joseph considers the problems they face, He surely is frightened and seeking God’s grace. The angel says ‘Fear not, the Child is foretold!’ So faithfully Joseph goes forth strong and bold.)

May you be strengthened with Faith in this Advent Season.

****

Christmas Eve, Tuesday, December 24, 2013
or Christmas Day, Wednesday, December 25, 2013
The Christ Candle
The Angels, the Shepherds, the sheep, and the figure of Jesus
lectionary focus: Luke 2:1-20 or John 1:1-14

Here we are.
The Season of Advent is over. The Season of Christmas begins tonight.
We have spent the past four weeks lighting candles and assembling our crèche. Finn will now re-light the four blue Advent candles. We started with the Candle of Home and placed our stable. We then lit the Candle of Community and added the animals to our crèche. On the Third Sunday, we joyfully sang with Mary, adding her figure to the crèche and lighting the Candle of Joy. And this past Sunday, we listened as Joseph overcome his fear by faith, and we placed the figure of Joseph boldly beside Mary in the crèche and lit the Candle of Faith. But not all of our candles are lit and our crèche is not complete.

Tonight our Bible story gives us the glorious details of what happened on that night long ago in Bethlehem. Jesus is born!  Mary, still joyful, wraps him in a blanket and lays him in a manger. Just over the hill, shepherds watching their flocks are greeted by angels bringing good news of great joy. The shepherds and the sheep come with haste to meet Baby Jesus. And all are amazed.

We, too, are once again amazed by the story of Jesus. Tonight we fill our crèche with sheep and shepherds and angels and the Baby Jesus. As you each get to hold the figures and pass them around, consider how you fit into the story of Jesus. Over the Advent Season, as we assembled our crèche, we gathered stories of faith and joy and community and home. Our crèche reminds us that we are part of these stories, too. We fit into these stories, too. Jesus was born in a stable because there was no room in the inn. But we always have room in our hearts. Our hearts can be filled with faith and joy and community and home and Jesus. With Jesus there is always room. And now will you each find room for your figure in the crèche?

Finn will now light the Christ Candle. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. Will you pray with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it.)

Dear Lord,
We fill the crèche.
We light the Christ Candle.
Jesus is born.
There is always room.
Amen

And now Miss Amanda will lead us in singing the final verse of Away in a Manger.
(Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay close by me forever and love me, I pray. Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care and fit us for heaven to live with Thee there.)

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.)

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.

Compassion Begins Door to Door

photo by WRB Jr.

photo by WRB Jr.

for Sunday, October 27, 2013
Sunday before Halloween
30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
23rd Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 25
Year C
lectionary focus: Luke 18:9-14

Welcome!

This week is Halloween! I am so excited! I like going to Halloween parties where everybody is dressed up in costumes. I like pretending to be someone, or something, else. It is fun to dress and act and talk and walk in ways that I don’t regularly do. I really get into the character I am pretending to be. I think: what would this character do if this happened or that happened? how would they feel? what would they say? I like seeing how someone, or something, else would live.

Now, it is safe to say, that we won’t find any Halloween party stories in the Bible. But we do hear a lot of stories. Jesus loves to teach with stories. And when Jesus tells us a story, He invites us to pretend to be the different characters in the story.

In today’s Bible story, Jesus invites us to be two different men who go to the temple to pray. When we pretend to be the first man, we pray with great thanksgiving for all the blessings we have…including being our wonderful self. When we pretend to be the second man, we remember that we make mistakes and do wrong sometimes and we quietly ask for forgiveness. The two men are very different. But by pretending to be each of the characters, we see that sometimes we are fortunate people, who end up bragging, and sometimes we realize our mistakes and are humbled. By pretending to be each of the characters, we learn an important emotion: compassion.

Compassion means that we imagine what it would be like to have someone else’s life; we share in their joy and their pain; we build a connection with the other person…and when we have a connection with someone, it is easy to love them. And this is Jesus’s greatest commandment to us: Love one another as He loves us.

Halloween is not the only time we can pretend to be someone, or something, else. Every day we are called to be compassionate with those around us, to share in other’s joy and pain, to build connections with other people, to love them as Jesus loves 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 costumes and dressing up.
Help me
to imagine
how others think
and feel.
Fill me
with compassion
that I can
build connections
and share Your love
with those around me.
Amen

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

Justice Through Chocolate

fair-trade-logo1for Sunday, October 20, 2013
Children’s Sabbath (see Children’s Defense Fund)
29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
22nd Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 24
Year C
lectionary focus: Luke 18:1-8
prop: Fair Trade chocolates.
For more information see Tsh Oxenreider; Her post includes the video “The Dark Side of Chocolate” that would be appropriate for adult Sunday School.
To find Fair Trade or Short Supply Chain chocolates, check your local stores or find here, here, here, and here.

Welcome!

When I was a kid, one Mother’s Day, I asked my grandmother, “When is Kid’s Day?” My grandmother laughed and replied, “Every day is Kid’s Day!”

I remembered this conversation when I learned that this weekend in the church is called Children’s Sabbath. At first, I was like you are right now…my eyebrows came together and I said, “Huh?” Children’s Sabbath means this Sunday we celebrate children and the blessing that you guys are, and we remind ourselves to work for justice and make all children safe and supported.

But don’t think that you get to sit back and do nothing because you are kids. As kids, you too can work for justice…work to do the right thing and make children safe and supported. Let me suggest a project for you: CHOCOLATE. Yummmmm. I really like chocolate. It is my favorite treat to eat. Chocolate is made from cocoa beans, the seeds from the cacao tree. These trees grow near the equator where they get their needed amount of heat, sun, and rain. Most of the cacao tree farms are in countries in western Africa way far from here. The laws in those countries are different from our laws, and because of that, many of the workers on these cacao farms are children. Whoa. Wait a minute. Children like you guys? Working? Instead of going to school? Yes. The farm owners use children because they don’t have to pay them very much. This makes the farm owners richer. But it makes the children poorer…their bodies get tired doing the long, hard work and their minds don’t grow and learn all the smart things schools teach us. So this is how we get most of our chocolate? Our special treat is made from some other child’s hard life.

Now what can we do? How can we–on the other side of the world from this–work for justice? How can you as children make those children’s lives better? We can pay attention to the chocolate that we buy. We can buy chocolate that is labeled Fair Trade. Fair Trade means the chocolate comes from a farm where children do not work. Fair Trade means that the adults who work at the farm are paid a fair price for their work. Fair Trade means that the farm is inspected to see that it is a safe place for the grown ups who work there. Fair Trade means that the grown ups who work there can send their children to school and let their children be children. Supporting Fair Trade is how we can work for justice and make children safe and supported.

Now Fair Trade chocolate costs a bit more money for us to buy. But since chocolate is a special treat for us, doesn’t it seem worth the extra cost to make sure we are helping and not hurting other children when we buy chocolate? I think Jesus would think so.

In our Bible Story today, Jesus talks about justice. Jesus says that justice goes beyond just saying something is wrong or right. Justice is about making the wrong into right. And like we have said before, every little bit of right does make a difference in the world. Even as kids, you can make things right. You can help make every day Kid’s Day…for you and for kids way on the other side of the world! When you enjoy a special chocolate treat, you can know that you have helped make another kid’s life sweet, too.

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 the children of the world.
Help me
to help other children
be safe and supported.
Help me
to find ways
to share Your love.
Amen

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