Tag Archives: vacation

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.

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.

Not Sitting Around

IMG_4646for Sunday, June 9, 2013
Third Sunday after Pentecost
Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Proper 5
Year C
lectionary focus: 1 Kings 17:8-24; Galatians 1:11-24; Luke 7:11-17
Note: If you haven’t done a Graduation Sunday, these texts can certainly lend themselves to the Go Forth with God theme.
Inspiration: A thought provoking idea from Rob Moss…

Good Morning!

It is June! It is Summer! It is Vacation! Time for traveling! When I was a kid, we traveled a lot, sometimes far away and sometimes down the street. My mom would always remind us before each trip, before each outing, before  each going out the front door: we needed to learn something, to have fun, to be safe, and to remember that we were representing the family and should behave ourselves.

In our Bible stories today, we hear about a lot of traveling. God sends the Prophet Elijah on a trip; St. Paul shares news from his travels; and Jesus goes to the small town of Nain. All of these are traveling stories. But actually, there are very few people in the Bible who just ‘sit around.’ God likes for us to travel. God wants us to get out in the world, to see other places, to learn about God’s people. But our travels are not just about learning things and having fun. Whenever we go on a trip or an outing or out the front door, we have an opportunity to represent God and to share His love. Yes, this is our church, but by going out, we connect with our neighbors and build God’s community beyond the walls of our church. This is one of the ways we make the world a more beautiful place.

Today’s Bible stories remind us that God’s people do not sit around. While Jesus never traveled very far from His birthplace in Bethlehem, He did not just sit and wait for people to come to Him. Jesus went out into the world–to their tables to eat, to their houses to visit, and to the seashore and countryside to share stories. As we each travel this summer, let us remember to learn something, to have fun, to be safe, and most importantly, to represent God and to share His love wherever we go.

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 Your love.
Help me
to share Your love
in all my travels
far away
and down the street.

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

Acting Just Like Children

for Sunday, September 2, 2012
Labor Day Sunday
22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
14th Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 17
lectionary focus: (loosely) James 1:17-27

Good Morning! Happy Labor Day!

Once upon a time there was a teacher who was having a hard time with her class. Her students were being wiggly, and giggly, and staring out the window, and being curious about what was for dinner, and talking to the other students. Finally the teacher could stand it no more, and she burst out with , “Behave yourselves! You are acting just like children!”
Well, that made sense. They were children. But the way the teacher said it, made them think that being children was a bad thing.

This weekend we end our summer vAcations by celebrating our vOcations on Labor Day. VOcations are the jobs that people have. And on Labor Day, we celebrate all the work people do to make our community a great place.

But what about you guys? What vocations do you have? Where do you work? What are the jobs that God calls you to do?

In our Bible story today, we are reminded that God calls everyone to a vocation. God calls even children…even you. And your job right now is to be children. Your vocation, your job, is to remind grown-ups everywhere of the importance of being children, the importance of acting just like children. God wants us to be joyous and giggly and smiley and curious and never afraid of being children. But sometimes, grown-ups forget what they were like as children. Grown-ups get caught up in worldly things. Your job is to remind us all how to put the love and joy into Love thy neighbor as thyself. You are not just children, you are children of God.

So, behave yourselves! Behave just like the children of God that you are called to be! And thank you for sharing your vocation with us! Happy Labor Day!

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 letting me be a child.
Help me
to do my job
sharing Your love
sharing Your joy
and keeping the grown-ups smiling.

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


for Sunday, July 8, 2012
6th Sunday after Pentecost
14th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Proper 9
Year B
lectionary focus: Mark 6:1-13
inspiration: Worshiping with Children
and Kid’s Talk portion of: mustard seeds
and Storypath regarding the book: Not the Piano, Mrs. Medley! by Evan Levine (Orchard Books, 1991)
(Bring out the) props: as you see fit.


Finally, I am going on a trip this week! We are able to go for only three days, but I’ve been packing all week so I will be ready and have everything I will need. I even got a new suitcase; I brought it today. Want to see what’s inside? See what all I’m taking?

First: I’ve got my book that I’m reading. But I’m near the end so I have another book in case I finish this first one. And then I put in another book, in case I don’t like the second one. Some jeans and my bathing suit and my big poofy jacket…just in case it gets cold. And my Darth Vadar helmet. And this box of Kleenex. And since I like to cook, I’ve got my spatula and of course, my toaster. And this hammer in case something breaks. And a raincoat. And a squeegee. And this paddle ball. And this remote control.

Wait. Why are y’all laughing?
You think I’ve got too much stuff? But won’t I need all of this stuff? What if I don’t have it and then I need it?

Yes, you are right. I am glad to hear that you understand how to pack for a trip.

In our Bible story today, Jesus sends the disciples out to spread God’s love, and He tells the disciples how to pack. He tells them “to take nothing” except a walking stick, the shoes on their feet, and the clothes they are wearing. No bag, no money, no food, no extra clothes, no iPhone, no xBox, no toaster, no remote control.

But wait. Wouldn’t the disciples need a car to share God’s love?
Surely, we have to have a car to do that today?
Or maybe the disciples needed a phone? Do we?
I wonder what Things we need to share God’s love?

That’s right! There are no Things we need to share God’s love. Because God’s love is not a Thing! We–us–and what we do is how we share God’s love. We don’t have to worry about getting everyTHING packed or worry if we have everyTHING ready…because we and what we do is how we share God’s love. With our hearts full of God’s love, we don’t need to be packed. With God in our hearts, we are always ready to share His 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 packing my heart
with Your love.
I am ready
to share Your love.

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

Are We There Yet?

for Sunday, June 24, 2012
4th Sunday after Pentecost
12th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Proper 7
lectionary focus: 2 Corinthians 6:1-13 (specifically 6:2b) “See, now is the acceptable time…”

Good morning!
Happy Summer!

We’ve had a few weeks out of school and we are in the midst of vacation season! That makes me think of my favorite vacation spot: Zion National Park in Utah. One summer, my family was camping around the American West. While we were at Zion, we went on a hike in the Virgin River. We hiked IN the river. Here are some pictures, but let me tell you about it. We hiked a short way to the river and then we just stepped into the river…because the river becomes the trail. It becomes the trail because the river is in a canyon: it is about as wide as the church and the sides as tall as our church walls and the colors all orange and red and yellow. The river water wasn’t very deep–a few inches and sometimes up to our knees–and we kept our shoes on to protect our feet. The water was cold, but the weather was so hot that it felt good. There were other people hiking, but it wasn’t crowded.

Ahead of us was a man and woman who were not dressed like typical hikers. He had on business clothes with his long-sleeve white shirt rolled up to his elbows and his business pants rolled up to his knees. The woman was wearing the traditional dress of India called a sari; it was like a beautiful scarf wrapped around her body, all bright yellow with gold stitching. These were not typical hiking clothes. At one point we caught up with them and the man looked at us and asked, “How much further?” The three in my family looked at each other and said, “We don’t know.” So then the man said, “Are we there yet?” And the three of us looked at each other again, and then looked at the beautiful rocks and the beautiful canyon walls and the beautiful water and the beautiful sky, and then we looked at the man and woman and said, “Yes, we are there.”

So many times, especially in summer, we are trying to get somewhere: going on vacation, going through the week, going here, going there. But really, each day that we get up, each day that we rejoice in the Lord, we are there. Because when you are with God, you are there. Our Bible story today tells us, “Now is the time.” Our life with God is not something that starts later, it is now, each day, because with God, we are already there. So when you find yourself looking ahead to see if you are there yet, remember: you are there with God already.

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 being here with me.
Help me
to be there with You.

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

Why Did You Bring Us Out of Egypt?

15th Sunday after Pentecost Year A
26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Proper 21
for Sunday, September 25, 2011
lectionary focus: Exodus 17:1-7
(Note: The hardest part for the children to understand may be boredom on a car-trip. I wonder…)

Once upon a time when I was about your age, my family went on vacation. We were so excited! We were going to see cool things and do cool things and be free from the routine of home and school and work. We packed up the car with a tent, and food, and games, and we headed out to adventure. But the adventure was kind of a far drive away. And after awhile, it was hot. We were hungry. We were thirsty. We were bored. Are we there yet? We got whiney. She’s touching me! Ugh! Is this what vacation is? We were not happy.

But wait. Mom and Dad pointed out that as hot as we were, as hungry, and thirsty, and squished in the car…we were on vacation! Of course we had enough food and drinks and space. And what’s more, we were on an adventure, a journey to explore and discover and see and do all sorts of new and different and cool things. And yes, we did.  We had lots of fun! It was a great trip. After we remembered that we were on vacation.

In our Bible story today, Moses and the people of Israel are camping. God had Moses lead His people out of Egypt, out of slavery, and into freedom! Oh, the people were happy; they were dancing; they were singing. But going to the promised land was kind of a long trip. And after awhile, it was hot. They were hungry. They were thirsty. They were bored. Are we there yet? They got whiney. Why did you pull us out of slavery for this?

But wait. No matter how hot or hungry or thirsty or lost in the wilderness they felt, they were free! No longer were they being bossed around by Egyptian masters. God had provided them with a great journey, a great adventure, to explore and discover and build and be the nation of HIs people. And of course, God provided them with enough food and water and space. God takes care of the big things and the little things that we need. God had Moses tell the people: I will be standing there in front of you.  And the people of Israel remembered that they were free and God was among them.

Sometimes in life we can get lost in the yucky stuff. We can start feeling hot, and tired, and bored, and get whiney. It is easy to do. But we must remember the important thing: that even in those times, God is with you. God loves you. God takes care of the big and little things we need because He loves us. We are on a great adventure. God gives us all sorts of new and different and cool things to do and He is with us all the way!

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 adventures.

Thank You for freedom.

Thank You for always being with us.

Help me

to enjoy the adventure!


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