July 10th was a “Messy Church” experience with worshipers seated at tables and being involved with hands-on activities throughout the service.
Jesus’ friend, Peter, wrote a letter to churches all around, to help them understand how to love Jesus and live together as Christians. “I know you have been scared and sad,” Peter wrote. It was true. Lots of people hated Christians and tried to hurt them. Peter gave them words of hope.
“You believe in Jesus,” he wrote. “You won’t be sad and scared forever.” Peter was proud of the way the people loved Jesus. “Show love to each other. Remember that you are brand new people because of God’s love. Everything on earth fades away, but God’s love lasts forever and ever.”
Talk about what it means that everything on earth fades away. Show the kids the potted plant. Will it last forever? What will happen to it? (it will wither and die eventually) Then show them the rock. Will it last forever? What will happen to it? (it will wear away to dust) Show them the diamond. Talk about how diamonds are the hardest things on earth and are very, very old. Will it last forever? No! Just like the rock, it will someday wear away to dust. Nothing on earth will last forever.
Talk about how God’s Word/love does last forever. And since God loves us and sent us Jesus, one day we will be with God forever and ever. How cool is that?
We have been living through some tough times. Times that have felt discouraging, scary, challenging, sad, sometimes even hopeless. We have seen and known failure. We have seen and known loss.
But… we have seen glimmers of hope…
We have seen the joy in children’s faces. The resiliency of those who try and fail and try again. We have seen the outpouring of love and support for those who are in the midst of struggle. We have seen communities come together to grieve, to share feelings, to vision a new tomorrow. We have heard promises of new life, new hope, new ways being. We have seen the beginning of what could be.
It isn’t easy. It’s isn’t without difficulty. And, not all of us will see the great new future in store. But we hope and we love and we give and we teach each other, so we can teach the next generations, so we can build a world as God intended… Because God’s love and promises never fail, they are eternal and they can be our hope.
So, I wonder what is bringing you hope today. I wonder what has caught your attention. I wonder what you can pass on and share.
TABLE ACTIVITY: Congregational Art
Over the course of this series on 1 Peter, we will be adding to a mural, art and words depicting the themes and imagery of the letter. This is a creative expression of what you are thinking, learning, hoping or praying for.
Some ideas of Themes/Images for 1 Peter 1
New life/new birth; Living hope; “Prepare your minds for action.”; “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord endures forever.”