25 June 2023
Bible readings for today
Liturgical Colour: GREEN
Holy God, grant us the beginning of wisdom
and love to cast out every fear:
that we may grow more brave,
more ready to hear,
more ready to obey;
through Jesus Christ our Redeemer.
E te Atua Tapu, hōmai ki a mātou tōu māramatanga
me tōu aroha kia wetekina atu te mataku;
kia tupu ake, kia māia ake,
ki te āta rongo,
ki te āta ngāwari hoki;
Ko Īhu Karaiti tō mātou Kaihoko.
Do not be afraid (Matthew 10:24-39)
Jesus tells us not to worry, and to trust that Jesus is with us every day.
A print from Rev. Sarah West, from Visio Lectio, shared with permission.
Download w/ background
Jesus words are both a challenge and a huge encouragement
Some questions to consider:
Preparation: Seek out one or two people from the congregation that have been Christians for a while and invite them to come to your children’s ministry for the morning to share what it has been like for them to be Christians. You may also like to have some questions written on bits of paper, and a gift for the guests as well as a card.
What to do: Get the children to sit in a circle and include the guests in that circle. Explain that today you have two special guests who have come to share about what it is like for them to be Christians.
Introduce briefly the guests and include a couple of ‘interesting’ facts eg. The colour of their toothbrush, the name of a favourite pet, etc.
Then, tell the children that going around the circle, each child will get the chance to ask a question of the guests. If they don’t know what to ask, get them to pick one out of the middle.
If this works well, then end there. If it goes quickly for whatever reason, then invite the guests to share a little bit themselves.
The key with this is to try and keep the children interested. So try getting the guests to talk about what they were like at school, if they ever did anything naughty at church, what they thought of church when they were young, why they believe in Jesus, etc.
This prayer resource was put together by Teri Johnson-Frow, from Johnsonville Anglicans, for their Ascension Sunday children's ministry. You could also use this prayer idea as you consider how we 'journey with Jesus.' She says:
This term we have been on a journey with the disciples, of knowing Jesus in a new way. This week we farewelled Jesus from his post-resurrection earthly ministry, when he returned to be with his Father.
If we are followers of Jesus then we are always on a journey – a journey of following Jesus, of growing and changing in relationship with him, of being transformed individually and as a community.
This week in kids church we explored the idea of journey using prayer labyrinths.
Most kids, and many adults, struggle to pray while sitting still and doing ‘nothing’. It can be easier to focus if fingers or bodies are engaged with something. Just think about the latest fidget spinner craze! Visual, kinetic and tactile forms of prayer (like labyrinths) can really help kids connect with God.
Walking a labyrinth (or using a finger labyrinth) is also a great way to slow down from our busy lives and pay attention to God’s presence with us.
If you or your kids are interested you might like to check out some larger outside labyrinths. There is a walking labyrinth at The Terrace Centre which is part of the Johnsonville Uniting Church on Dr Taylor Tce, Wellington. There is also one at Hutt Hospital. Both are free and open to the public.
Try making your own finger labyrinths out of lego, cord, or clay. Or here are some easy printable ones http://flamecreativekids.blogspot.co.nz/…/finger-labyrinths…
We also have some finger labyrinths at kids church you are welcome to borrow and try out.
Labyrinths have been used by Christians as a spiritual practice for many centuries. They were originally used as a symbolic alternative to pilgrimage when the physical journey could not be undertaken. There is nothing mystical, magical or inherently transformative about labyrinths – they are simply a visual, tactile, and kinetic way of praying – much like taking a long walk, lighting a candle, writing in a journal, holding a cross or prayer beads, or many of the other tools we use to help ourselves notice God’s presence with us.
May you be aware of God’s presence with you and your family this week
This Gospel passage is full of what are sometimes called "hard sayings" of Jesus, and yet it is also full of reassurances to not be afraid. How do we make sense of this challenging yet promise-laden set of instructions from Jesus to his brand-new disciples? Alec, Andrew and Anne join Michael to see if it's possible!
Do not worry, Rain for Roots
A beautiful, simple song on Youtube by Rain for Roots.
This could be played in the background, taught to the children or used during a prayer time.
Invite someone to come and talk to the children about what it is like to follow Jesus. You could choose a few different people, with different jobs, ages, and life stories.
Game - find the sparrows!
What you need: lots of the sparrows provided in the template, blue tack, cd/tape player and background music
Preparation: Hide all the sparrows around the room using the blue tack to attach them.
What to do: Tell the children that you are going to play some music, and that while it is playing they need to dance around to the music. When ever it stops, they need to try and find a sparrow. (Just one per child). Once they have all found one, the music will start again. Do this for a few rounds. Encourage the children to help others who are having trouble finding the sparrows.
Helping those who worry
Kids Can, a NZ charity, share that 254,000 children are growing up in hardship in New Zealand.
While our passage reminds us to trust God in all things and not to worry about our day to day needs, a quarter of our kiwi kids do not have the basics.
Your church might have missional programmes in place, or charities/organisations that you support -- but perhaps today is a good day to ask the children how they can best share God's love with those who worry.
Some questions to ask:
The worries of Aotearoa New Zealand
You can read the Salvation Army's State of the Nation 2023 report for more information about how we measuring up nationally, as we care for the last, lost and least.
Do not worry video
This story is from Jesus teaching's on the sermon on the mount. He reminds us to not worry about anything because our heavenly father will take care of us like he takes care of the birds and the lilies. Although this video is from Matthew 625-34, it supports the teaching aim of today.
Hagar and Ishmael are sent away (Genesis 21:8-21)
"Our journey with Abraham, Sarah, and now Isaac, takes a dark turn as Hagar, the enslaved mother of Abraham’s son Ishmael, is cast out into the wilderness with Ishmael. From a joyous promise of blessing, a surprising birth and a celebration of Isaac’s growing healthily, there is now jealousy, casting out and a threat to the very lives of Hagar and Ishmael. At the point of greatest need, Ishmael cries out and God responds with the words “Don’t be afraid”, a promise of blessing and a path to rescue." - Judyth Roberts, Intergen Australia