Tag Archives: Mark

KEEP (SH)OUT(ING)!

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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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Hashtag Summer

150607epcvbsfwfor Sunday, June 7, 2015
2nd Sunday after Pentecost
10th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Proper 5
Vacation Bible School
Year B
lectionary focus: Mark 3:20-35
props: camera phone and Instagram/FaceBook
note: Our small church has decided NOT to do Vacation Bible School this summer. Not as a week long event nor as part of Summer Sunday School. This year, we are giving ALL of our Sunday School teachers a break! We will still have a Sunday School time, but each week the children will be taught by our lovely intern (I suggested she use StoryPath books.), and all the rest from Middle School on up will be taught Bible 101 by our new preacher (I know! Where did we get this guy? Hope we don’t burn him out too quickly!).
I have been following Brother, Give Us a Word from the Society of Saint John the Evangelist.  I applaud this awesome use of social media! My Pastor Joe and I discussed how we might use such an online tool with our congregation. And so #epcvbs is happening! This Sunday I will explain our Online Vacation Bible School during the children’s sermon time, give the first hashtag word (#family), and close with a group photo on the chancel steps. Through our church’s Instagram account (instagram.com/edgewoodpres) and hashtag words of the week, we will encourage our church family to connect and to post pictures using our main hashtag #epcvbs and the hashtag word of the week (see suggested hashtag words for each week following the sermon below). We want to provide our church family with another way to stay connected visually, mentally, and spiritually during summer vacations. (Since this Online Vacation Bible School is an intentional intergenerational activity, this hashtag word of the week will not be part of the children’s sermon every week—though it can be.) (Since not everyone views social media, Pastor Joe will print out the pictures each week and post them on the “wall” in the Narthex.) So here goes…let me know if I don’t make any sense.

Happy Summer!

I am so excited that summer is here and we are into our summer routines of not really having a routine! Summer is a big travel time and lots of us will be visiting family: grandparents and uncles and aunts and cousins. Like holidays, summer is a great time for family to get together.

In our Bible story today, Jesus talks about family. Jesus points out that family is not just your parents or your brothers and sisters or your grandparents or your cousins. Jesus tells us that the people He calls family are those who follow God. Whoa! That means since we follow God that we are part of Jesus’s family! And since each of us are part of Jesus’s family, then we are part of each other’s family…meaning we are all family together. This is why we call each other part of our church family. Looks like we’ve got a big, happy family!

One of my favorite things that families do is take family photographs. So today I’ve brought my camera to take our church family picture together here on the chancel steps. But the thing is…I want each of you to be able to see the picture. Do you guys know who this is? You may have seen him in Pastor Joe’s office. He’s the church mouse. Pastor Joe posts pictures of the church mouse on an app called Instagram. So we’re going take our picture with the church mouse, post it on Instagram, and then all of our church family can see it! Here, you Ben, hold the church mouse.

And I’m going to stand back here, you guys squish in on the steps, and you guys in the congregation do your best photo-bomb pose! I might have to take two pictures. One, two, say Alleluia! (take the picture or two!)

One of the ways that Instagram makes it easy to share pictures is through labels called hashtag. Do you fingers like this. (Do the hashtag symbol if you understand what I’m talking about.) By using a hashtag label, we give a picture a theme. The hashtag for this picture that I just took is of course #family.

This is fun! I want to do this more. And I bet you guys would be good at it too! Let’s do this. All summer long, our church family is invited to post pictures on Instagram. This week, we start with #family. So when you guys (those on the steps with me here) and you guys (those in the pews out there) see something that makes you think “family,” we want you to photograph it, hashtag it with #family, and then post it to share. And so we can see them all together, Pastor Joe will print out the pictures and post them on the Narthex wall. AND each week this summer, Pastor Joe will give us a new hashtag word of the week for next week, and we can find other opportunities to photograph the new theme.

But we also need a hashtag to connect all of the pictures and themes. Our main hashtag will be #epcvbs. EPC stands for Edgewood Presbyterian Church and VBS stands for Vacation Bible School. Using Instagram, we are taking our Vacation Bible School wherever we are this summer. Through #epcvbs, we can share our family adventures with our whole church family. This way, we can all be church family together, following God whether we are here or there, near or far; we can stay connected spiritually and visually through the magic of technology.

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 family.
Thank You
that we are each
part of Your family.
Help us all
stay connected this summer
through worship,
through fun,
and through technology.
Amen

Suggested Weekly Hashtag Words that fit with the Revised Common Lectionary
We are still working on these. We want to find hashtags that don’t pull up inappropriate pictures on Instagram…if you know what I mean.

For the week of
June 8: #family

June 15: #davidandgoliath or #bestill

June 22: #morning or #balance

June 29: #honor or #HONORGOD

July 6: #welcome or #music or #fullness

July 13: #rocks

July 20: #picnic

July 27: #water

Aug 3: #truth or #GODSTRUTH

Aug 10: #backtoschool or #blessingofthebackpacks

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!

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.

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.

One Sound

for Sunday, September 23, 2012
25th Sunday in Ordinary Time,
17th Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 20
lectionary focus: Mark 9:30-37
props: your organist and organ

Good Morning!

I love the big sound our organ makes when we sing hymns and hear anthems. Miss Pat does a great job working all of those notes into songs. The other day I talked to Miss Pat about the organ and how it does what it does. She showed me all the keys and stops and pedals and pipes. I asked her, “Of all the sounds from the organ, which one is the greatest?” She was delighted to play me some of her favorites…like the lowest note (have organist play) and the highest note (have organist play) and a G-minor chord (have organist play) and the clarion (have organist play). They all do sound very nice. But I think Middle C is probably the greatest of all the sounds (have organist play). Yes. Middle C is even and strong and rich and beautiful. Simply lovely. So listen as Miss Pat has Middle C play my favorite hymn “Joyful, Joyful.” (Have organist play the rhythm of the first few measures of Joyful, Joyful but using only the Middle C note.)

Hum. That is a great note, but that doesn’t quite sound like “Joyful, Joyful,” does it? It sounds like something is missing. It sounds like a lot of somethings are missing. So for all of its greatness, can Middle C be THE greatest? Can we say that ONE sound is greatest? No. You heard it. It is ridiculous to say that one sound could be the greatest.

But what about people? What about us? Who of us is the greatest?

Our Bible story today tells us that no one of us is the greatest. No one of us alone can do it all perfectly. Just as each of the sounds of the organ bring their strength and beauty and work together to make music, each of us as God’s people bring our gifts and work together to make the world beautiful.

God is not looking for one of us to be the greatest. God is looking for us to work together to help each other do great things.

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 loving me.
Help me
to help others
so together
we can do
great things for You.
Amen

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