This week texts are full of images of inside and outside that may be difficult for children (and adults for that matter!) to pick up on. Spend some time focusing on how Christ came with an openness that extends past all the boundaries we put up knowingly and unknowingly.
Faith+Open: Gather the children at the front with you. Ask them not to sit but to stand and make a circle. Stand in the middle of the circle. Ask the kids to put one foot in the circle and show how they are on the inside of the circle. Ask, who is on the outside of this circle? (answers like others in the congregation, etc)
Faith+Share: We will hear from a prophet today--Isaiah. Isaiah is a prophet who wanted the people of God to understand that how they lived with others mattered to God. Isaiah talks about some people who were difficult for the others to welcome in or get along with or understand. They were people that most others would not want to let into the inside of this circle. They wanted God to be just for them. Can you think of people who might be hard for you to get along with or people that would be hard to welcome? Yeah, that is a reality of life we don't always let people in the inside of our lives or even the inside of groups that we belong to. Where do you think Jesus is in the circle? (get answers) I was once told by a wise person that whenever we make a circle around Jesus, trying to keep Jesus in one place with us--Jesus moves to the outside of the circle (move to the outside of the circle). Jesus wants everyone to know God's love and does not stay inside one little place or with one group of people. Jesus' love opens up the circle. (at this point pick a place at the top of the circle, have the two ends open up to make a line and ask them to hold their arms out). Explain that now we have this open circle that will allow anyone in (even all those people out in the congregation, ha, ha).
Faith+Prayer: Let's all Pray together: Jesus, help us to open our circles and open our hearts. Be with us today and with all those who need to hear your voice of love. Amen
Faith+Blessing: Make the sign of the cross together: God in my head, God in my heart, God on my left, God on my right.
Extended ideas: I love this idea at Worshiping with Children. Click the link to see the explanation about having people collect prayers in baskets for those on the outside.
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