Note: Throughout the evolving COVID-19 situation, we have been reminded (some required) to practice social distancing with “stay-at-home” mandates throughout this country. While it’s important to protect the physical health of ourselves and others, it’s also vital that we embrace our emotional wellbeing and maintain social connections during this difficult time. With the understanding that physical distancing will remove corporate worship as we once knew it, these children’s messages can easily be demonstrated in creative ways through virtual connection and physical engagement only with those around us. We must embrace the core value of our faith and religious traditions to reach out and serve one another as we journey through life. And as we do, we should not abandon our “social” connectedness that we find when we worship.
Take these children’s messages and be creative with the examples provided. Share stories of family parties (find a balloon, paper, and cotton ball in your house) and participate in activities (find a trust partner to stand up) within your own home, while honoring physical distance from others but remaining engaged. Demonstrate understanding of these messages by being creative and using a FaceTime call to show someone else your balloon/paper activity. Make a sheep by drawing a sheep and gluing cotton balls on a piece of paper. Place it in your front windowsill and encourage church members to drive by other families’ homes to look for the cotton balls as a reminder that we all are like sheep. There are creative people out there who are staying personally connected and engaging with others from a safe physical distance. Become those people and come together in these days of isolation.
1 Peter 1:8, New International Reader's Version (NIRV)
8Even though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not see him now, you believe in him. You are filled with a glorious joy that can’t be put into words.
(Props include a balloon inflated with air and piece of thin paper.)
What pictures come to mind when you think of a birthday party? Cake? Candles? Gifts? Balloons? A photo of a balloon might make you think of parties.
Today’s scripture lesson is a letter that Peter wrote after Easter Sunday. He is excited and filled with joy, knowing that Jesus is alive. He tells the reader of his letter, that even though you can’t see Jesus, you love him. Even though we can’t see Jesus now, we still believe. That’s what faith is—believing in something you can’t see.
Hold a balloon in your hand. (Assure the children that you won’t pop or “screech” the balloon.) Ask, “What’s in this balloon that keeps it inflated?”
Air is something we can’t see, but we still believe it’s there. If it were not, this balloon couldn’t be inflated. What if I have a volunteer hold this piece of paper directly in front of him/her (have volunteer hold a piece of paper at the bottom), and I aim the balloon at the paper and take my hand off the end? Let’s see what happens.
See how the paper moves as the air makes contact? Did anyone see the air moving and hitting the paper? No.
You can see the paper move, but you can’t see the air. You believe that there is air. In the same way, Peter writes that even though we can’t see Jesus, we love him. As followers of Jesus, even though we can’t see him, we still believe in him. Knowing on Easter Sunday that Jesus is alive fills us with a joy that is reason to celebrate.
Gracious God of Joy. We give you thanks for reminding us through Peter’s words what faith truly is. Even though we can’t see Jesus, we thank you for his constant love for each and all of us. Knowing how much he loves us fills us with joy. Amen.