Scripture Focus: Matthew 4:12-23
In Worship Children’s Time:
Good morning! Do you remember that word we have used in worship/Sunday school for the season of the church year we are in? Epiphany! It’s winter outside and in the church year we are talking about Jesus bringing light to the world. There was a verse read today in our Gospel from Matthew it said, “16the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.” (or The Message says People sitting out their lives in the dark saw a huge light; Sitting in that dark, dark country of death, they watched the sun come up)
Have you ever SAT in darkness? Or been in complete dark? Maybe camping or going down in a basement? Let’s try something, everyone kind of cover your eyes. Are you sitting in darkness? Ok, now peek through your fingers and what do you see—
Here shine a flashlight gently on their hands so they can see the light peeking through.
Yeah, you see light coming through! Ok, now uncover your eyes. Have you ever used a flashlight? How did it help you? We know that Jesus is like a light because he promises to be with us no matter if it’s dark or if we feel scared or lonely. Jesus promises to love us and always be with us. And in our Gospel story he even starts asking people to come and follow him and learn about being a light and sharing God’s love with others. So we have been given the light of Jesus and asked to follow him telling others of his love.
If you have time and are brave you can hand out a flashlight to each child and ask them to turn it on while you pray or ask them to go around in a circle, each praying for someone who might need Jesus Love today.
Pray: God thank you for Jesus and for promising to love us always. Send your love to all throughout the world today and help us to remember your love for us. Amen
Children’s Worship during Sermon:
Gather—Good morning! Do you remember that word we have used in worship, Epiphany? It’s the season of the church that we are in. So it’s winter outside, but in the church year we are celebrating light and how Jesus came into darkness.
Our gospel reading today is from Matthew. I want to read a verse and then let’s try an experiment.
Story Experience: Read Matthew 4:16 16the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.” (or The Message says People sitting out their lives in the dark saw a huge light; Sitting in that dark, dark country of death, they watched the sun come up)
Did hear that? They SAT in darkness. Hmmm, do you think we could try that? Let’s turn off the lights and close your eyes if you want to and let’s see how it feels to sit in darkness. (Careful with little ones not to scare them. Depending on your room you may not want it completely dark). Keep talking—oh my it’s interesting in the dark. Anyone hear something they didn’t hear before? How does it feel to be in the dark?
Turn on a flashlight, the brighter the better. How does this light look in the darkness? Have you ever been camping or someplace where you needed a flashlight? How did it help you? What else can you use flashlights for (finding something, when electricity goes out, etc)
Jesus in our gospel is telling us how he is a light when we feel like we are alone or in the dark or sad. Have you ever felt that way? How can you see the light of Jesus when you feel that way? Talk about this idea further, building on their responses. Remind them that the promise of Jesus for the whole world is that he will always be with us, even when it’s dark and we aren’t sure he is there, he is holding us and loving us.
Activity: We have lights
Hand out small flashlights to the kids. Depending on numbers they may need to share or take turns. If you have a lot of kids, put them in small groups first, sitting in a circle so they can pass the light around. Depending on your time/number of kids you can have them play a little with the flashlights on the wall or carpet, etc.
Pray: We are going to pray with our lights today. Sit in a circle. Have everyone turn off their flashlights. Explain that each person can pray either for someone they know or for a part of the world or anything they want to pray for that might need to know, see, and feel Jesus’ love today. When it’s your turn you will turn on your light and say your prayer. By the time we get around the circle we will all have prayer lights on. If you don’t want to say anything and just turn on your light, that works too.
**modification if you don’t have enough flashlights, kids can pray in partners or you can simply pass one flashlight around or if sharing lights then simply turn it off and back on with the next person.
Materials: Bible, flashlights—several, best one per child, one large flashlight for leader.