26 November 2023
Bible readings for today
throughout the generations
the prophets foretold the coming of the Messiah;
prepare us to receive him,
turn us from darkness to the glorious light that is your Son,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen.
The Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25:31-36)
Christ the King Sunday is marks the end of the lectionary year, and is a day where we celebrate Jesus as King
Sermon outline for adults
When you do it for the least of these...
Contributed by: Spanky Moore, Diocese of Christchurch, on the Anglican Youth Ministry website
Hell is a topic not many of us know much about, but one that also puts plenty of people off following Jesus altogether. What do Christians believe about hell and how should it impact the way we live our lives?
All age talk - a gift for God!
A quick visual talk to explore how we show our love for God by loving others.
Supplies: A bunch of flowers, a few boxes of cereal, a man's t-shirt
Tell the children: "Look, I went shopping and bought some things for God. I love God so much I really wanted to show Him that I love Him and not because it's His birthday but just because!
What do you think I got him?
Well, let me show you. Here is a bunch of flowers. I think these are just lovely, do you want to smell them? I would love to get given flowers like these and I know my Mum always likes to be given flowers. Did you want to have a closer look? What do you think God will think of these flowers? I hope He likes them.
Place them down and look again in your bag
What else did I decide to get God. Can you guess? Well, I love cereal. It's my favourite thing to eat in the morning and sometimes at other times of the day too! I couldn't decide on what flavour! Which one do you think He might like? Which is your favourite? Well, let's put them down here whilst I see what else I bought God.
Place them down and look again in your bag.
Oh that's right, the last thing I bought God was a shirt. What do you think of this? Do you enjoy getting clothes for your birthday? Do you ever get given clothes by your Mum or Dad simply because they saw it and thought you might like it? Do you think God would like this colour? I wonder if I got the right size?
Well, here are all my gifts to show God that I love Him. What do you think? Hmm...do you think God actually needs them? I mean the flowers are beautiful but He made all the flowers in the world. As for the cereal, I don't know if God eats cereal and I wonder if He really needs extra clothes to wear. Although it was really thoughtful of me to try and buy God some gifts I don't think he really needs these. He can see my heart, and He knows I love Him.
But there is another way I can show God I love Him. In today's story, the King tells the people that “Whenever you did it for any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for me.” (Matthew 25:40) That means that when we reach out to help other people or to give them gifts, even if they are strangers to us, God says it's like we are reaching out to help Him.
So I could still give God this shirt by giving it to someone else! Who might need this shirt? eg: homeless shelter, refugee families
And I could still give God these flowers by giving them to someone else! Who might need some flowers eg: people in hospital, people in rest homes
And I could even still give God this cereal by giving it to someone else...who might need some cereal? eg: local food bank
When we give these gifts to others, it's as if we're still giving them to God.
Pray to end: God we do love you and want to show you that. Help us to do a loving thing for....(allow children to fill the gap with people who may need love and help) and may they feel your love through us. Amen.
Rob the nest game
Topic: This game could help you introduce the topic of what it feels like to work with or against others or the topic of generosity.
Equipment: A hula-hoop per team and one for the center, 10-20 small objects/balls/bean-bags
Put one hula-hoop in the middle as the central nest, fill this with all the balls
Place the other hula-hoops/"nests" at equal distance away from the centre-hoop
Split group into teams of 3-5 people and have them stand around their "nest"
Explain to the children that their job is to be the team at the end with the most balls/"eggs" in their nest
On the count of 3 children are able (one at a time from their team) to raid the central nest and fill their team nest
Once the central-nest is emptied their job is to raid other groups and take their balls/"eggs" back to their home nest
Let the game "play" for a few minutes before blowing the whistle at which point all team members must return to their nests. Count up the balls and see which team has managed to rob the most.
Rob the Nest Reverse: As an alternative, start the game as normal with teams raiding the central nest but then have the children give the eggs to the other teams...still the team with the most eggs in their nest will be the winners at the end...the aim is to out-give others.
Possible debrief questions: How did it feel to have items taken from your team nest? How did you feel doing the robbing? Which version of the game did you enjoy the most? To the winning team...how did it feel to win even though you didn't you didn't fill your nest for yourself?
The sheep follow Jesus
Talk through being Jesus' sheep by blessing others and make/colour a sheep to remind us who we are.
Jesus separated the people into two groups in this story, like a shepherd separates the sheep into one group and the goats into another group. The group of “sheep” were congratulated, blessed and told that they would be part of God’s kingdom.
-- Why did Jesus say that to them? What had they done that Jesus was pleased with?
Jesus said, ”When I was hungry, you gave me something to eat, and when I was thirsty, you gave me something to drink. When I was a stranger, you welcomed me, and when I was naked, you gave me clothes to wear. When I was sick, you took care of me, and when I was in jail, you visited me.”
The “sheep” were confused and didn’t know what Jesus meant, maybe because they had never met Jesus or because certainly would have remembered helping Jesus and knew that they hadn’t.
Jesus told them that when they had helped people, it was the same as if they had helped him.
“Whenever you did it for any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for me.” Jesus told them.
-- Who did the “sheep” help? What kind of things did they do for them?
In a flock of sheep, the sheep follow their shepherd, they go wherever he goes, because they know that the shepherd will always take care them. Part of being in Jesus’ flock of sheep and following him is doing the things that Jesus does for us, e.g. taking care of the people around us who need help.
Choose one of the crafts below for the children to make their sheep:
A dramatisation of Matthew 25:31-26
Narrator: When Jesus comes as King with all the angels with him, He will sit on His royal throne and all the people of the earth will gather before him. Jesus will divide them into two groups and He will say to one group.
Jesus: Haere mai! You are blessed by my Father! Come and live in the kingdom that He has prepared for you since the beginning of time. Because when I was hungry, you fed me and when I was thirsty, you gave me a drink. When I was a stranger, you made me welcome, and when I was cold, you gave me clothes. When I was sick and you took care of me and when I was in prison and you visited me.
Narrator: These people will say
First group: When Lord did we ever see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? When were you a stranger and we made you welcome or cold and we gave you clothes? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
Narrator: And Jesus the King will reply
Jesus: Whenever you did this for anyone, even the least important person, you did it for me!
(Depending on your audience, you may want to add the second part of the story)
Narrator: Jesus turned to the second group of people and said
Jesus: Go away from me! You are worthless and deserve only hell. When I was hungry or thirsty, you gave me nothing. I was homeless, cold and alone, you did nothing to help. When I was sick or in prison, you never visited or cared for me.
2nd Group: Master what do you mean? When did we ever see You hungry or thirsty? When were You homeless, cold or alone? When were You ever sick or in prison?
Jesus: The fact is whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored; you failed to do it to me.
Narrator: So Jesus sent them away and He invited the first group into heaven to celebrate with Him for ever.
Happy and sad prayers
Use this prayer to help children begin to think about their happiness and the happiness of those around them.
Supplies: A large face that looks happy one way and sad the other way up.
Show the happy face first and ask what people or events have made the children happy during the last week and make a list of them.
Pray about the list or say a one-line thank you prayer for each one.
Then turn the face upside down and ask if anything sad or worrying has happened to them or others they know in the past week and make a list of them too. Perhaps there are people who are ill who need praying for. Pray for this list.
Finish by thanking God that he always knows how we feel, whether we are happy or sad, and thanking him for being just as close to us in the good times as in the bad. Ask God to help us see how we can help people who may be feeling sad this week.
For the least of these
Activity Sourced from here
Retell the parable of the sheep and the goats using pictures and props to act out taking care of others.
Have cutouts of the following people with the face of Jesus, make another face to cover the face of Jesus. Stick these figures to the wall, with the faces covering Jesus face so that their face can be flipped up to reveal Jesus’ face.
Faces PDF: Faces
Figures: Figures Page 1 and Figures Page 2 (you can enlarge all of these to put on the wall, 11 x 17 works good)
Person 1: Someone who is hungry
Person 2: Someone who is thirsty
Person 3: Someone who is homeless
Person 4: Someone who looks cold
Person 5: Someone who is sick
Person 6. Someone who is in prison
You will also need cutouts of food, drink, a house, clothing, get-well cards, cards that say “I am praying for you”, a cutout of a bible, card that says “you are not alone” and “you matter” – these things can be stuck to the hands or on the same sheet as the appropriate person.
Re-tell the story as follows
So Jesus says that if we help people who are in need, it is like helping him.
So if we come to someone like this (come to person 1). This person is very hungry. We can ignore him. But Jesus says that we show our love for him when we care about the things he cares about. He cares that this person is hungry. So when we give him food (have a few of the children put food in his hand) it is like we are giving the food to Jesus (flip up the face of the man so they can see Jesus’ face)
Say the same sort of thing for each person below, adding the following props to the pictures with explanations of how these things show kindness…
This satire video has a catchy song about the difference between goats and sheep. Its all kinds of crazy, and not about our bible passage at all, but you'll be singing in for a long time!
Source: Russell Ricker
Christ the King
Some of these ideas were taken from last year's Christ the King reflections. On that day, the lectionary reading also included a passage from Jeremiah about God being the Righteous Shepherd, which would tie in well with the Matthew passage above, about sheep and goats.
What do you think of royalty?
When you think of royalty, of kings and queens, what comes to mind? We asked this in our church service, and sharing ideas and feedback from all ages. It was fascinating how negative the conversation was, sharing views of 'a redundant monarchy', to 'colonialism', to 'rich and opulent'.
The next question we asked was: What about Jesus being a king? The Bible uses many words to describe Jesus, but one of them is a king. King of Kings, Lord of Lords. Prince of Peace. With those reflections in mind, how do we feel with Jesus being a king? And what about our identities as sons and daughters of a king?
Christ the King!
What you need: Crown (cardboard and foil) (you can use real crown or pictures of a crown)
What you do: Show the crown and say something like, “What is this?” That’s right, it’s a crown. Do you know who gets to wear crowns like this? (Allow different answers). Those people are called royalty- kings and queens and princes and princesses. We have a queen. What’s her name? (Allow answer). What do you think queens and kings do? (allow answers). Those are good answers.
Today is Christ the King Sunday. That means it’s the day when we think about Jesus being our king. Kings and queens are rulers, they help govern and lead their people. Jesus is a king because he’s our ruler. He doesn’t live in a palace or meet with other important leaders in the world. But like King Charles, he was born into a lineage that was destined to rule. The thing is, even though he’s a king, we have to choose to let him be our king. He wants us to let him be the ruler in our lives. It’s easy to want to do things our way and to be our own boss, but Jesus doesn’t want to boss us around. He’s not that kind of king. Instead Jesus wants us to let him gently lead us into doing good things, loving others and asking him for help. He wants us to choose to let him be king and help govern our lives.
Christ the King Drama
What you need:
Pilate: “Are you the king of the Jews?”
Jesus: “Is that your own question, or did others tell you about me?”
Pilate: “I am not a Jew. It was your own people and their leading priests who brought you before me. What have you done wrong?”
Jesus: “My kingdom does not belong to this world. If it belonged to this world, my servants would have fought to keep me from being given over to the Jewish leaders. But my kingdom is from another place.”
Pilate: “So you are a king!”
Jesus: “You say that I am a king. That is true. I was born for this: to tell people about the truth. That is why I came into the world. And everyone who belongs to the truth listens to me.
Make a pretzel crown of thorns, covered in chocolate. Instructions here
I wonder questions
A servant king
If you have a moment, google 'Jesus king' on Google images and see what pictures come up. Probably lot of revelation type images with Jesus on a throne, many angels around him, a crown resembling something from the Tower of London, and a lot of sun rays.
In juxtaposition, Jesus is described as a servant king. A king who comes to serve and to save the lost. This king is humble, loving, lays down his power and authority. This kingdom is about kinship, about love.
This upbeat kids worship song, 'Jesus is the King', gives a special shout out to New Zealand!
The Sheep (Ezekiel 34:11-16,20-24)
As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so I will look after my sheep. Ezekiel 34:12
Paper plate sheep
Here are some sheep crafts that you could make to help create a memory of the story
Preparing for Advent
Advent begins next Sunday, the countdown (and time of anticipation) to Christmas.
Our Advent and Christmas ideas (Strandz)
Advent at home
Basic Advent wreaths have 5 candles; 1 for each week of Advent and then a white candle for Jesus which we light on Christmas Day (or Christmas Eve). Traditionally the four candles are purple. Sometimes the Joy candle is pink, but you can make each candle any colour. The four candles represent Hope, Peace, Joy, Love.
What you need: A base for the candles- a wreath pre-made, a Styrofoam ring with can be decorated, 5 candlestick holders or…
What you do: Create your Advent wreath using whatever materials you have. You won’t light it until next week, but you can work together to make it beautiful.
Stir up Sunday
Stir up Sunday is traditionally done on the Sunday before Advent begins, in the Anglican Church. Used to be the Sunday when families would take a turn to stir whilst making the pudding for Christmas (before people started buying readymade ones!)
You could always make these mini christmas cakes