Focus Passage: John 14: 23-29
Memory Verse: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you.”
Items for Preparation
-Use a batch of cupcakes, sugar cookies or round flat crackers, so that you have enough for each child to have one. Decorate the cupcakes/cookies with icing, or the crackers with some of that pre-processed canned cheese-like substance with a nozzle you can press down and write with. Hey, either option is just about equally non-healthy, so go for it! You only live once!
Decorate each cookie or cracker with a peace symbol using the icing or cheese. You know the one, a circle bisected with a diametrical line top to bottom, and radiating lines from center to the 4:00 and 8:00 positions.
You can arrange these on a tray and have it ready at the beginning of worship. Cover it with plastic wrap.
However, if this junky food option is more than you can stomach, or more than some of your kids can handle due to food allergy or health concern, you could also make whole-wheat pita rounds and pipe some hummus onto the tops. You can use bagel chips and cut strips of string cheese to outline your peace sign. You can use large slices of cucumber, squash, or apple, and pipe peanut butter onto it (that tastes pretty good, actually.) How do we make “peace?” Let me count the ways…
Read the adult lesson in the print edition of Nurturing Faith and additional material online. We live in an age of perpetual unrest, which children perceive and absorb regardless of their inability to understand it. How can we have peace when we are seeing constant fighting, terrorism and belligerence on media daily? We can because Jesus promised a Holy Spirit would be with us, and in us. So we’ll act that out today.
[Have your tray of peace-shaped goodies ready.]
Say: Do you know what the symbol on top of these goodies means? [Allow for answers. Bet they do.]
Say: One of the last things Jesus ever said to his friends was a great comfort to them, and it is to us too. Jesus promised his friends, the disciples, that a Holy Spirit would come to them, to be with them all the time, and to even be inside their hearts, to give comfort, and strength, and peace.
[Now hand out your peace goodies, and allow kids to eat them while you’re talking.]
Say: Now, when the disciples were living, things were not easy. There were soldiers, and wars, and thieves, and hurricanes and drought. There were mean people. There were lots of reasons the disciples might not feel very peaceful. Their lives were very much like our lives are today. We know mean people, and bullies. We know there are wars going on around the world. We know there is fighting; we know that people get mad, forget what they are supposed to do to use their anger in healthy ways, and instead they treat other people badly. Has this happened to you? [Allow for answers.]
Say: So Jesus knew that his friends, who he loved very much, needed his help and the help of God, to live in peace. When we say the word “peace,” what does that make you think about? [Allow for answers.]
Say: Jesus said he would leave his peace with us, which is unlike any other kind of peace in the whole world. The peace Jesus gives us is something we take inside us, and carry all the time. Now you just ate your peace goodie, and it’s inside you too.
Say: Jesus didn’t mean that, since he gave us his peace, and since he gave us the Holy Spirit to be with us, that we would not still have all that bad stuff going on. It’s been 2000 years, and it’s still going on all over the world.
Say: But Jesus did mean that we would have the strength, and wisdom, and guidance, and comfort of God, in the Holy Spirit, with us and inside us, which will help us handle even bad things in a peaceful way. Jesus-followers like us can feel confident that the peace of the Holy Spirit will help us figure out what Jesus would want us to do, even when the situation is hard.
Say: This is a great gift Jesus gives us – his peace, and his promise that God’s Holy Spirit is with us and in us. Peace, man.
Prayer: Say these words after I say them.
O God of Peace,
We worship you
By receiving your Holy Spirit
By accepting Jesus’ gift of peace
By being Jesus-followers
So that peace may come in the world
In Jesus’ name, Amen.