10 September 2023
Bible readings for today
when two or three are gathered in your name you are there.
Ever present with your family, the church.
Give us grace and maturity when we are in conflict.
Help us to listen, to forgive and to live together in mutual love.
Through Jesus Christ our Liberator,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen
Building bridges (Matthew 18:15-20)
In our Gospel reading Jesus teaches about how to deal with conflict and disagreements
Building bridges - bible story
Joining the lectionary dots
A story about living in harmony which can be found on Sermons 4 Kids.
Linking today's Matthew passage on conflict to the one on Romans on love, shows how beautifully the lectionary can work together.
Children's talk - a talk from Storybox
Has a friend ever hurt you by something that they did? What was that like? (pause for discussion) It isn’t very nice when people hurt us by what they say or do, particularly if they are our friends. It can leave you feeling hurt or angry, and unsure of your friendship towards that person. It’s even worse if it doesn’t get sorted out. We can lose good friends that way.
In today’s story, Jesus gives us some good advice for how to sort out our conflicts with other people. Right at the start Jesus tells us to go and talk to the person about it. do you sort out your problems with friends? (pause)
We need to treasure our friendships and work at keeping them healthy by reminding people that we care about how much they mean to us so that when we do have problems we feel more able to sort them out.
Game - getting in order
What you need: a circle of chairs
What to do: get the children to stand on the chairs. Explain that you will give the children a topic eg birth date. You will then nominate which seat is the starting chair and the children have to then get in order without talking and without touching the ground. When they think they have done it, check. If they talk or stand on the ground, they have to start again!
Topics you could use: birth date, street number, height, last name, pet’s name.
We are connected prayer
Equipment: Pre-cut out strips of paper chain people (found in most $ stores) or handmade strips of 3-4 paper-chain people, Pens
Have children take a strip of paper-chain people and hold it in their hands.
Get them to choose one of the people to be themselves and to think about who are the 2-3 other people from our church that they are holding hands with.
Encourage them that it could be that they are thinking of holding hands with their best friends or maybe they choose someone they've seen at church but don't know very well.
They can draw faces and clothing on the paper-chain people to represent those they are thinking of.
Explain that in today's passage we are called "brother's and sisters" with the people in our church even if they're not our real brother or sister: together we are the "family" of God.
Ask: Do you find it easy to be friends with your brothers and sisters? Do you always get along? (Listen as the children share stories)
Somebody once said that it's impossible to have an argument with someone when you are holding hands. Ask: Do you think that's true? You could even call two children up to demonstrate being angry with each other but holding both hands with the other person...they will hopefully find it very hard and most probably end up giggling!
God understands that as brothers and sisters we will have days when we get along and days when we find it hard to be friends. This is why He gave us today's instructions about talking to each other when we are not feeling happy with each other.
Take time now to pray in your heads about your paper chain people.
Children can take these home to continue to pray about or you could draw a Church or heart outline on a large piece of paper and get children to stick their paper-chain people within the church/heart outline.
What does it mean to 'love on the another'?
Love your neighbour as you love yourself.
Kia aroha ki tōu hoa tāta, āno ko koe.
If you love someone, you will never do them wrong; to love then, is to obey the whole law.
E kore te aroha e kino ki tōna hoa; nō reira ko te aroha, te whakaritenga o te ture.
One way of presenting this verse is to build a wall. In both the above 'love' is mentioned twice -- these are the foundation blocks, the clues. Ask groups or individuals to place remaining blocks and explain why the additional words make sense as they do so.
For the slightly harder option, break the sentence up into four sections.
Picture book - Somebody Loves You Mr Hatch by Eileen Spinell
A lonely man receives an unexpected gift which in turn causes him to give to others. When he discovers the gift was not meant for him, he returns to being his reclusive self. Then his neighbours rally round and show love back to him.
In this week's Old Testament reading, we hear about the story of the Passover. It might also be a week where you talk about why God wanted to rescue the Israelites from Egypt or how these stories show how far God will go to care for his people. For younger kids, you may like to recap the story of Moses as a whole, which can be seen in this video from Saddleback Kids
A story explaining Passover
Let’s meet Moses who lived in the palace of Pharaoh,
Moses did something bad and it was a big uh-oh!
So Moses ran far, far away
The people of Israel were stuck working all day
Moses was tending his sheep when he heard his name
God spoke to him through a bush that was burning up in flames!
God had a great plan
But Moses said, “No way, you’ve got the wrong man!”
God let Moses’ brother speak on his behalf
And the two went to the Pharaoh, each carrying a staff
Aaron told Pharaoh to “Let God’s people go!”
But the Pharaoh told them, “No! No! No!”
God sent plagues to the land and to the skies.
Frogs and bugs and hail and even some pesky flies.
After many days of this the Egyptians were sad
Pharaoh said, “Get out of here!” and the Israelites were glad.
Moses and the Israelites left Egypt behind
But then the Pharaoh just up and changed his mind
The Pharaoh chased the Israelites and they were as scared as could be
But Moses raised his staff and God parted the Red Sea!
All of God’s people walked on dry land,
And the Israelites went free just as God had planned.
Source: Saddleback Kids