Focus Passage: Hebrews 13: 1-16
Memory Verse: “Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.”
Items for Preparation:
- Work with your church office administrator again this week, to find some of the oldest artifacts of your church’s history. See if there are copies of early newsletters, bulletins, or photos of groundbreakings, mortgage burnings, or Heaven help you, deacons’ meetings. See what artifacts are available to you, which could be displayed for kids without doing damage to them.
- Have something that represents what is going on in your church this week, or today.
- Now get a photo frame, and put a piece of paper inside it which is labeled in fancy writing with your church name and the year 2116. Do some calligraphy
there. Leave plenty of room above that label for a future photo to go in, so that the label will be fitting for a future picture of something at your church. But leave no picture there.
Background: Read the adult lesson in the print edition of Nurturing Faith and additional material online. There are some things that are impermanent, and perhaps all things are impermanent. Many faithful people around the world, particularly Buddhists, laud this idea as an important faith tenet. But we Baptist Christians believe something different about permanence: that Jesus Christ embodies the permanent merciful love of God, never changing. Ah – an idea that becomes a solid rock for us. So let’s demonstrate how permanent and unchanging is Jesus’ merciful, saving love.
[Display your artifacts, and describe and explain what they are, who is in them, and what they depict. Help kids know a bit of your church history.]
Say: Paul wrote in his letter to the Hebrews that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. When Paul wrote that, it was in about the year 75 or 80. Do you think that what Paul wrote was true way back then? [Allow for answers.]
Say: Yep! Paul wrote about Jesus and being a good Jesus-follower, almost 2000 years ago. And when we read what Paul wrote, it is STILL TRUE! And it’s been almost 200 years! We have a lot of things here that show that following Jesus has been the right thing to do all through those 2000 years, all through this stuff that happened in our own church, and right up to, well, today! [Get out your item for the present.]
Say: Why, just today, this happened: [and describe what your item represents.] Just today, these people were following Jesus by doing this. For us, just today, following Jesus is STILL the right thing to do, and we do it, every day!
[Now hold out your photo of the future.]
Say: So I am wondering…if we imagine what our church will be like in 100 years…I wonder, do you think it will still be the right thing to do to follow Jesus? Do you think our church will still be here? Do you think the people in these pews, in this sanctuary, might be YOU, if you eat your vegetables and take your vitamins, and live to be over 100? Or will your children, and their children, and their children, be sitting here? And what will be in this picture of our church, in the year 2116? What do you think we’ll be doing to follow Jesus? DOES ANYBODY THINK that we will NOT be following Jesus in 2116? [Allow for answers.]
Say: I am so glad that Paul told his friends, the Hebrews, that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. I am glad, because it is happy to imagine what will be happening right here on this spot in our sanctuary on a Sunday morning 100 years from now.
Prayer: Say these words after I say them.
O God of All the Ages,
Your love is always with us.
We join a big cloud of witnesses
In a long line from the past to the future.
Help us be good Jesus followers
In our time, right now,
In Jesus’ name, Amen.