We joyfully receive for ourselves and others the blessings of community, sexuality, marriage, and the family. “Our Social Creed,” Accessed October 5, 2016
This is the third Children’s Message in a series on the United Methodist Social Principles. If you missed the explanation you can find it here; the introductory message is available here; and the message about the natural world is available here.
A Bible or a storybook Bible to show the Genesis story.
If you do interactive option #2 you may want to have the scavenger hunt printed out on a big white board, or chart paper with an easel and markers.
No other physical materials needed, but I did borrow quite a bit from Teaching Tolerance’s Family Tapestry lessons. If you are using this message in a Children’s Church, Sunday School, weeknight program, or camp you may want to use some of their resources to expand upon the message.
Main Ideas (From “What Every Child Should Experience.”)
- I am loved by my family
- I feel safe in my home
- I am part of my parents and they are part of me
- Worshipping with the congregation stimulates my senses and helps me feel like I belong
- Church is a safe and loving place
- My family connects church and family
- Guide me in ways that deepen my belief that I am a child of God and part of God’s beloved community
We’ve been looking at this list of how to love the world that our church has, called “Our Social Prinicples.” We talked earlier about how we are made in the image of God, which means that all of us, have a job to do, which is to show the world what God is like. And God is love, so we show the world that God is love.
And last week we talked about how God has given us an important job of caring for the natural world.
When we read the story of God creating the world, God makes something, then the Bible says, “it was good.” Over and over and over again. It’s a poem story, God’s creation is GOOD! The plants are good, the water is good, the animals are good, stars are good, dirt is good, and God takes the dirt and makes an earth creature (a person) and God says that the person is good.
But there is one thing in the story, one thing jumps out, because it’s so different. God says, it is not good, for the earth creature, the person to be alone. So God makes a second earth creature, and God creates the first family.
Now, since that day there have been lots and lots of different families. There are big families and little families. There are families that live all in one house and families that have to move houses. There are families where everyone looks a lot alike and families where people are different colors. There are families with a mom and a dad, and there are families with just a mom or just a dad. There are families with two moms, or two dads. There are families with a mom and step-dad, or a dad and a step-mom. There are families where Grandma and Grandpa live in the same house and there are families where Grandma and Grandpa live far away. Some people have cousins. Some people have brothers and sisters. But they are all families and loving our family is one of the ways that we show the world what God is like. God says, “it’s not good for a person to be alone,” so he gives us a gift of our families.
Interactive piece option 1 (from Teaching Tolerance, “My Family Rocks“):
I’m going to read something, and I want you to stand up [or raise your hand] if you think that this thing is a family. Ok?
- An African-American mom and her adopted Chinese daughter.
- A man and a woman with no children.
- Parents and guardians with 11 children and a grandchild.
- A mom, a stepdad and a son.
- A girl and her two dads.
- A boy and his foster parents.
We stood up for all of these because all of these are families. Every family is different, and every family is the same!
Interactive piece option 2: (From Teaching Tolearnce, Family Scavenger Hunt)
We’re going to do a scavenger hunt this morning in church and see if we can find a famliy that fits each one of these things:
Below are 10 different family descriptions. See if you can find one person whose family fits each description.
- 1. I do not have any brothers or sisters
- . 2. I live with only one parent/guardian.
- 3. I have more than three brothers or sisters.
- 4. I live with two parents/guardians.
- 5. I live with a grandmother or grandfather.
- 6. I have a stepmother or stepfather.
- 7. My family comes from a different country.
- 8. At least two people in our family are different races.
- 9. I live with people who love me.
- 10. I think my family rocks!
Some people don’t live with their family. Maybe they live by themselves, or have roommates, or live in a hospital, or a jail, or a shelter by themselves. Some people live with their families but they don’t get along with their families. And God loves those people too. And that’s another way that we show the world what God is like. The church is a family. The church is a family of families. Because we need each other and it’s not good for us to be alone.
Using in worship:
In addition to using this as a part of a series on Our Social Principles, this message could also be used as a part of the “Christian Home Month,” celebrated in some Methodist congregations. It could also follow the announcement of a marriage, birth or adoption. Some churches even offer divorce blessings. How meaningful would it be to affirm a family’s value as a community, even after divorce?