Sunday, May 15, 2016

United in Love around the World

By chance, this is the second year in a row in which I have given the Children's Message on Pentecost Sunday. Last year I used wooden blocks to talk about Pentecost being a reversal of Babel. This year the pastors were preaching on the global United Methodist Church, with an emphasis on the UMC in Africa. So I decided to do a little geography lesson with a globe and a special focus on UMs in one African country, because I think it's important to expose kids to the idea that there are people who are like and unlike them around the world.

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All of [the disciples] were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” ~ Acts 2:4-12 (NIV)

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Good morning! Welcome to Pentecost Sunday at Faith United Methodist Church. Pentecost is sometimes called “the birthday of the Christian church,” and United Methodists are one kind of Christian. If I wanted to find United Methodists, where in the world would I look? Can you help me find places on this globe where United Methodists live? [Start with the United States, then see what they come up with. Also Phillipines, South Korea, India, Poland, France, Honduras, Angola, Rwanda, Mozambique, South Africa, Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania.] What do you think it’s like to be a United Methodist in Mozambique? [Go to church for Sunday School and worship, they read the Bible to learn about Jesus, etc.] Did you know that in Mozambique, the people there typically speak a Bantu language and Portuguese? So their Bibles aren’t in English like ours are; their Bibles are in their Bantu language or in Portuguese.

In the Scripture lesson for today from the Book of Acts, we read about the Holy Spirit descending on Jesus’ disciples after his death and resurrection. The Holy Spirit helped the disciples spread the Good News about Jesus Christ in many different languages, so that people from all around the Mediterranean world could hear and understand. Today there are 196 countries in the world, and United Methodists are spreading the love of God in 135 of them. That is Good News indeed!

Shall we pray? Amazing God, send your Holy Spirit to unite your church in love around the world. Amen!

1 comment:

  1. Very good. I love the information included.

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