Sunday, August 07, 2005

Children's Message: Pentecost 12 - Year A

“Hey, Max,” Alex shouted from across the river, “Betcha can’t swing across the water without falling in!”

“Betcha I can!” Max shouted back climbing the tree and grabbing the rope that was hanging from a drooping branch over the river.

Max steadied himself on the branch and looked down at the rushing water under his feet.

“Boy, I didn’t realize it was so high up here,” Max thought to himself. He wasn’t sure if he should try to swing across the river. If he landed in the water he’d get his clothes wet.

“What are you waiting for?” Alex shouted.

Max just stood on the branch and looked down at the rushing river. He was afraid he would get hurt if he slipped off the rope. But he also knew that Max would rub his nose in it if he didn’t try.

“What’s the matter Colonel Sanders, Chicken?” Alex shouted again. Then he started making clucking sounds and flapping his arms like wings.

“Be quiet!” Max shouted back. “I need to concentrate” But really, Max was trying to figure out what to do. He looked down at the water. Then he looked across to the other side. He still wasn’t sure if he could swing all the way across the river.

“C’mon, ‘fraidy cat, swing across.” Alex taunted.

With that, Max thrust his feet off the branch, his hands clamped on the rope. But part way across, he looked down, panicked, and his sweaty hands slipped off the rope, and with a huge SPLASH, Max dropped into the river below.

Max hit the water with a loud CRASH, banging his knee on a rock. The rushing water was stronger than it looked, so Max was glad for all those swimming lessons.

Alex doubled over laughing on the riverbank. But Max didn’t think it was very funny. He was wet, cold, and it felt like a knife was jabbed into his knee.

That night, after he came home from the doctor’s with a HUGE cast on his leg, his mom and dad helped him into bed.

“I guess you’ll think twice before trying any more stunts,” said his dad.

Max nodded in agreement. His eyes downcast.

“Maybe we should call you ‘Peter’ from now on,” said his mom.

“What do you mean?” asked Max.

“Remember the story from the bible where Peter tried to walk on the water to greet Jesus?”

Max nodded.

“He got just as wet as you did,” his mom said. “He got half way across the water and realized what he was doing and – plunk – down he went.”

“So I guess Peter was pretty dumb for trying to walk on water,” said Peter.

“No,” said his mom, “I think he meant well. He wanted to be like Jesus. But we need to be able to tell the difference between doing things out of faith and just doing crazy stunts.”

“Peter kind of straddled that line,” said his dad.

“How can you tell the difference between faith and crazy stunts?” asked Max, “It seems like the bible has stories about people doing all sorts of silly things.”

“Just ask yourself the question, Is what I’m doing showing love for God or others, or am I just looking for a thrill or to get attention?” replied his mom.

Peter had to think about that as he looked down at his cast.

Then they said a prayer like this as we do now, “Dear God, help us to know when to do things in faith. Amen.”


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