All our lives people try to tell us what really matters, what is most important.
Sometimes they say what is most important is having lots of money.
Sometimes they say what is most important is having lots of really yummy food.
Sometimes they say what is most important is having lots of nice clothes.
Sometimes they say what is most important is people saying lots of nice things about you.
All of those things are nice to have, but God says they are not most important.
In fact they can get in the way of our faith in God.
If we have lots of great stuff, we may think that we don't need God, that we can get what we want all by ourselves. We might run out of places to put things. We might not have in mind other people's needs who don't have enough food. We might be so busy trying to impress other people that we forget what impresses God.
God isn't impressed by money or food or clothes because God knows they don't last. Food gets eaten or rots, money gets spent and people aren't any happier, and we outgrow our clothes.
Do you know the one thing we never outgrow? God's love. God has always loved you and always will. Love is the one thing that lasts, that we never outgrow, that everyone has.
God asks us be loving, too. That's why we say that God lives in our hearts, because that is where we say our loving comes from.
What are some ways to be loving? To share, to take turns, to let someone else have a chance to shine
(Share a way we've seen each child being loving.)
Sometimes people tell us that what is most important is being strong. Sometimes another child might hurt others on the playground, or hit someone to show their strength. Jesus tells us that isn't most important either. Remember God loves you and you don't deserve to be treated like that. Jesus asks to be loving, but also doesn't say to let them keep attacking us.
I wonder if we could think of some loving ways to respond to someone who hits us or tries to hurt us.
Tell an adult. When someone hurts you, I want you to be sure to tell an adult that you trust, like your teacher or your parents. That is loving because an adult might be able to teach the child a better way to communicate.
Find a way to be safe. Maybe spending time with different friends who treat you better. That is loving to yourself and that's good too.
Stay calm and confident, if you can. Maybe the most shocking thing to a bully is to let them know they don't scare you. Remember, you have what is most important and that is God's love. Don't let them ruin your day.
Today is All Saints Day. All of you are Saints. Saints are the people in our lives who have helped to teach us about what is most important, God's love. There are saints who are living, right here in this room, but there are also saints who have died who are with God. We can't see them anymore, but they are in our hearts whenever we remember them. I invite some folks in the congregation to share a little something they've learned from one of the saints they love.
Each person who shares receives a paper heart. This is a reminder that the saints remain in our hearts and of God's love for all of God's children.