Sunday, May 29, 2005

Pentecost 2 - Children's Sermon

Maggie and her friend Emily were playing at the beach. They didn’t swim because the water was too cold, so they just played with the sand, building castles.

Maggie and Emily worked hard all afternoon, and built a small sand city in their little corner of the beach. They were almost finished when they heard a big yell, then three boys, David, Andrew, and Ben jumped in the middle of their sand city and kicked stomped all over their carefully created city.

As David and Andrew ran away giggling to each other, Ben turned and splashed sand in Maggie’s eyes.

Emily jumped up and ran after the boys who destroyed their sand creation. She was very angry but didn’t know what she was going to do when she caught up to them.

But the boys, instead of running away from Emily, ran at her, grabbed her by the wrists and dragged her into the cold water and dunked her. She wasn’t wearing her bathing suit, only a pair of shorts and a t-shirt.

Then the boys walked away, congratulating each other on a job well done.

That night, as Maggie and her dad were getting ready for bed and to say their prayers, Maggie asked,

“Dad, why do boys have to be so mean?”

“Why do you ask?”

“Some boys at the beach kicked over our sand castles, threw sand at me, and then threw Emily in the water with all her clothes on. She was shivering all the way home.”

“My goodness, what did you do?” asked her dad, angry that someone did this to his little girl.

“Nothing. But I wanted to punch them until their noses bled.”

“Would that have solved the problem?” her dad asked.

“No, but it would have felt really REALLY good!” replied Maggie.

“Then how would you have been different from the other boys?” asked Dad.

“Then what should I have done?” asked Maggie, a little angry. It seems that the right thing to do is never the thing you really WANT to do.

“Well,” replied her dad, “One thing you could do now is pray for the boys. Do you remember on Sunday when we heard about the person who built a house on sand? I think what Jesus meant by that is that when we live like those who hurt us, then we are not living the way God wants us to live. It’s like building a house on sand. But when we build a house on a rock then it is not easily destroyed.”

“But rocks are hard,” said Maggie.

“They certainly are,” said dad. “Jesus knows how hard it is to build on rocks. But the easy way is not always God’s way. The boys chose the easy way. They liked to feel big and tough by picking on someone smaller. Jesus wants to show the world how big and tough God is by showing how loving God is. He wants us do the same thing.”

“But won’t that get me beaten up again?”

“It did get Jesus crucified, didn’t it?” replied her dad. “But Jesus does want us to think differently about how we deal with others, even with bullies.”

“I don’t know if I can do that,” said Maggie.

“To be honest, I’m not sure I can either,” replied her dad, “But Jesus promised that we would have help. We call that help ‘the Holy Spirit.’”

Then they said a prayer like this as we do now: Dear God, we pray for those who hurt us. Help us to live as lovingly as Jesus did. Amen.”


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