Known by Name

Pressing On

Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A

The word for today is presence: God’s abiding and constant presence — not a random, “force-like” presence that just is. This is an intimate presence, a personal presence, a presence that knows your name. What a proclamation to bring this week! You are known. In our over-mediated society, it is often the individual who gets lost in the mass of voices and noise that surrounds us. There are many in your congregation who can attest to feeling lonely in a crowd. This week could be an antidote to those feelings.

Moses and the Glory of the Lord

12 Moses said to the Lord, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people.’ But you haven’t let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, ‘I know your name. I know all about you. And I am pleased with you.’ 13If you are pleased with me, teach me more about yourself. Then I can know you. And I can continue to please you. Remember that this nation is your people.”

14The Lord replied, “I will go with you. And I will give you rest.”

15Then Moses said to him, “If you don’t go with us, don’t send us up from here. 16How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and your people? You must go with us. How else will we be different from all the other people on the face of the earth?”

17The Lord said to Moses, “I will do exactly what you have asked. I am pleased with you. And I know your name. I know all about you.”

18 Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”

19The Lord said, “I will make all my goodness pass in front of you. And I will announce my name, the Lord, in front of you. I will have mercy on whom I have mercy. And I will show love to those I love. 20But you can’t see my face,” he said. “No one can see me and stay alive.”

21The Lord continued, “There is a place near me where you can stand on a rock. 22When my glory passes by, I will put you in an opening in the rock. I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23Then I will remove my hand. You will see my back. But my face must not be seen.”

Prop: Security blanket or stuffed animal to represent “presence” and security

Children’s message

This is Laity Sunday. Laity Sunday is a time to celebrate that ALL of us are the church. It is a time to share how all people live out their lives by following Jesus. Part of being the church is to serve in the church. God speaks to or calls each of us to do the work of Jesus in the world today. It is a day where we all think about how we might serve more passionately and use the gifts that God has given to us by sharing the love of God with others. This is a day where we should share the story of what life was like before Jesus, how we heard God’s voice speak, and the difference it made after we become followers of Jesus.

Do you have a special blanket or stuffed animal that when you hold it you feel safe? Think of Linus from Charlie Brown’s neighborhood. Do you know Linus? If you do, you know that Linus always had his blanket. That blanket was his security, and it reminded him that he was safe.

In some ways God is like that. God gives us security and makes us feel safe. We believe that God is present everywhere in heaven and on earth. There are times in our lives when we need and want to feel God with us. God always challenges us to do more than we think we can.

When God speaks to us and gives us guidance and direction, we sometimes refer to that as God “calling” us.

When God calls you, you don’t answer the same way you would if someone calls you on the phone. You don’t answer God’s calling with words only. You answer in how you live your life. God has called some people to serve in ministry as pastors or Sunday school teachers. God has called others to show the love of Jesus to the world in many ways. God has called (name a child) to show the love of Jesus, and God has called (another child’s name) to show the love of Jesus also, but it may look very different. Each person God calls has a unique way of showing God’s love to others.

God loves each of us like God loves all of us. God knows each of us by name. God’s call to us will come in a way that we might not expect. God may ask us to do something that we don’t think we can do. Each person’s call will be different. Sometimes it might be hard to hear God’s voice speaking to us. That’s when it is helpful to have someone point out that God may be speaking to you.

(You may want to inject an adult or older youth to tell their “call” story).

Did you know that God is calling you too? You can answer the call by serving Jesus Christ. You don’t have to wait until you grow up. There are many, many ways to show your love for God and serve Jesus.

Let’s discover three ways that each of us can respond to God’s call and show the world how much God loves it. Raise your hand and tell me one way you can serve God. Let’s count the three ways together. (Have the children show that they are counting on their fingers while you come up with three examples). Discovering the way of serving God that is right for you can bring you the greatest joy that you will have in your life.

Prayer: Here I am, God! I know that you are calling me to love you and to serve Jesus, no matter what my age. Help me to hear your call and find ways of service and love that are right for me. In Jesus’ precious and strong name, Amen.

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

In This Series...

Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Reformation Sunday, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes