Memory Verse: “Pursue peace with everyone…”
Items for Preparation:
- Find some images of the traditional and sacred 1970s era peace sign. Maybe you’ve still got some dangle earrings you can wear, or a T shirt, or a macramé hanging planter?
- Print some small cards with a peace sign on one side, and blank on the other side. Have a card ready for each kid. Have enough crayons or pencils for everyone to write on the cards for a few moments during your sermon.
Background: Read the adult lesson in the print edition of Nurturing Faith and additional material online. Even though your listeners are little kids, already in their short lives they have developed relationships with others that are not peaceful. Already, they have enemies and bullies, fussy and selfish kids around them, and already they have drawn lines of distinction between other kids who are on “their side” and ones they feel are not. Already, the idea of peace with everyone is outlandish to them. Let’s go after that.
[Display your vintage 1970 peace apparel, or items, or kitsch, and see if all your kids know what this sign means.]
Say: You know that this is a peace symbol? It looks an awful lot like a Mercedes brand mark, but it’s not. It means “Peace, man, peace!”
[Now make a peace sign with your fingers.]
Say: This is another traditional way we signal peace – holding our fingers like this. We can all do that… Why do you think this was so popular way back in the 1970s? You saw this peace symbol all the time back then – I remember. And now, with all the fighting in many countries around the world, and the fighting we hear about in our own cities in this country, and all the ways so many groups of people find to be angry with each other and to want to be separate – maybe we can use some more peace.
[Now hand a peace card and a crayon or pencil to each child.]
Say: Paul wrote to the Hebrews that they should try to find peace with everyone. Does that sound like an easy thing, or a hard thing? [Allow for answers.]
Say: I agree with you that it might be hard. I can think of some people it is easy to be peaceful with! But I can also think of some people it is very hard for me to be peaceful with. They have been mean to me. They don’t like me. I would like not to see them again. So I think of them when I read what Paul wrote, that it is up to me to try to find peace, to pursue peace, with everyone.
I gave you a card with that peace sign on it – maybe we can take a minute, and think of the person we feel it would be the hardest to have peace with. Are you thinking of somebody like that – somebody who isn’t peaceful with you? Think about that person. Just pick one. Don’t say who it is – keep it a secret. On your card, use your words or draw a picture to show what you could do to find peace with that person. What could you try that might help they be peaceful with you? Think hard. Write down on your card, or draw a picture that will remind you, what you can do or say that will bring you closer to peace with that person. Can you try this week? Keep your card with you to remind you. Paul would be proud of you.
Prayer: Say these words after I say them.
O God of Peace,
You brought us the Prince of Peace
The baby Jesus who grew up
So that we can follow him.
Lead us to find peace
With even the hardest people,
In Jesus’ name, Amen.