Focus Passage: Psalm 99
Memory Verse: “Mighty King, lover of justice, you have made things even out.”
Items for Preparation
-A plate to hold food and serve it to kids.
-A chocolate candy bar that is pressed into separate sections, such as a Hershey bar. Get a big one, and be prepared to break it into smaller and smaller parts as you present your sermon. If there are children who cannot eat chocolate, get a large graham cracker that can break into sections, or a peanut “nutter-butter” cookie with sections. You can even use an orange that sections easily. You’ll need enough for each child to get a like-sized piece.
Read the adult lesson in Nurturing Faith and additional material online. We’ll focus on the justice in this psalm. Even very young children bear acute sensitivity to the concept of justice; they can feel immediately when something is not fair. Adults know that sometimes justice does not mean equality or fairness; sometimes justice requires inequity in some way. But children don’t have a clue about this! To them, justice means that things are all even for everybody.
[Open your candy bar/cracker/oranges as you begin. Allow for comments, but only a little.]
Say: The Psalms are a book of songs in the Old Testament. There are 150 songs altogether, and they are numbered. We are hearing Psalm number 99 today, and it tells us that God is a powerful King who will bring us justice. Now, what is justice? Does anybody know?
[Allow for answers, and keep breaking your candy/cracker/orange into sections onto your plate.]
Say: We have laws and rules, which we all obey, so that things are fair and even for us. Is there a rule you can remember right now that you always try to obey, and that you expect all the rest of us to obey, too?
[Allow for answers, and keep sectioning until you have your whole thing separated out into equal parts, enough for each child to have one, easily visible on your plate.]
Say: There are lots of rules to keep so that we have fairness, and Psalm 99 says that God likes to bring fairness to us, which is what justice is. Justice means what is good, right, equal, and fair to all people.
[Now take a piece of your treat and start eating it, and really enjoy it, too. Ham it up.]
Say: Ummmm, this is really good. I have this whole plate full! I could eat every single piece of this! Ahahahahahahaha!
[Now look up at your children’s faces, and pretend to notice them anew.]
Say: But would I be doing justice if I ate all of these myself, when you are sitting there with me, and you don’t have any? [Allow for answers.]
Say: What do you think I should do to follow the idea in Psalm 99: that God likes to bring justice? How can I do justice now? [Allow for answers. Ham it up a little more.]
Say: I can share! I can eat about half of my pieces, and then give a few of my pieces to some of you, the littlest ones. The others of you are bigger, and you probably already had breakfast, and can go without having any. Would that be justice? [Allow for answers.]
Say: Well, what if each of us gets the same amount? Is that justice? [Allow for answers. As children respond, give each one an even amount of your treat, and keep an even amount for yourself. Hope you’ve counted correctly here. Heh heh.]
Say: The Lord is a mighty King, who will bring fairness and justice to us. I wonder what rules we can keep this week to help justice happen? I wonder what we can share evenly this week to bring justice the way the Lord likes it to happen?
Prayer: Say these words after I say them.
O God of Justice,
We praise and love you
We thank you for good things you give.
Help us to bring justice
In every way we can
And make us wise and loving
In Jesus’ name, Amen.