Gospel: Matthew 3:1-12
1st Reading: Isaiah 11:1-10
2nd Reading: Romans 15:4-13
I invite the kids to come and help me with the sermon today. Today I need your help with this project. If you find you have the wiggles, I invite you to play with these animals here, ok? In our Bible readings for today, we hear about the world we live in. This world has some problems. Some trees got cut down and there are some stumps around, some kids got stung by a bee, and a wolf attacked a heard of sheep. Some people weren't very nice to each other. Stuff like that.
But God promises it won't always be this way. God's friend John the Baptist comes and says that God's Kingdom is near. In God's Kingdom, all the animals get along together. Can you show me what that would look like with your play animals, there? That's right. In God's Kingdom, snakes don't bite people, new trees grow up where there were stumps, kids like you lead the adults, people are kind to each other, everyone has enough to eat.
I wondered if you would help me fill in my project here. I talked about the world we live in having some problems. What are some of the problems you have or some things that make you sad or mad. Let's also get some from the congregation. Either call them out or write them on your little sticky note and hold them up and a kid will come get it from you and we'll attach it to our chart. Ok so now we have some up here about the sorrows and pains of this world.
Some difficulties of this world that were named: My brother wakes me up, I have too much homework, hunger and homelessness, illness.
Now, let's get some ideas from people about God's Kingdom and what it will be like. What would a good world look like to you. What brings you joy and happiness in life? Let's put some of those up here. How about from the congregation?
Some joys and kingdom of God moments were named: a flame that never goes out and a stream that never runs dry, people having enough to eat.
It seems like a long way between the world as it is and the Kingdom of God, doesn't it? How do we get from here to there? What are some ways we can help bring in God's Kingdom? Let's build a road between the two so we can get there. What are some things we can do to help people and be kind to help the Kingdom of God come? We'll get some help from the congregation, too.
Some ideas to build a road to the Kingdom of God from this world included: donating food, giving a hug, caring for animals, singing, going to a concert, giving a compliment, donating toys.
But with all we came up with, our road didn't reach the Kingdom. We can't do it all ourselves.
The Bible says that actually God is bringing the Kingdom of God nearer to us. Do you remember why we celebrate Christmas? That's right, the baby Jesus is born. In our Bible stories, Jesus is about to be born. Jesus is God and Jesus is human. He is the world as it is and the Kingdom of God coming together. He is God come to earth. We don't take a walk along this road we've built, God brings the Kingdom to us. We can show what really happens by moving this Kingdom part over to this part where we put all the troubles of this world. God's Kingdom comes to us.
How about this road we've built, is it any good anymore? It is! It shows us how to open our eyes and see God's Kingdom right here with us. When we share our food, we can see the joy it brings and see kids growing up strong because they are fed, and that's what God's Kingdom looks like. Now we can see it happening! When two people get along, they are respecting each other, they are seeing someone God loves in the other person, they are seeing the Kingdom that God has brought near.
Thank you all for your help. Let's have a prayer. Dear God, we thank you for bringing your Kingdom close to us. Help us to see it. And we give you thanks for Jesus who will always love us and always be our friend. Amen.