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Children's Homily for July 17, 2022: Focus on Jesus (The Rev. Dr. Deborah White)

So, I thought I should take a few pictures of you guys during today’s Children’s Homily because we need some new ones for Grace Notes – okay? (Give them a chance to answer). Okay, here goes. (Pretend to take a photo of one of the children and accidentally take selfie). What do you think of this one? Is it a good picture of _____? (Give them a chance to notice that it’s a picture of me). Okay, I’ll try again. This time I will take a picture of _________. (This time take a picture of someone behind or next to whomever you said). What do you think of this one? (Give them a chance to notice that a took a photo of the wrong person). Oh no! – It looks like I am not doing a good job focusing on what I am doing. “When taking pictures, it is very important to make sure you are focused on the right thing. I was pretty foolish to try to take a picture of [you guys] with the camera focused on [me]… In our daily life, it is important that we focus on the right thing too. Sometimes, we forget what is important and we focus on all the wrong things. That is what our gospel lesson teaches us today.”[1]

Listen to the story again! (Read, “The Best Thing to Do” by Steph Williams).

Martha was trying really hard to make Jesus happy – and she had very firm ideas about how to do that. We get those ideas too! We think that wearing special robes and reading fancy prayers makes Jesus happy. We think that having lots of money and telling people that he sent it makes Jesus happy. Sometimes Reverend Deb thinks she makes Jesus happy by having lots and lots of meetings! But today’s story shows us those ideas are wrong – because in it Jesus tells us what he wants us to focus on. He surprises Martha by telling her that even though he appreciates how hard she is trying to please him, what she was doing wasn’t making him happy. All he really wanted was for people to listen to him - and that’s what Mary was doing.

Now, I know some of you have siblings. Do you ever feel like even though you are being really good they get more attention than you? (Give them a chance to answer). I felt that way a lot growing up; I still feel like that sometimes. But I have also learned (as I’ve gotten older) that my sister is very good at reading and thinking – and when she does it, she is a blessing to other people. That doesn’t mean that busy people like me (and Martha) are not a blessing, it just means that us busy people have to try harder to remember to focus on – who? (Give them a chance to answer). That’s right -Jesus. And that before we try to do things for him – or in his name – we need to listen and talk to him first. And how do we talk to Jesus? (Give them a chance to answer). That’s right: by praying.

So, what do you think? Does that make sense? Can you try to remember to focus on Jesus? (Give them a chance to answer). Do you agree that that’s the right thing to do? (Give them a chance to answer). And what do we say in church when we agree? (Give them a chance to answer). That’s right: AMEN!

[1]Taken from “Focus on Jesus,”

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