17 March 2024
Bible readings for today
Liturgical colour: VIOLET
E te Atua kaha rawa mutunga kore,
kua honoa e koe hei toto kotahi ngā iwi o te ao kia noho tahi i runga i te rangimārie me te whakaaro tahi;
meatia kia tutuki tēnei whakaaro mō ngā iwi katoa i raro i te ture māhaki a te Karaiti; ko Īhu Karaiti tō mātou Ariki. Āmine.
Almighty and eternal God,
you have made of one blood all the nations of the earth
and will that they live together in peace and harmony;
so order the course of this world that all peoples
may be brought together under Christ’s most gentle rule;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Putting God First (John 12:20-33)
The theme of today's gospel passage is 'putting God first'
Have you ever had to give something up that you didn’t want to? Well in today’s story, Jesus talked about what he was going to give up at Easter. Can anyone tell me what happened to Jesus at Easter? (pause for answers) That’s right, Jesus was put to death on the cross, and on the third day, he rose again.
Well, today’s story happened before any of that even happened. That means that Jesus knew that he was going to die even before it actually occurred!!
Can you think about how you would feel if you knew you would have to give up something that you love, maybe your bike or computer. How would that make you feel? (pause) Now, think about if you knew that by giving up something you love, it would help lots of other people. Would that change how you’d feel about it? (pause)
Well, Jesus knew what was going to happen, and we know from the story that he was even a bit scared about it. But, the amazing thing is that he knew that it was for the right reasons and that there would be a lot of good things that could only happen if he did what God wanted him to. Do you know what that good news was? (pause) Well, through Jesus dying on the cross we are able to be children of God.
The PursueGod.org website has a video here, about putting God first as a kid, presented by a young boy who carries out the lollies experiment described in the transcript below:
"So, if you really want to survive – no, if you want to win at being a kid – it takes knowing and doing the basics. If you want to survive as a kid, you’ll need to set some priorities in your life. And God should be at the top of your list. Even as kids, we can make God a priority.
Kids Basic #1 = Put God __________
We’re all busy with things like school and homework, maybe a few chores. We don’t have a whole lot of free time left. But, instead of just playing video games, sports, or hanging out with friends, we should also find time to spend with God.
Think of it this way. Imagine that your life is a bowl. You also have a lot of sweets like a huge candy bar, Swedish fish (medium size candies), and a whole bunch of skittles (little candies). Do you think all of that candy can fit in the bowl? Well, it depends on the order. If we put the big things in first, everything will fit right! Big things first. Then the little things. What that means is we should focus on the important stuff, first, and let the other things fill in where time is left. What could be bigger than God? So how can you make God more of a priority in your life?"
Clay crosses pendants
What you need
Air hardening clay (available from The Warehouse in the craft section), beads and sequins to decorate, string/ribbon/cord to wear the pendant on, plastic plates and kebab skewers.
Try making a few examples for the children to see.
What to do
Give each child a small piece of clay and get them to mould it into a cross shape. Make sure they don’t make it too thin as it will be more likely to break when it is worn.
Decorate with sequins and beads by pushing then into the clay. (If they fall out when it dries, they can be glued back in.)
Using a kebab stick, make a hole in the top of the cross for the string/ribbon/ or cord.
Measure a length of the cord that can fit over your head.
Put the cross and the cord on a plastic plate for easy transporting home. (It will take a couple of days to dry completely.)
When the cross is dry, thread the cord through and tie a knot at the end. Now its ready to wear!
Variations: If you don’t want to use air hardening clay, you could do the same activity with salt dough and add colour to it. Just remember with salt dough that you probably shouldn’t use beads or sequins to decorate if you are going to cook it in the over!! For a recipe, see this website
Seven minute sermon
A seven minute sermon on Psalm 119 from Rev. George Penk, from LifeFM. "King David said that God’s word was a lamp for his feet and a light on his path. There are always new insights to be gained from studying the Bible." Find out more here
Sons of Korah