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Derek And The Lamb

Children's Liturgy and Story
Call to Worship:
Jesus said, "Peace be with you. You are witnesses to the living Christ." Let us welcome the living Christ in our worship today.

Invitation to Confession:

Jesus, sometimes we are frightened and anxious.
Lord, have mercy.


Jesus, sometimes we aren't good witnesses to you.
Christ, have mercy.


Jesus, forgive us for all those things we think and do which we know are wrong.
Lord, have mercy.


Reading:
Luke 24:36b-48

While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." [37] They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. [38] He said to them, "Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? [39] Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have." [40] And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. [41] While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, "Have you anything here to eat?" [42] They gave him a piece of broiled fish, [43] and he took it and ate in their presence. [44] Then he said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you--that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled." [45] Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, [46] and he said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, [47] and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. [48] You are witnesses of these things.

Story:
The disciples could hardly believe they were seeing Jesus, but he assured them that he was real, and no ghost. Although we're unable to see him today in quite the same way, he is real and we can experience him in different ways. In this story, Derek has an experience of God.

Derek And The Lamb
From his bedroom window Derek spotted a strange sight. He couldn't quite make out what it was, but he could definitely see movement in the hedge at the far side of the field. Derek decided to investigate.

He pulled on his old trainers and a sweater and ran across the road. It was a large field, and you had to walk all the way round the edge so as not to spoil the barley which was growing, so it took Derek several minutes to reach the hedge. As he drew near, he could hear a faint bleating, although there were no sheep in this field or in the field next door.

The hedge was thick and very spiky since it was made of hawthorn. Derek could hear the bleating much more clearly now, and he spotted a tiny lamb which was caught in the thickest part of the hedge from the field next door. Every time the lamb moved, it rammed itself deeper into the hedge and impaled itself on the vicious hawthorn spikes. Derek tried to worm his way through the hedge, but it was too thick. He couldn't get through, and he had already scratched himself quite badly on the thorns.

He stopped for a moment to catch his breath. For some reason he felt rather anxious about the lamb and knew he had to free it, but he didn't know how. He tried a quick prayer, "Please God, tell me what to do," then it occurred to him that he might be able to help if he approached the lamb from the other direction. He turned round and ran back along the edge of the field until he reached the gate into the next field, then he clambered over the gate and ran all along the boundary of the next field until he reached the lamb.

Then he slowed down, and began to talk very softly and gently. The lamb's eyes were rolling back in its head, and it looked terrified. Derek approached really slowly talking all the time, then he held out his hand and let the lamb sniff at him. After a while, the lamb grew quieter and began to lick his hand with its rough tongue. It was such a delicious feeling that it sent shivers up Derek's back and made him squirm.

Gradually Derek drew closer to the lamb, until he was able to get both arms around the lamb's middle. Then, still speaking as gently and as quietly as he could, Derek eased the frightened animal out of the thorn hedge and set it on its feet. Just before it gambolled off across the field, the lamb turned to Derek and bleated loudly.

Derek felt the most wonderful sensation of love pour into him. He'd never felt anything like it before, and it made him gasp. Then a verse from the Bible popped unbidden into his mind, "The least you do for one of my little ones, you do for me." Derek noticed that his own hands and arms were full of nasty scratches which were bleeding, but he didn't care. He felt a terrific sensation of freedom and joy, and he knew that somehow or other, today he had been in the presence of God himself.

Activity:
You need:
A number of small cards
Pens or felt tips or crayons

Take the children into church and ask them to go round the church and identify different members of the congregation, e.g. the organist, the choir, the churchwardens, the sidesmen - and some that are more difficult because they're more hidden - e.g. the flower arrangers, the cleaners and polishers, those who care for the fabric. This could also be an interesting activity for the adults, most of whom won't know who does what!

The children could ask the adults why they do what they do for the church. They may say, "Because I love flowers (or music or whatever)" or they may say, "Because the Vicar asked me to", but something about doing it for God might emerge. If it doesn't, point out that without all these people helping, the church wouldn't exist. God relies on us all working together, because that way his love is seen more clearly and all these activities become a witness to God. God is within all these activities, and people do them to the best of their ability because actually, even if they don't recognise it themselves, they're doing them for God.

Get the children to make and colour a number of small cards which say something like, "Thank you for working with God. You help to show that God is in our church. Matthew 25:40" and give them to everyone in the church who does any sort of job for the church or the community (but be careful not to let people feel left out!)

Diary Time: For details, click here.

Ask the children whether any of them have had an "experience" of God. Some might have had a special feeling, or a special time, some might have a special place where they go to be with God. Explain that God is always with us, and is therefore to be found in all sorts ordinary activities. Elicit from them how they might identify God within different situations - perhaps through a feeling, or the words somebody says, or an unexpected moment which "clicks" for them, or the answer to prayer, etc. They may have many different ideas. When you've talked together about God's presence, invite the children to write down or draw their experience of God.

Intercession:
Lamb of God, help everyone in your Church to identify you in everyday life, so that we may offer your hope to the world.

Lamb of God, be with those who are trapped in painful or violent situations, both here and abroad. May those who are victims of war know your presence with them, and may those who are victims of domestic violence receive your strength and support, and the ability to change their situation.

Lamb of God, we hold our own community under the spotlight of your presence. Help us to see Christ in each other, and to treat everyone we meet as though we were meeting you.

Lamb of God, we pray for those who are sick and those who have recently lost someone they love. May they all draw comfort from your very real presence with them and may they know your strength in their lives.

Blessing:

May you receive the intuition to identify the risen Christ.
May the risen Christ free you from all that entraps you,
and may you know the risen Christ in your lives.
And the blessing of God almighty,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
be with you now,
be in your homes and in your families
and with all those whom you love
and for whom you pray,
now and always.
Amen.

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