Pastor’s Reflection on Children’s Sunday
Rev’d. Tanya Stormo Rasmussen
Congregational Church of Hollis, U.C.C.
17 May, 2020
Seven Memory Verses (at end of text)
(First: Invite the kids to talk about their favorite lessons in Sunday School across the past year. Invite parents/teachers to do the same.)
Mrs. Burton & Mrs. Verrecchia and I always talk about the lessons that we’re working on—the themes that we want to focus on for the different seasons and across the whole year. This past school year, as a church family, we’ve been working on a series called “Holy Habits.” We’ve thought about the Holy Habits of Prayer, and of Worship, of Fellowship (or life in Christian community) and most recently in the past few weeks, about the Holy Habit of Biblical Teaching.
In Sunday School, your lessons have all helped you to think about these very things—as your memory verses demonstrate! The Bible has so many things to teach us about how to live our best lives, about how to be happy and find peace even in really difficult times in life, don’t they?
It seems to me that God was at work maybe even before we knew how important these very verses would be, helping Mrs. B & Mrs. V. to find memory verses that can help ALL of us make it through this challenging time, when the world can feel like a dangerous or uncertain place with the coronavirus, and we’re all having to figure out individually and together—children and grownups—how to be faithful and hopeful and courageous.
The thing about memory verses is that when we memorize certain passages, they come back to mind especially during challenging times, to comfort and encourage us when thinking and figuring things out feel hard. That’s why it’s so important to commit important ideas and teachings to memory.
I’ve visited people in nursing homes who have forgotten their own names, and things about where they live—but you know what they remember? It always amazes me. They remember verses from the Bible, and they remember the words to songs and prayers.
I feel confident that all of the memory verses you learned will be super-helpful at various points in your lives. Even for grown-ups, it’s never too late to start memorizing passages that help to guide us: this is one way God works with us spiritually to provide strength. I’m so glad the memory verses are all listed in our Order of Service, because if there are any grownups or kids who haven’t memorized these verses yet, they’re all right there for you. You can hang them on your refrigerator or your bathroom mirror so you can see them every morning and every night and practice reciting them to yourself. These are verses that have helped people for thousands of years to remember that God is always with us, through the good times and the challenging times, understanding and helping us to find our way if we will just trust and believe.
Thank you so much for sharing with us what you’ve learned. Because it reminds all of us, from the youngest to the oldest, that we do our best when we’re learning new things and being reminded of what we’ve learned!
I want to share one final thing with everyone, because I was so impressed with the Church School lesson this past week. At the end of the class, one of the children shared that they were talking to their mom about the story of Jonah. He remembered that Jonah wasn’t doing what God wanted. Jonah tried to get out of doing God’s will and was trying to pursue his own agenda. But things got really rough for him and everyone else. He was on a ship heading for what he thought was a really fun place, but a huge storm kicked up and Jonah eventually figured out that the only way things were going to calm down was for the rest of the crew to toss him overboard into the sea. Jonah was swallowed by a big fish.
And, this wise member of our Sunday/Church School said, “God gave Jonah some time in isolation in the belly of the whale to sit and reflect on what was really important. What God really wanted him to do. I think God is giving us some isolation time to figure out what we’re really supposed to be doing, how we should be treating each other and loving God better.”
Isn’t that great theological reflection?! I was so proud of him, and his family, and our Sunday School. It shows that our kids are receiving some really good instruction at home and in church.
I’m going to invite Mrs. B & Mrs. V to say a few words of appreciation now about our wonderful teachers. When they’re finished, Amy Brosnan (and possibly other C.E. Board members) will say a few words of appreciation on behalf of the C.E. Board for Kim B & Kim V. If you want to applaud, feel free—you can clap your hands or give a thumbs up using the little “Reactions” icon at the bottom of your Zoom screen, or you can type in some notes of appreciation in the Chat box to Everyone.
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank God for all he has done.” Philippians 4:6
“Be joyful because you have hope. Be patient when trouble comes. Pray at all times.” Romans 12:12
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you.”1Thessalonians 5:18
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. Love is not rude, it is not selfish, and does not become angry easily.” 1Corinthians 13:4-5
“The Lord, your God, is in your midst; a mighty savior who will rejoice over you with gladness and renew you in his love.” Zephaniah 3:17