Liturgies and “sermons” for children

The Parable of the Sower (or God’s wild abandon)

 

I ask the children to come forward. Toss some glitter into the air so that it lands on everyone. Ask if they all got some. Ask if I was careful how I threw it (hopefully they will say I wasn’t). Did I try to make it land on the eldest, or the cleverest or the one who was the best behaved? (Again, hopefully they will say I didn’t.)

Wonder aloud how long it will take to come off. Suggest that they will sparkle all day – just a tiny bit of glitter will catch the light. Tell them that whenever someone sees the glitter it will make them smile.

Tell them that God’s love is like that. God throws love at everyone – the good and the bad, the clever and the not so clever, the old and the young. If we know that God loves us, we will love ourselves and everyone else in the world. Just like our tiny sparkles of glitter make people smile, our love will make other people feel loved and God’s love will grow and grow and grow until the whole world is filled with love.

Easter Liturgy for Children – 2007

Marian Free

(Gather outside the church)
We are going to go on a journey to discover what we can about Jesus’ last week—most of which was in a big city called Jerusalem. I’m going to need your help to tell the story. Are you ready? Are you ready? OK!  Let’s go! Say after me –
We’re going to Jerusalem.
Jesus is coming.
Hosanna! Hosanna!
We’re not scared.

(At the south door)
When Jesus came to Jerusalem, he rode a donkey through the town so every one could see him. People were so excited that they waved branches and put clothes on the ground in front of him. Are you ready? Are you ready? OK! Take a branch and let’s go!
We’re going to Jerusalem.
Jesus is here.
Hosanna! Hosanna!
We’re not scared.

(Move to Chancel)                                                                                                                                                                                                 Jesus stayed near Jerusalem. One day he went to the Temple. Everyone was busy selling things or buying things – birds and sheep – in church! It was like a market not a church. Jesus was so cross he tipped the tables over! Everyone was running – the animals were frightened, there was money all over the floor! Let’s go! Are you ready? Are you ready? OK! Let’s go!
We’re going to the temple.
Jesus is here.
Jesus is angry.
We’re not scared.

(Move to north door)
Another night, Jesus had dinner with his friends. It was a special dinner to remember what God had done for God’s people. At the dinner they eat bread  and  drink wine to remember how the people had suffered in Egypt.

Jesus said that the bread was him—his body was going to be broken. He said the wine was like his blood—he was going to be bleeding. (He was telling his friends that he was going to be killed, but his friends didn’t understand.) Jesus said to remember him when we eat bread and drink wine. Let’s do that now and remember Jesus.
(Share bread and grape juice)*

After dinner, Jesus went into a garden to prayer. Are you ready? Are you ready? OK! Let’s go!


We’re going to a garden.
Jesus is praying.
Shuuuush! Shuuuush!
We’re not scared.

(Move to prayer garden – or suitable outside space)                                                                                                                              When Jesus was praying, some people came with swords to take him away. His friends were not very brave – they ran away. Let’s go. Are you ready? Are you ready? Let’s go!
In the garden with Jesus.
Soldiers are coming.
They have swords and clubs.
Run! Run and hide!


(Run into church and hide in front pews)
All Jesus’ friends ran away to hide. Jesus was taken away by the soldiers. Even though he had done nothing wrong, they wanted to kill him.
Jesus is in trouble.
They want to kill him.
Crucify him! Crucify him!
Now we are scared.
(Move to cross)
In those days they nailed people on to a cross.  It was very painful. They nailed Jesus to a cross. (Let children hammer nail into cross.)
Jesus is in BIG trouble.
They nail him to a cross.
Hammer. Hammer.
We’re so sad.


(Sit to the side of the Chancel)
After three hours on the cross, Jesus died. His friends took him and buried him in a cave. Are you ready? Are you ready? OK! Let’s go!
We’re going to see Jesus.
They put him in a tomb.
Sniffle. Sniffle.
We’re so sad.

(Cover the children with a black cloth)
Jesus stayed in the tomb for three days. On Sunday, the women who were his friends came to put oil on his body. (Pull the cloth off) But Jesus wasn’t there. The tomb was empty! Jesus was alive! Jesus was alive!
Are you ready? Are you ready? OK! Let’s go!

(Blowing whistles, move around the altar)
We’re going to see Jesus!
Jesus is alive!
Jesus is with us!
It’s awesome! It’s awesome.

We are going to see Jesus!
Jesus is alive!
Jesus lives in us!
It’s awesome! It’s awesome!*

We know that Jesus is alive because we feel his presence with us. We see what Jesus can do. We give thanks to God, because Jesus is alive.

Let’s say a prayer:

Loving God,
We thank you for sending Jesus to us.
We thank you for what we can learn from Jesus.
Help us to know Jesus and to know that you love us. Amen.

* A translation for “Hosanna”.

Copyright: Marian Free 2007.
If you would like to use this service, please identify the author. Thank you.
For further information: marianfree@gmail.com

Notes

The idea for this liturgy was to cover the events of Easter week in a short accessible way. Because the children were young a lot of movement was built in and the repetition of the chorus.

At Toowong, we were able to gather in the Parish Centre and move up to the church.

Palm Sunday: The palms were at the door for the children to wave.
Overturning the tables: A card table with some money and empty cages was thrown over by an older child.
Last Supper: The children sat outside the church to eat bread and drink juice.
Garden: An older child with a sword appeared as the cue for us to run into the church.
Cross: Toowong had a large cross with holes drilled in it. The children hammered nails into the holes.*
Tomb: Several metres of black cloth were draped over the children.*
Easter: We had bubbles as well as the whistles to indicate the joy of Easter.

* Children did not have to participate in these tasks, though in our case adults sat under the cloth which made it less threatening.

Epiphany Service
for Families 2008

Marian Free

Notes: It is intended that the children are on the move – givng some sort of sense of journey. At various points around the room/church or other venue, there should be “stations” at which the children might make or pick up a symbol which relates to the theme – maps, gifts etc. The final stop is the Nativity Scene where the children might leave their gifts. (A powerful experience on the first occasion this liturgy was used, was that the children left ALL their collected treasures for Jesus.)

You will need: Stars to hang in the space. Extra stars and sticks, sticky-tape, small rolls of paper (scrolls) tied with string or ribbon, pieces of paper and pencils to create “maps”, “crowns” made from paper or cardboard, cardboard hearts, chocolate coins (best bought before Christmas) and a Nativity Scene. Glue, glitter, sequins whatever you think would be suitable for decorating crowns, stars etc. You might also like to give each child a bag to carry their luggage and to have some frankincense and myrhh. 

(Hang stars around room)
Presents to give to Jesus – love, kindness…
Begin at Function Room Door

A very long time ago a new star appeared in the sky.
Some people who were wise saw the star and wondered what it meant. (Children decorate a star and attach it to a stick. They carry the star before them as they move to the next station as the leader readers the verse.)

 The star shone.
The magi scratched their heads
They opened their books
They wrapped their presents
They packed their bags
and they set off in search of a king.

They travelled many days and many nights. They crossed rivers and mountains and deserts. (Children take a “scroll” from this station.)

The star shone.
The magi scratched their heads
They opened their books
They wrapped their presents
They packed their bags
and they set off in search of a king.

Day after day they travelled, always following the star, not sure where it would take them. (At this station the children draw a “map” to add to their luggage.)

The star shone.
The magi scratched their heads
They opened their books
They wrapped their presents
They packed their bags
and they set off in search of a king.

They came to Jerusalem. A king would be in a palace they thought. (Here the children decorate a crown to wear.)

 The star shone.
The magi scratched their heads
They opened their books
They wrapped their presents
They packed their bags
and they set off in search of a king.

They went to the palace and asked the king: “Where is the new king going to be born?” The king called his priests and wise men. (The children colour in a “heart” to give to Jesus.)

The star shone.
The wise men scratched their heads
They opened their books
“In Bethlehem they said,
the new king will be there.

The king said: Tell me when you find him. I will take him a present too. (The children take some chocolate coins from a bowl to give to Jesus.)

The star shone.
They magi scratched their heads
They opened their books
They wrapped their presents
They packed their bags
and they set off in search of a king.

In Bethlehem, the star shone over a stable. The magi went in and gave their gifts to the baby. (The children give their hearts and some of the chocolate coins to Jesus).

The star shone.
The magi scratched their heads
They opened their books
They wrapped their presents
They packed their bags
and they set off to find a king.

In the night an angel said, do not go back to the old king.

The star shone.
The magi scratched their heads
They opened their books
They left their presents
They packed their bags
and went home.
They had found their king.

We know that king, the king is Jesus. We give him presents

The star still shines.
We scratch our heads
We read our books
We take our presents
and live our lives in search for our king.

Copyright: Marian Free 2008

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