Focus Passage: John 10: 22-30
Memory Verse: “My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me.”
Items for Preparation
-Get a photo of your own mother, in a fancy picture frame if possible. Alternatively, get photos of some of the mothers of the kids in front of you. If you get one, try to get ‘em all, so nobody will feel left out. You can also get a photo of the mother of the pastor, the music minister and the church secretary. You have the general idea.
-Get a photo of your dog. Alternatively, get photos of some of the dogs of the kids in front of you. Again, try not to play favorites; if you get one, get them all. Or get the pastor’s dog, especially if well-known by the children.
You only need a photo of one mom, and of one dog. If you get lots, then, bless you.
Read the adult lesson in the print edition of Nurturing Faith and additional material online. The focus for us is that we are familiar with Jesus, and we have a conscience which helps us know immediately when we are doing the right thing, and when we are following Jesus.
[Display your photo of the dog. It helps if you know the dog’s name. Meant to tell you that ahead of time. Sorry.]
Say: Maybe you know [dog’s name here] who belongs to [dog’s owner’s name — could be you, could be a kid, could be the pastor.] Isn’t s/he cute! I wish s/he could come into our sanctuary today to help me deliver this sermon! S/he would help us know right away the thing I want to teach you.
Say: If you have ever seen a dog answer his master’s call, then you know already what Jesus was saying in the verses we read today. Dogs get to know the voice of the one who loves them and feeds them. [Your dog’s name again here] loves [dog’s master] and if they call him/her, s/he will come running! Other people could say the dog’s name, but s/he won’t come to them in the same way. Why do you think that happens? [Allow for answers.]
Say: Dogs are very smart; they know who loves them, and they will want to be near that person.
Say: Jesus was talking about this very thing when he said the words in our memory verse, “My sheep hear my voice; I know them and they follow me.”
Say: I bet you and I are already a lot like Jesus’ sheep, or [dog’s owner’s name] dog. [Now display your photo of the mom, and see if your kids can name who the mom is, and whose mom she is.]
Say: Now, I want you to imagine: if you were in the grocery store with your Mom, and there were lots of other kids and moms in there so that it was very crowded, and your Mom got separated from you a couple of aisles, because you wanted to go over to the cereal aisle and get a box of your favorite kind, and she kept pushing her cart over to the next aisle to get some canned vegetables, and then, after she had the right kind of beans, she realized you weren’t beside her anymore, and she called to you using your name, tell me: would you hear her call you? [Allow for answers.]
Say: Sure! You would hear her voice calling your name, even if it was a crowded store, with lots of moms and kids, and maybe some other people with your very same name! You know her voice, and how it sounds when she says your name and calls to you.
Say: Just like [dog owner’s] dog [dog’s name] knows his/her voice and will come right away, because [dog’s name] knows that [owner’s name] loves him/her and wants to go to him/her right away.
Say: This is what Jesus was saying — that we, who are Jesus-followers, can hear when Jesus is calling us to do something. We can tell when what we are doing is what Jesus wants us to do. Just like we can hear our Mom calling us, or the dog can hear his master, we get a very sharp sense of what it is like when Jesus is leading us.
Say: What is Jesus calling you to do in these Easter weeks? Are there things you can tell are the right things to do to follow him?
Prayer: Say these things after I say them.
O God of Easter,
Let your voice call to us,
And let us hear you.
Speak to us in your loving way,
And let us answer you,
So that we may follow Jesus,
In his name, Amen.