Ephesians 2:14-15, NIRV (New International Reader's Version)
14Christ himself is our peace. He has made Jews and Gentiles into one group of people. He has destroyed the hatred that was like a wall between us. 15Through his body on the cross, Christ set aside the law with all its commands and rules. He planned to create one new people out of Jews and Gentiles. He wanted to make peace between them.
Prop: Small bicycle that resembles a first bike a child would learn to ride. Make sure it has visible training wheels.
Theme: Peace for all people.
Bike theme: Getting on the bike with training wheels to get a sense of balance and peace.
What is the first thing you must do to learn to ride a bike? (Allow children to respond.) Those are all good things that we must know. If I have never been on a bike before, I think I would want to know how it feels to hold the bike steady and balanced. How can I do that if I never have ridden before? (Allow children to answer.) (Point out the training wheels.) These are training wheels. What do training wheels do? (Allow children to respond.) That is right. These little wheels help keep me balanced when I get on the bike for the first time. I know that the bike won’t sway or fall over with the training wheels fastened on my bike. It gives me peace, knowing that I won’t have to worry about falling over when I get on the bike.
In the letter to the Ephesians, Paul writes about peace. What is peace? (Allow children to respond.) Peace means several different things. It could mean being calm and quiet. It could mean that there is no fighting or arguing among people. It could mean not getting upset or having bad thoughts. Paul writes, “Jesus is our peace.” In Jesus, we should find peace and comfort. Jesus wants all his followers to experience a peace that we can have even when life, like a bike, may seem unsteady or out of control.
When I think of peace, I think of calm stillness. When I think of getting on a bike for the first time, I would be worried about falling over and getting hurt. When I get on a bike with training wheels, I feel calm. I think of peace and have no worries.
Paul reminds us that Jesus himself is our peace. Just as I can trust in Jesus, I also feel this sense of peace in everything I do, including getting on this bike with training wheels. No matter how out of control things might seem, through Jesus, we can experience peace.
Let’s pray: God of love. God of peace. Thank you for reminding us, through Paul’s letter, that there are many ways to feel peace. No fighting. No war. No noisiness. Thank you for the calm presence of your son, Jesus, who is our peace that is always with us. Give us peace, O God. Amen.