Thursday, 12 June 2014

Pentecost energy

Talk about cars, and about the many things that need electricity – how many are there in the hall? Show an assortment of things that move or do something. Solar powered radio, balloon rocket, clockwork toy.What sort of energy do they use? 

They all need energy to make them work.

That’s true for us as well.
You run around. How do you get the energy to do that?
What do we need in order for us to work and move? (Healthy food & water)
 If you don’t eat a healthy diet you won’t have the energy you need.

But sometimes, even when we have eaten, we don't feel we can do the things we need to. We might feel frightened, or just that it is too difficult. We need people to love us and encourage us. It is a different sort of energy.

There’s a story in the Bible about a group of people who had a job to do that felt too hard for them. They didn’t think they could do it. They felt like they didn’t have enough energy or strength to do it.

They were Jesus’ friends, and he had asked them to go out and tell other people all around the world that God loved them. But the world is a big place, and they didn’t even know where to start.

One day, on a special holiday in their religion called Pentecost, they were all gathered together praying to God, asking for help, when they felt a strange feeling, like when you are getting excited about something. They said it was like a rushing wind, except that the wind wasn’t blowing, or like they had flames dancing on them. Suddenly they realised that God would always be with them to help them. He hadn’t left them to do the job on their own.
He had sent his Holy Spirit to be with them.

They were so filled with energy when this happened that they all got up and rushed outside and started telling people about Jesus, and everyone understood what they were saying, and soon their message had spread across the whole world.

Think/pray about the things we need to give us energy - food and water, but also encouragement and love. Thank God for people who encourage us, and for the Holy Spirit of God that is always with us.

Good Samaritan

Show a selection of pictures of people.
My selection included:
A boy wearing Manchester United fan gear
An elderly woman
A child in a wheelchair playing basketball

What can we tell about these people just from looking at the pictures?

(I am glad to say that the first thing the children told me about the child in the wheelchair was that he was playing basketball, not that he was in a wheelchair.) 
We also debated the idea that the elderly lady might be a grandma, and we wondered whether she might be a Man U supporter! We decided that there were some things we could tell from looking at someone but many things we couldn't)

I might be able to tell something about you just from looking at you – girl or a boy, where you go to school… but that wouldn’t tell me everything about you, and I might get things wrong because of it. 

Sometimes the really important things about us aren’t obvious from the outside at all.

Story of Good Samaritan

Jesus was Jewish. He lived in the land of Israel. The people who lived in Israel, liked being there. They were proud of being Jewish and living in Israel. It’s good to feel proud of where we come from and the groups we belong to – Seal School – Yay!

But there can be problems if we think that people who don’t belong to the groups we belong to or come from where we do, or aren’t like this, arren’t as good as we are, and that’s what sometimes happened in Jesus’ country.

In particular, Jesus’ people didn’t get along with people in the next country, the Samaritans.

So Jesus told a story:

There was a man like him, who was Jewish and lived in Israel. He went on a journey – walking to his home many miles away. It was a long journey that took him out into wild country. The cliffs were high and rocky on either side of the road. There was no one to be seen on the road ahead or behind.
Then, all of a sudden, some robbers jumped out from behind the rocks. They surrounded the man and beat him up. Bif, baf, bof. They stole all his money, and even his clothes. Then they ran off and left him there.

The man was still alive,, just. He was badly hurt. He couldn’t stand up. He couldn’t do anything to help himself. The sun was hot, and he felt terrible.

Just then, though, he saw someone. Who was it? Was it the robbers again? No. Good. It was a priest, someone who worked in the Temple in Jerusalem, one of his people, someone who should care for him. Now he would be all right!
The priest looked at him. He was going to help… surely. But the priest just looked away again and kept on going! He just left him there. Maybe he was too busy. Maybe he was frightened. Maybe he thought it was too late. Maybe he thought it was someone else’s job.

But never mind. There was another person coming… It was one of the helpers at the Temple, a man called a Levite, one of his people, someone who should care for him, surely, someone who would help him, surely…

The Levite looked over at him. I’ll be ok now, thought the man. But the Levite just made a face and carried on going. Maybe he was too busy. Maybe he was frightened. Maybe he thought it was too late. Maybe he thought it was someone else’s job.

Was no one going to help him?

There was one more person coming, leading a donkey. But , oh dear, this man was a Samaritan. He could tell that from his clothes. He just looked different. He’d never help. He was from a different country. He wouldn’t care about him.

The Samaritan got closer. He looked over. “if the priest and the Levite – my people, from my country – didn’t help, there’s no way this man will…”

The Samaritan came across the road “ He’s probably going to give me a good kicking to finish me off!”

The Samaritan bent down.
“You look like you need some help. It’s a good job I came along when I did. Here, let me put some bandages on those wounds. Let me put you on my donkey, and we’ll take you to somewhere more comfortable than this.”

And that’s what the Samaritan did. He took the man to an inn where he could be looked after, and he paid for him to stay there too.

And Jesus said. “Who was the one who was really a good neighbour to that man?.”

It wasn’t the one who looked like him, who came from his country. It was someone who was quite different.

Prayer: Help us to help each other. Not just the people who are like us, and like the things we like, not just our friends, but help us to help everyone.

Jesus calls his disciples

Calling of the disciples – loosely based on

 Tell story of calling of Peter, Andrew, James and John (Mark 1.16-20). Think of what it might be like to be fishermen. It would sometimes be frightening, often need patience. You’d have to get along together. You might not know what was going to happen, whether you would catch anything. 

They had learned to be fishermen, but now Jesus was calling them to do a bigger job – to help other people and tell them about God’s love.

Things they had learned as fishermen helped them to do this job too – patience, love, courage.

I wonder what you have learned today that might help you when you are grown up in whatever job you do?

Reading, writing, maths, working together, working towards a goal, coping with struggles and times when it all goes wrong… We can use all these skills to help others..

Reflection: Think about your day. What might you have learnt today that will help you to help others.