Faith + Open: As children come forward, randomly put them into two distinct groups preferably (depending on your space) with some separation between them. Make sure that no one migrates and make it clear that this is where they need to be. Don’t have them sit down.
Faith + Share: Take one group (this will be group 1 for reference) of the children and say “Ok you are with me. Let’s go over here for a little bit and talk.” Lead them away (maybe down one of the side aisles towards the back of the worship space) and don’t even acknowledge the other group( group 2 for reference). Begin talking to your group in hushed tones occasionally looking at and pointing to the other group still up front. Do this for only a minute to two. Then bring the groups back together.
Say to group 2: “How did it feel to be left up here alone not knowing what was going on? (Accept all answers) Did you wonder why you didn’t get to go with the other group? Did you wonder if you were different or had done something not quite right?” (Accept all answers) Turn to group 1: “How did you feel to go with me? Like the “in” crowd or like you were special for some reason?
Well in our story this morning there were two groups of people- the disciples who were with Jesus and another group who weren’t directly with Jesus but were helping people in Jesus’ name. The disciples thought that the other people were too different and shouldn’t be allowed to talk about Jesus. But Jesus tells the disciples that anyone who tells people about him ARE part of his group! Anyone who loves Jesus, tells people about Jesus, and helps people in Jesus’ name are important to Jesus and Jesus includes or welcomes anyone who believes! Pretty neat! Jesus tells the disciples “to have piece with each other” and this means to not worry about someone who is a bit different from themselves but welcome into God’s family!
We have a part of our worship service where we do this: it is called the “passing of the peace.” We do this because Jesus wants us to welcome everyone and so we shake hands or give a hug to let everyone here know that they are wanted and welcome here! So when we say “peace be with you” we are really saying “God’s peace and we are so glad you are here!”
How else can we let people know that we are glad that they are with us not just in worship on a Sunday morning but in our lives as well?
Faith + Blessing: Today when we pass the peace I want all of us to say that to each other, “God’s peace and I am so glad that you are here!”
Faith + Close: Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank you for loving everyone. We want everyone to feel you love for them, help us to welcome everyone we meet for you. We all belong to you and we are so thankful! Amen
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