Happy child is crawling on floor, isolated over white

Happy child is crawling on floor, isolated over white

Focus Passage: Galatians 2: 15-21

Memory Verse: “…it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.”

Items for Preparation:

  • Get a giant copy of a birth certificate.  Make one out of poster board if needed, and use your own info if you are really brave.  Otherwise, make up a birth certificate for the pastor.  [It would be a great idea if, now, while you are reading this, you would text or email or call your pastor and let her/him know that you are doing this, and ask permission.  Get real information that’s on her/his birth certificate.  If your pastor hangs up on you, or yells into the phone that s/he is in the Witness Protection Program and refuses to give birth info, then, sorry, you’ll need to go in another direction.
    At least until the next search committee meeting.  Just make up an imaginary person, such as Mergatroyd Quattlebaum Ostrafiltch, born on an impossible day, oh, I don’t know, maybe February 31, 1899, in an impossible place, like maybe Oceanside County, Kansas, to her mother, Jane Smith Ostrafiltch, and her father, Rasputin Buxtehude Ostrafiltch III.  Female. 21 inches.  7 pounds, 6 ounces.  Get the picture?
  • Now make a label to paste over the birth certificate name, which reads “Christ Jesus-follower.”  Put something sticky on the back so you can plaster this name in place of the “Mergatroyd” name on your original birth certificate.

Background: Read the adult lesson in Nurturing Faith and additional material online.  Our focus is the change in identity within us when we decide to use our lives to follow Jesus.  This is a very difficult concept for children, whose identities are only now being formed and are not complete.  Some may not know what a birth certificate is.  We’ll have to start there.  Get ready to do Lucy’s share of ‘splainin.

Children’s Sermon

[Hold up your birth certificate.]

Say: When you were born, it was probably in a hospital.  Your mother and father were in the room, and the nurse brought you to them, wrapped in a blanket.  You were wearing a funny hat, and you had some ink on your feet, because the nurses in the hospital got your birth certificate ready, and made footprints on it to mark it, identifying you, and no other baby, just you, because all footprints are different.
Have you ever seen your birth certificate?  [Allow for answers.  If you’ve got yours, then, you go.  Show ‘em if you got ‘em.]

Say: It’s the important paper that tells who you are.  Because, when you are born, you can’t tell people who you are, can you?  You don’t even know your own name yet!  You are probably not even awake much!  You are just sleeping, drinking milk, and pooping!  That’s all you can do!  So, you need a piece of paper that tells people you are really you, and not some other baby!

Say: The apostle Paul, one of the first great Jesus-followers, said a wonderful thing in the letter he wrote to his friends in Galatia.  He said that the thing inside him that gives him his life was changed; he stopped being just him, and he started being a follower of Jesus Christ.  It was as if his birth certificate could be re-written, to read like this:

[Now paste your Christ Jesus-follower label on top of that birth certificate name.]

Say: So for Paul, it didn’t matter what name he started out with.  Do you remember what his original name was?  [Allow for answers.  We hope they were awake last week, and can give you the name Saul.  Give it to them if needed.]

Say: That old enemy Saul changed into Paul, and he wrote that it was not really the old him, Saul, anymore, but Jesus’ Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, that was inside his heart, that made him Paul, the new person he was.  This is a hard thing for us to understand, how we can have Jesus inside us.  How who we are can change and be better.  Can you understand that, how following Jesus can make you be a better person?  A different person?  Maybe we need to think about that this week.   How would we be this week if we didn’t know Jesus?  How will we be this week since we are Jesus-followers?  Hmmm…..

Prayer: Say these words after I say them.

O God of All Times,
You are the beginning and the end.
In the love of Jesus you make us new people.
Let us feel the difference in us
Since we have Christ inside,
In Jesus’ name, Amen.