Sermon on the Sidewalk

Colorful real-life stories of kids, family and an extraordinarily ordinary, everyday kind of faith.

Posts from the ‘Baptism’ category

I look at your heavens, which you made with your fingers. I see the moon and stars, which you created. But why are people even important to you? Why do you take care of human begins? You made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor (Psalm 8:3-5 NCV).

Key Messages Exercise

Key Messages Exercise

“Sexuality is a good and wondrous gift, a rich and diverse combination of relational, emotional, and physical interactions and possibilities.” In partnership with families, ECLC works to “protect and nurture children and youth and provide for their appropriate development,” including “how children and youth are supported and accompanied in their sexual and relational formation” (Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust, a social statement of the ELCA).

Raising sexually healthy children requires a combination of strong relationships, open communication and clear messages regarding values and expectations between parent and child. The church can be a great place to discuss human relationships, sex, and sexuality within the context of Jesus’ invitation to love God, our neighbors and ourselves.

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What is the difference between sex and sexuality? How do the sexual images, message, information and disinformation in media and popular culture impact our beliefs and behaviors regarding sex, sexuality and relationships? How does a black-and-white understanding of biological sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, and sexual behavior fall short of God’s created goodness? Why do we sometimes think very little of ourselves when God loves and values us above all else in creation? These are some of the questions explored together by ECLC confirmation youth, parents and presenters every three years, during the full-day sexuality treat.

IMG_7881Sexuality encompasses nearly every aspect of our being, from attitudes and values to feelings and experiences. It is influenced by the individual, family, culture, religion/spirituality, laws, professions, institutions, science and politics. In addition to being a safe place for discerning how to live faithfully in a complex world, retreats provide confirmands and parents with opportunities to learn new and better ways to be in relationship with one another, and to communicate what can sometimes be awkward, uncomfortable, or challenging topics.

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Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples. —Luke 11:1

IMG_7503If you’re a fan of comic books or superheroes you might visit the Superhero Database. This entertaining collection of favorite (and not so favorite) superheroes, villains, and superpowers is worth a look, but Jesus is missing. So are other superheroes of faith, like Abraham, Joseph, David, and Esther. You’re name isn’t there. Neither is mine. And there’s no mention of God’s powerful gift of prayer.

Last summer I read a post by Sam Williamson, introducing his book, “I Wonder If Sunday School is Destroying Our Kids.” Williamson zeros in on something he calls the “counterfeit gospel of pack-mule-moralism.” The article went into my urgent file. Not because what’s in the article is news to me, but because it’s news to so many. “The Wonder of the gospel is not the love of the beautiful; it’s when Beauty kisses the Beast.” We come as we are to church. God loves us as God’s perfectly imperfect creation. We’re all superheroes, transformed by God’s radical love, and gifted with super powers of prayer.

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Super Powers of Prayer

Like many thriving congregations, Edina Community Lutheran provides milestone opportunities for grafting children into the life of the church; encouraging families to keep the promises of baptism. This month’s faith milestone is an opportunity for kids and families to explore the wonder of the gospel and the super powers of prayer. Together, we string prayer beads, write the prayers for the day, and experience different ways to pray, including a superhero prayer that teaches:

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Introduce families to contemplative prayer. Some may already be familiar with the rosary, or other practices of using beaded strings or tied knots. Anglican prayer beads are a wonderful tool for kids and adults, inviting all ages of prayers into real-life encounters with God; keeping our hands busy and our hearts and minds focused. I recommend using large colorful beads and tipped beading cord for kids:

  1. Prepare kits that include ourĀ superhero prayer beads (PDF) guide and (1) cross-shaped bead, (1) large invitatory bead, (4) large cruciform beads, (28) medium weeks beads, and cording that can be easily beaded by children.
  2. Demonstrate how to make prayer beads, step by step: Begin by folding the cord in half and beading your cross. Next add the invitatory bead and first cruciform bead to both cords. The remaining beads are added to a single cord (half the beads on each side), securing the fourth cruciform bead by threading both ends of the cord through its middle and tying a strong knot.
  3. Teach the Sign of the Cross, Lord’s Prayer, and A.C.T.S Prayer while praying through one of the four group of weeks. There are other prayers available online at pintrest and elsewhere, to use with your Anglican prayer beads.
  4. A Super Powers of Prayer event might also integrate Super Power fun, super powers prayers, the Superman Table Prayer, and signing the Lord’s Prayer.

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