Focus Passage: John 2: 1-11
Memory Verse: “Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory, and his disciples believed in him.”
Items for Preparation
- Have two glasses, one with water, and one with grape juice. You are going to take a sip from both, so put what you like in there. Cover them on a tray with a napkin.
Select a few wedding reception photos that kids can look at, or have them on your mobile device to show. If there are lots of people at the reception, or the bride and groom, and they are drinking wine, that’s good. Photos of a wedding cake being cut by B&G are also good. If you are going to out yourself as a wine-drinker in your tee-totaling church, or if anyone in the sanctuary would be offended by even the presence of grape juice just being discussed as wine, well then, for Pete’s sake, don’t do that! The general happy-dance party-hearty atmosphere of that wedding reception is what we’re after. We don’t want you to have to leave town. We’re saving that for next week. No worries.
Read the adult lesson in Nurturing Faith Baptists Today, and additional material online. Jesus’ first act which led his friends to realize he was a special person is the main idea today, and not the magical nature of what is described. We do not want to give the slightest notion to kids that anything Jesus did was magical. It was not. These gospel stories are meant to help people know what Jesus’ friends knew at that wedding feast: Jesus is not exactly like us. Jesus is different. Where Jesus is, good things happen, life is renewed, healing occurs, lives are changed for the better, and grace and mercy rule the day. This is our lesson.
[Display your wedding reception photos so kids can get a good look.]
Say: How many of you have been to a wedding, and also the big wonderful party afterwards? We call it a reception because the Bride and Groom want to “receive” their guests and get to hug on them for the first time as married people. It’s a happy day! We all do our happy dance! These are pictures of my wedding reception, so let’s all get up and do our happy dance right now. [Now stand up and dance around. Do the hokey pokey, the Macarena, the Charleston, whatever you can do without embarrassing yourself. Get kids on their feet to dance around with you. Yes, we are treading into dangerous territory here. But we gotta have faith. We are in worship, after all.]
Say: We are happy when people love each other and want to get married! Lots of people in this sanctuary have had happy weddings and we’re going to dance now to celebrate that! Woo hoo! Happy Wedding! Congratulations! Yea! Whoa! Okay, that’s good. Now we can sit down again. Okay. Alright. Everybody sit. Thank you.
[When all is quiet on the pew front, bring out your tray of two glasses and uncover it.]
Say: Jesus went to a fancy wedding with his disciples, and his Mom. Now, in Jesus’ day, wedding receptions lasted for DAYS! Not just a few hours, but almost a week. They gave everybody a lot of good food and good things to drink. Mostly they drank wine because it didn’t get spoiled like other drinks, there being no refrigerators yet.
Say: Now, at this wedding party in the town of Cana, the bride and groom ran out of wine. They had lots more people at their party than they had thought would come, which is why you must always send an RSVP when you are invited to a party, just like Jesus, his Mom Mary, and his friends had done.
Say: When the wine ran out, Jesus’ mom Mary came over to him and asked him to do something to help out so the bride and groom would not be embarrassed. So Jesus went to the waiters who were serving the wine, and asked them to fill the wine jars with nice fresh water. They did that. [Now take a sip of your water, and say, “umm, that’s good water.]
Say: But do you drink water at a party? NO way! Nobody does that. Not even back in Jesus’ day. Why, at a party, you want to drink something special that you really like, such as lime green Grinch Punch, or lemon yellow Big Bird Bubble Blast, or party pink Strawberry Shakes, or Dinosaur Train Sweet Tea. So Jesus did something that made the water change. It wasn’t water anymore.
[Now take a sip of your glass of grape juice or whatever previously approved beverage you have, and say “Aaaaaahhhh, now, that’s delicious. Now we can par-tay!”
Say: So when the bride and groom and the other folks at the wedding reception tasted the wine from those water jars, they said “Wow! This tastes better than the fancy wine we were drinking awhile ago. This is the most delicious wine we’ve ever had!”
Say: But that’s not the important thing at all about this story. This is the important thing to remember. Lean closer so you can hear: Jesus’ friends saw all of this happen. And when they tasted the wine out of those water jars, they looked at their friend Jesus, and they smiled, because they suddenly realized something. They believed Jesus was not exactly like you and me, and not just like them. Jesus was different, and he acted differently from others. Jesus was special, the closest person to God they had met. When Jesus was around, good things happened, like that water becoming delicious wine. It wasn’t magic; it was a moment when Jesus’ friends started to understand that he was better at loving and serving God than anyone else ever. They started to believe they wanted to be Jesus-followers, not just Jesus-friends. THIS is what is important about that wedding reception in Cana.
[Now sip your juice a bit more, and conclude.]
Say: Where Jesus is, good things happen. Where Jesus is, people feel hopeful. People feel happy, and are able to forgive each other. Where Jesus is, things work better for people, and our lives are changed, our lives are saved. Where Jesus is, love and hope are in people’s hearts. We all live in a happier way, where Jesus is. Now, where is Jesus? Is Jesus here with us? Yes, he is! That is a good reason to do a happy dance!
Prayer: Say these words after I say them.
O God of joy,
When we are together
Let us feel the happiness you give
Let us share love and happiness
With everybody around us
In Jesus’ name, Amen.