United Church of Christ

OGHS Children's Sermon 1 & 2

Now to God be the glory, who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine. Give God glory though all time and for ever and ever. Amen Ephesians 3:20-21

Based on Ephesians 3:14–21

 

MATERIALS

The items will be revealed one at a time, as you present the message to the children.
• a container with soil
• citrus seeds
• a seedling or a sprout you have grown in anticipation of the sermon
• an illustration of a full-grown orange tree
• a basket of oranges


Note: This sermon works best if you prepare materials ahead of time. Read the scripture passage together (if the scripture has already been read in worship, you can just reread verses 20–21.)

Paul talks about God’s love for all of us and of how God can do more than we can imagine. I thought we could practice doing some imagining
together and think about how God might imagine things.

(Reveal container of soil.) Here is the first thing for us to consider together. What do you think this is? (Give children a chance to respond.) What do you think God can imagine in this rich soil? (Invite responses that may be related to things growing in the soil, plants, food, trees, etc. as well as other playful responses.)

(Reveal seed.) How about this? Who knows what this is? Have you ever seen one of these? (Allow for some discussion of seeds the children may have encountered in gardening or in their food.) When God looks at a seed like this, God can already see this!

(Reveal the sprouted seed.) It’s hard to believe that from this little seed we get a whole big, tall tree that can give us wood and fruit. But God sees it! Today I wanted to bring a whole tree in here to show you, but we couldn’t fit a whole tree without making a big mess, so here’s a picture!

Reveal picture of full-grown orange tree.) How are the seed and the tree similar? How are they different? (Invite comparisons of the seed and the tree.)

(Reveal basket of oranges.) From this little seed we get these juicy oranges that we can share and enjoy! But that’s not the end of God’s work. God is able to do even more than we can imagine! What do you think God can do for the family who grew this tree?

(Lead discussion in the direction of food and income: they can eat the oranges, they can sell the oranges.) How does life change for a family who can now eat oranges and sell oranges?

(Receive a few responses from the children.) Oranges can completely change the quality of a family’s life: no more hunger, more time to do other things, money to buy necessities. That is only what we can imagine! God can do even more! When we share our offerings for One Great Hour of Sharing, we are helping to do things like planting orange trees that will help families and communities! We give with excitement and anticipation of all the things God can do through our giving! (You may wish to distribute or collect coinboxes at this time.)

(Give each child an orange, or let them know that they will be shared during the church coffee hour for all to enjoy. You may also choose to share some oranges with a local foodbank.)

Let’s pray together:
Thank you God, for doing more than we can even imagine. Thank you for taking care of us. Help us to take care of each other. Amen.

 

 

If you give a farmer a seed…

 

Instructions: Read one of the wonderful children’s books written by Laura Joffe Numeroff and illustrated by Felicia Bond such as If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. In these stories we will follow the silly antics of animal adventures. There is a process of creation that happens with each animal, whether it is Mouse’s drawing, Pig’s tree house or Moose’s elaborate sock puppets.

Intention: This activity uses the adventures described in the book as a jumping off point to see what God can imagine. Children are given the opportunity to see how God might use even simple things to do great things.

The characters in this book had great imaginations! How about God? Do you think God has a good imagination? The theme for One Great Hour of Sharing is “More than We Can Imagine.” God can do even more than we can imagine. We can try to think of some of the things God has imagined in our world.

Think about a seed. A tiny seed turns into a tall, tall tree in a land where there are not many other plants, not much for animals to eat. So God makes a giraffe with a long funny looking neck that helps it to eat the leaves at the very top of the tall trees where no one else can reach. Or maybe think about a rainstorm and the way God can take rain and sun and turn them into beautiful rainbows.

Let’s imagine:
What could God do with a seed?
Invite children to extend the imagination as far as they can go—kids are so much better at this than adults! So, for example, God might use a seed to grow a cherry tree. The cherry tree is beautiful so God will make the blossoms for everyone to enjoy. The fruit is also delicious so God will share it with hungry people to enjoy. When we eat cherries, there is a pit that can go on to become another tree! More cherries! When a tree gets older, it can be used for wood. The wood can make a desk where a little girl will study. She will study hard and learn to speak every language on earth so she can make lots of friends! And so on! You may add your own prompts, making sure to include some that might be silly as well as some that lead to more serious reflection. Invite them to consider the ways God can use each thing to make an impact on our lives, our communities, and the world. How do our actions and our gifts contribute to God’s imagination? As you prepare to finish with a prayer, invite children to gather in a circle. Ask each one to think of their favorite thing that God imagined. Let’s pray together. I will start and we will go around the circle and each of us will say out loud the thing we thought of! God of all creation, we thank you for your wonderful imagination.

We thank you for___________(invite the children to speak—you may add ideas from earlier discussion if they get stuck.)
Help us imagine a better world with you, we pray. Amen.