- Involve the children in a question and
answer session to illustrate the nature of loving parents
- Talk about God as our Father, who knows
what we need, and Jesus' teaching about trusting Him.
- Use bubbles and a paper-cutting
illustration to teach about what it means to "seek first the Kingdom of
or older child(ren) to read the lesson.
- An adult to lead the children through the
- Children to take part in the question and
- An adult or older child to take part in
the paper cutting activity.
- Pre-prepared questions on slips of paper
for the "parents". You'll need two sets of questions: the first will ask
for fantasy scenarios such as chocolate icecream for every meal, never
having to go to school, spending every day on the games console, and so
on; the second will ask for basics like enough to eat, clothes to wear,
and so on.
- Bubble mixture and wand
- Two pieces of paper and one pair of
readers before or at the beginning of the service, according to your
and prepare the children who are going to play the parts of "good
parents". They need to be mature enough to understand that their answers
to the questions are an important part of today's teaching, so they
mustn't give silly answers. Their aim is to think carefully about the
first set of questions, and decide whether a loving parent would say yes
or no. Prime them to respond to the second set of questions with words to
the effect, "I already know that you need that."
and prepare the child/adult who's going to help with the paper-cutting
illustration. S/he is to cut off and give away the corners of his/her
piece of paper, while you hold on to yours.
- Start by asking the children if any of
them can tell you the main message from today's reading - you're aiming
for an answer along the lines: "Don't worry. Trust God." Explain that
we're going to look at God in two ways today: in our reading, we heard
Jesus describe Him as our Father and also our King.
- First, we'll think about what it means for
God to be our Father. Ask the children you've prepared to come to the
front and face the others. Explain that these children are going to act
the part of perfect, loving parents. Give the other children some of the
first set of questions to ask one of the "parents": the point to bring
out of their answers is that loving parents give us what we need rather
than what we want, and sometimes they need to say no, or not yet, or not
in that way - prayer is not a magic lamp but a relationship with a loving
parent. Give them the second set of questions, the point of which is to
bring out Jesus' teaching that God knows what we need, and a loving
parent supplies all we need without being asked.
- Instead of worrying, Jesus teaches us to
seek first God's Kingdom and His goodness, and everything else will come
to us without our needing to worry about it. Remind the children that
even in the Lord's prayer, when Jesus teaches us how to pray, we pray
first for God's Kingdom to come and His will to be done, and only then
for our daily bread. What is God's Kingdom? Probably the simplest way to
explain it to children is in terms of seeing God as our ruler, and trying
our best to obey and please Him, and caring more about that than anything
- Blow some bubbles for the children and ask
them to try to catch the biggest one they can. Then ask them what happens
when they catch the bubbles? Even the biggest one will pop. Jesus teaches
us that running after food and drink and clothes and money is a bit like
chasing bubbles: even if we get them for ourselves, it's all a bit
- Say that you have some good news to share
with the children: you and another person (the one you've primed) have
both been given a lovely crisp new piece of paper. Talk about how special
your pieces of paper are, and how what you like best are its four lovely
sharp corners. Then the other person says rather thoughtfully that she's
been listening to what you said about behaving as God wants us to behave,
and she'd like to share hers with the other children. She snips off a
couple of corners and gives them to two children - and then notices with
great surprise and excitement that what she's been left with is a piece
of paper with six corners - and the others have three each as well! She
eagerly snips off more corners and gives them away, too.
- Bring out the point that when we behave as
God wants us to - seeking His Kingdom - God blesses us more than we
expect. If we race after the hollow material things of this world, then
like bubble-catchers we'll find ourselves with nothing but exhaustion and
disappointment. But if we try to do what God wants us to do then He
blesses us more than we can possibly imagine. Ask the children which of
you they would feel more like giving a gift to - they will probably say
the other person, who was generous with her corners. Perhaps God, like
us, feels more inclined to give His gifts to people who have shown that
they'll use them responsibly.