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Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B

As we conclude this series that interweaves the doctrine of God with the Psalms, I cannot help but reflect on belief and knowledge as partners in the Christian life.

Psalm 20:1-5, 9, NIRV

For the director of music. A psalm of David.

20 May the Lord answer you when you are in trouble.
May the God of Jacob keep you safe.
2 May he send you help from the sacred tent.
May he give you aid from Zion.
3 May he remember all your sacrifices.
May he accept your burnt offerings.
4 May he give you what your heart wishes for.
May he make all your plans succeed.
5 May we shout for joy over your victory.
May we lift up our flags in the name of our God.
May the Lord give you everything you ask for.

9 Lord, give victory to the king!
Answer us when we call out to you!

New International Reader's Version (NIRV) Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.




Today, we continue with our game called “Rhyme Time.” Does anyone remember last week’s rhyme-time word? (Have the board with last week’s word still written on it in view for the children and allow children to answer.) That’s right, last week our word was “depend.” That means, that this week, our word must rhyme with “send,” “mend,” and “depend.” I will remove the letters “dep” from the board, as we will discover another word this week that rhymes with “depend.”

Ready? Let’s play Rhyme Time. Together, as loud as you can, say, “Hit me with a rhyme!” One, two, three… (“Hit me with a rhyme” collectively).

This week, I want to again read from the book of Psalms. The book of Psalms, remember, is a collection of songs that express directly to God almost every human emotion and feeling that we may experience in life. There are psalms of lament, which is crying out in grief. There are psalms of thanksgiving, giving God thanks in all things. The past few weeks, we have heard psalms of thanksgiving. As we continue to read the Psalms, we can use them to be honest with God about our feelings. Again today, as I read this psalm, I want you to think about what feelings this psalm expresses. As I read this psalm, when you feel you know what type of psalm this is, raise your hand. I will ask you after I read it if you think that it is a psalm of thanksgiving or lament. Does it sound like it is giving thanks to God, or crying out to God, “Why God, did this happen to me?”

(Reinforce or read Psalm 20:1-5, 9 if you haven’t already done so).

(Call on a child who has a hand raised.) What type of psalm is Psalm 20? (Allow the child to answer.)

This psalm is one of blessings. Did you hear words such as safe, send help, give help, trust in God, and God answering us when we call out? Those are all powerful ways we have confidence in the blessings from God.

Often the psalms we read are personal. They are about one person’s needs, fears, or joys. This psalm is a little different. With this psalm, we look outside ourselves to our loved ones.

Let me tell you a personal story to help us understand this psalm.

A husband sat in a hospital waiting room. His wife was in the operating room having surgery to help heal her from a sickness.

The husband was afraid. He had never sat in the waiting room for so long by himself. His wife had never had any kind of surgery before. Have any of your parents had surgery? Have any of you had surgery? (Allow children to answer.) You probably felt scared just as this husband did. The husband didn’t like the way he felt. Being so scared made him feel alone, helpless, and even hopeless. Have you ever felt so helpless that you felt there was no hope? It’s a horrible feeling, that’s for sure.

It seemed like the minutes took hours to pass while he waited. Every so often, he would look at the time on his phone. He would answer a text message from a friend asking, “How’s it going?” All the while, there was still no word from the doctor about the surgery.

There were other people in the waiting room; some were reading books, while others spoke on their phones. They all seemed anxious. The husband tried to have a conversation with the elderly lady sitting next to him, but he was just too worried about his wife. He decided to take a walk down the hallway of the hospital. “Maybe I will get a cup of coffee,” he thought. “A cup of coffee might take my mind off worrying so much.” He wondered why he was so worried. They had found a great hospital with the best doctors, but he continued to worry.

As he walked down the hallway, he noticed a gift shop filled with teddy bears, get-well cards, balloons, and candy bars. “I will keep walking to see what else is down this hallway,” he thought. As the husband continued down the hall, he saw a sign with an arrow pointing to the chapel.

He felt that he should go into the chapel. He hadn’t been to church in a long time, yet he still felt like going in. “I will just sit in the back,” he thought. “No one will even notice that I am in here.” He walked in, but instead of sitting in the back, he went to the front of the chapel and knelt at the altar. The chapel was empty and quiet.

As the candles on the altar flickered, he began to pray, “God, I don’t even know what to say.” He couldn’t think of the words to pray, but he finally said, “Please help my wife get through this. Please protect her. Please take care of her.”

As he left the chapel, he felt a peace he had never felt before. There was nothing else he could do but rely on God to take care of his wife and her doctors. He returned to the waiting room in silence. There was still no news. Others waiting were being notified about their loved ones coming out of surgery. Still, he waited, but this time he felt at peace. The husband felt a new confidence that everything would be okay.

Finally, his wife’s surgeon came out and walked directly to him. “Good news,” she said with a smile on her face. The surgery went as well as it could have. Your wife did great. She’s waking up, and you will be able to see her in a little while.”

Have you ever felt worried and scared about something? (Allow children to answer.) When you do feel those feelings, how can you turn to God in those moments? What did the husband in the story do when he felt those feelings? (Allow children to answer.) That’s right; he prayed. When you feel worried or afraid, remember this psalm and the story of the husband and his wife. Remember how he found his way into conversation with God through prayer. Through prayer, the husband was able to look not only at himself, but also focus on his wife, whom he loved so much. And God was able to provide comfort to the husband and give him a feeling of peace.

God takes care of our every need. God watches over us when we are scared or afraid. Those are the definitions of the word “tend.”

God will tend! Tend! Today’s rhyming word can be discovered, by adding the letter “T” to “END.” T-E-N-D. Tend means to take care of, to have responsibility for. (Write/affix the word “Tend” on the board.) When you are scared, allow God to tend to your every need. In those moments, pray for loved ones that you care for. I wonder who in your life needs you to pray for them today. As we pray, think of someone in your life for whom you should pray. Why did you think of them? Are they hurting? Do they need to feel peace in their life that only God can provide? How can God tend to them?

Before we pray, to help us remember our “rhyme-time” word, I have a hand motion to teach you. First, place your hands in the praying position. Now, fold all your fingers down except your pointer fingers. Second, raise your finger next to your pointer to have the first two fingers up. Finally, raise the rest of your fingers, placing your hands in the praying position that you might normally take. Three steps.

  1. God – Place your hands in the praying position. Now, fold all your fingers down except your pointer fingers.
  2. Will - Raise your finger next to your pointer to have the first two fingers up.
  3. Tend – Raise the rest of your fingers, placing your hands in the praying position that you might normally take.

Let’s try it while I say the words, then a second time with no words, just the motions. (Walk children through the steps as described.)

Now let’s pray.


God of peace, stay beside me through this day. When I hurt, take away my pain. When I am afraid, remove my fear. Keep me safe. Always keep my heart filled with gladness. Thank you for your love, which is always with me. Thank you for being a God who tends. Amen.

Family Conversation Starters

To assist with conversations within the family during the week, a series of conversation starters has been added to each children’s message series. We encourage families to use these questions to guide them through conversations and subject matter discussed during the worship service, including the children’s messages on Sundays. These conversations will reinforce the learning as and nurture faith formation for the entire family.

  1. Share a time when you felt God calling you to do something. How did you respond?
  2. Give one example of how God used you to share the good news of the gospel.
  3. How does it feel knowing that God knew you first before anyone else (including your parents)?
  4. Talk about a time when you witnessed God giving you the strength to face a challenging time in your life.
  5. Together as a family, listen to the song, “Bound to Come Some Trouble,” written and performed by Rich Mullins. Regardless of age, we will all go through tough times in life. How do the lyrics of Rich’s song speak to you? How do they compare to Psalm 20:1-5, 9, NIRV? How does it make you feel knowing you can rely on the words of this song and the words of the psalmist?
  6. Throughout this worship series, we have used rhyming words—send, mend, depend, and tend—to describe our relationship with God. As a family, discuss how each word makes you feel in your relationship with God. Find other rhyming words to add to the words send, mend, depend, and tend that could describe your relationship with God and one another. Spend time searching the Bible to discover scripture passages that reinforce your “rhyme time” words. How many new words did you discover?

In This Series...

Trinity Sunday, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Second Sunday after Pentecost, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Third Sunday after Pentecost, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes