Children's Homily for August 21, 2022, 11 Pentecost, Year C: No time like the present


Today we are going to talk about good rules and bad rules. Who can tell me what a rule is? (Give them a chance to answer). Good. Now name some rules for me. (Give them a chance to answer). Do you think these are good rules or bad rules? (Give them a chance to answer). How do you know whether a rule is good or bad? (Give them a chance to answer). Who knows what Jesus taught us about rules? (Give them a chance to answer). Well, today’s story about Jesus helps us to figure that out (Give them a chance to answer).


So in today’s story Jesus was at church with his friends – just like you are – and he looked out at the people and he saw something interesting. Do you remember what he saw? (Give them a chance to answer). That’s right. He saw someone with a hurt back. Have any of you ever gotten hurt? (Give them a chance to answer). It feels bad, doesn’t it (Give them a chance to answer). It feels even worse when you hurt for a very long time – so long that you think you will never get better.


Now, I am going to ask you to do some acting, and for the grown-ups out there to help you with this part. (Call out the names of various people in the congregation that have pains. Have each child assume the painful positions and imagine the aches of one of the people). So, how does that feel? (Give them a chance to answer). Wait! Don’t move! I want you to stay there for a while. In fact, I want you to stay there for 18 years. Is that okay? (Give them a chance to answer). NO? Why not? (Give them a chance to answer). It is hard to be in pain – and it’s really, really hard to think you might be in that much pain for a very long time. Okay, you can stop being in pain now.


What is one of the things we know about Jesus? (Give them a chance to answer). That’s right. Jesus loves us and Jesus wants us to be okay. So when he saw this poor hurting woman, he made her better – right then and there! So that was a good thing, right? But do you remember what happened next? (Give them a chance to answer). That’s right. The leader of Jesus’s church said, “Wait a minute Jesus! We don’t do that on Sundays. It’s not part of the service. You just can’t go around healing people without getting permission first.” Well, what do you think Jesus said to that? (Give them a chance to answer). That’s exactly right! Jesus said that they shouldn’t let that woman go on being in pain for one more minute if they could fix her. He told them that their rule about having special times where it is okay to heal someone was a stupid rule. Why was it a stupid rule? (Give them a chance to answer). That’s right – because it was cruel to make her wait and it didn’t hurt anyone else to heal her right then.


What would a good rule have been? (Give them a chance to answer). Good – to help people when they need it. And that’s how, when someone tells you something is a “rule,” you need to think about what kind of a rule it is. Because sometimes kids will tell you that it’s a rule that the new kid has to go last. Or – grownups – someone will tell you that it’s a rule that only certain people are allowed to marry each other. When you hear one of these “rules,” you need to think like Jesus. You need to figure out whether the rule is there to help someone or hurt them. So, who can tell me a good rule? (Give them a chance to answer). Excellent. And who can tell me a bad rule? (Give them a chance to answer). Good – now you’ve got the hang of it. So, can we all agree to practice thinking about whether or not rules help or hurt people? (Give them a chance to answer). And if we’re having trouble figuring it out to ask people we trust to help us? (Give them a chance to answer). Excellent! So what do we say in church when we agree? (Give them a chance to answer). That’s right: AMEN. Let’s say it together. (AMEN).

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