Memory Verse: ’They shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the LORD, but they shall not find it.”
Items for Preparation:
- You can get your Amos groove back on today! Just so you know — we’re doing Amos and Hosea all this month. Now, Hosea looks a little different from Amos. So for now, either display a helpful image of Amos the herdsman, or dress up. Even better: Get somebody else in your church to dress up for you. A guy with a beard. A middle aged guy. Are YOU a middle aged guy with a beard? Alright then.
- Have a basket of fresh fruit with you. Doesn’t have to be large, and get whatever’s in season that you will eat later so it’s not wasted. We approve of environmentally conscious children’s sermons.
Background: Read the adult lesson in the print edition of Nurturing Faith and additional material online. We’ll continue teaching who Amos is and the content of his prophecy to Israel. These are hard words. The idea that God would say there’s going to be a time when we can’t find God is a difficult thing to hear. We must help kids understand why Amos would bring this message to Israel.
[If you’re dressed as Amos, approach children bearing your crook and swaggering a little. Ham it up. Stroke your beard. Look around at your sheep. Reach out with your crook and corral an errant stuffed sheep sitting on the pew and bring it toward you. Make sure you’ve got your basket of fruit in your hand too.]
Say: Morning! I am the prophet Amos, a meek and mild herdsman and shepherd. Remember meeting me last week? This week I have this beautiful basket of fruit. It looks delicious, doesn’t it?
Say: Well, I wanted to show it to you, so you can see the richness and deliciousness of all the fruits, plants, and abundant life we have around us every day. As a herdsman and shepherd, I enjoy getting to be outdoors almost all of the time. It is very easy for us to forget the abundance of the life we enjoy. It’s good for us to be grateful!
Say: But I have been hearing messages from God in my prayers. God has been telling me some bad news. God says that soon a famine will come to the land of Israel. This is a scary thing for us – a famine is a time in which rains don’t come, and crops don’t grow, and it gets hard to find enough food. There will be no way to have a fruit basket like this one. Animals and people get very hungry. Sometimes they die because they can’t get enough to eat! That makes me worried about my sheep.
Say: But even more, it makes me worried about the people in Israel. God is telling me that they have not been doing the justice we talked about last week. Justice hasn’t come to them. The rich people still keep all their money and make rules to be sure money will keep coming their way. The poor people still can’t find enough of anything, and do not get any help from the rich people. This is a terrible problem! And God is not happy about the ways we are treating one another.
Say: I am a very good Hebrew man, and in my worship and prayers with God, I can’t help but hear God’s messages to me. I must find a good way to let the people in Israel understand what is going to happen if they do not change the way they are acting. Maybe we can pray together – pray that I will be a good messenger to people in Israel, and that they will understand what God wants for them.
Prayer: Say these words after I say them.
O Mighty God,
Let us be very grateful for all good things.
Help us especially to be grateful for each other.
Forgive us when we do not treat each other with justice.
Keep sending us your messages
So that we will know how to obey you,
In Jesus’ name, Amen.