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Children’s Homily for June 20, 2021: Rock the Boat! (The Rev. Dr. Deborah White)

Updated: Jul 15, 2021

Today we are going on a boat ride! Here are your crew hats. And here is our boat. Climb on the boat with me. All aboard! Isn’t it a great day for a boat ride with your friends? Let’s see. Who is here today? Do you know who else is in the boat with us? God is in the boat with us – because God is always with us no matter what! Who believes that? I’m glad that so many of you believe that – because sometimes grown-ups have a hard time believing that – especially when things around you are especially scary. Because it’s hard to remember things when you are scared, isn’t it? You forget what you’re supposed to do and how to act Do you know the disciples forgot too?

I want to show you how it happened to them. Let’s pretend that instead of being on our nice, quiet boat ride on this sunny Sunday we ae out fishing, and we were working very hard. Our friend Jesus is with us. Jesus is so tired that he falls asleep in the boat. Suddenly it starts to rain and then there is thunder, and the sea gets very rough, and we get very afraid. And THEN we notice that Jesus is sleeping! Jesus is sleeping when we are very scared! Why isn’t he scared? Let’s wake him up and find out. Wake up Jesus! Wake up! We are scared! (Suddenly Jesus wakes up and yells): “WHY ARE YOU SO AFRAID? I’M RIGHT HERE!” Oh. You guys. Wow. Did you hear that? Jesus told the disciples that even though he was asleep and even though it seemed like he wasn’t paying attention he was still right there with them! But they forgot! Why do you think they forgot? They forgot because they were scared!

We STILL do that all the time! Okay. Tell me some of the things that scare you. What else? Those are very scary things! And what do you do when you get scared? Do you always do the same things? Have you ever gotten really scared and just felt like you couldn’t do ANYTHING? Sometimes that happens. Sometimes we get so afraid that we don’t know what to do and we do nothing. We forget that we are not alone.

Well, we can fix this. We may not be able to get in a boat with Jesus, but we can remember that whatever boat we are in, God is in the boat with us. Who remembers what we call the part of God that is with us always in our hearts? That’s right – the Holy Spirit! And how can we talk to God through the Holy Spirit? That’s right. We can PRAY. It doesn’t have to be a fancy prayer. Who knows a prayer you can pray when you are scared? Good! How about just, “Help me God! I am afraid! Help me to be brave!” And it will work!

There is something else to remember too. When we say that we are “Christian,” that means we are saying that we have agreed to ride in a boat with Jesus. Except it is less like a fishing boat than like a Coast Guard ship. Who knows what the Coast Guard does? That’s right. They SAVE people! So, instead of trying to catch fish, we are supposed to try to find people who need to be saved – people who are sick or who don’t have enough to eat or somewhere to sleep or who don’t have enough happy thoughts to get up in the morning. We are all in this boat together and sometimes the water around our boat is rough – and sometimes we have to rock the boat to make sure we’re paying attention – that we are still doing our job. It can be scary when the boat gets rocking – but we know what to do when we are scared, don’t we? That’s right! We remember that God is always in the boat with us – and is always paying attention, even when it doesn’t seem like it – and if we need to make sure, what can we do? That’s right. We can pray! So, can we all agree to do that? And what do we say in church when we agree? That’s right: AMEN. Let’s say it together. (AMEN).

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