Children’s Homily for November 17, 2019: God’s Future (The Rev. Dr. Deborah White)

Updated: Aug 5

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So, today I want to talk to you about how you know things are real. Okay? (Give them a chance to answer). Good. Who has ever been to a fair? (Give them a chance to answer). What did you like best about the fair? (Give them a chance to answer). Well, one strange thing they have at a lot of fairs is a guessing booth where someone tries to guess things about people, like their weight or height or age – without Googling them! You pay them and if they guess right they get to keep your money. If they don’t, they have to give you a prize. Who has ever done this before? (Give them a chance to answer). Now, many of these guessers are pretty good – they have to be or they would never make any money! So, how do you think they do it? (Give them a chance to answer). That’s right. They use clues about you – things that they can see – to figure out things that they don’t know about you. It’s what we call an educated guess. Now, any smart person can make an educated guess and it’s fun to try guessing games, isn’t it? (Give them a chance to answer).


Now, who knows what a magician is? (Give them a chance to answer). (Put on top hat). Do I look kind of like a magician now? (Give them a chance to answer). So, what do magicians do? (Give them a chance to answer). Okay, and what is magic? (Give them a chance to answer). Magic is being able – or at least looking like you’re able – to do unbelievable things. (Give them a chance to talk). So, if I say I am going to make one of you disappear, that would be pretty good magic right? (Give them a chance to answer). (Put the hat over one of their heads and say, “Look, I made her disappear!”) So, you guys knew that was just a trick, but not something real or lasting, right?


Okay, now, how many people here are interested in knowing what’s going to happen to them? (Give them a chance to answer). Lots of people – lots of grown-ups – are very interested in knowing what’s in the future. We do things like having our palms read and reading our horoscopes because we think it will help us know what our future is. Who has tried some of these things? (Give them a chance to answer). Now, one fun way to guess at what our future might be is to get our fortunes. Fortunes are ideas about good and bad things that might happen to us. These aren’t educated guesses. They’re just lucky guesses. Who knows a fun way to get your fortune? (Give them a chance to answer). Well, I think fortune cookies are a fun way, because you not only get the guess, but you get to eat the cookie too! Here are some fortune cookies for you guys to have at coffee hour. (Give out cookies).


So, there are lots of different ways to guess or to pretend we know what’s going to happen to us, but “in our [Gospel story] today, Jesus had some things to say about people who claimed that they could predict the future. Jesus and his disciples were in the temple and the disciples were talking about how beautiful it was with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God. Jesus said to them, ‘The time is coming when all these things will be completely destroyed. Not one stone will be left on top of one another; every one of them will be thrown down.’ The disciples were frightened by what Jesus said. ‘When will these things happen?’ they asked. ‘What signs can we look for that will let us know that these things are about to take place?’ ‘Don’t let anyone [trick] you,’ Jesus answered. ‘Many will come in my name, claiming to be the Messiah, and saying, ‘The time has come,’ [and ‘I am the person you’ve been waiting for’! And ‘Follow me and I will keep you safe’]. But don’t believe them.’ You see, Jesus knew that these people could not see into the future. Only God can do that.”[1]


Now, there are lots of scary things happening in the world right now. What are some of them? (Give them a chance to answer). And those things are very sad and frightening – but Jesus says that we don’t need to be afraid of them, because they give us a chance to think and talk about Jesus – to be brave and help people understand that God loves us and that the only future we need to worry about is the one that God gives us – and if we do that we will be okay. (Give them a chance to answer). So, who knows the future? (Give them a chance to answer). And who is the future? (Give them a chance to answer). That’s right. God is. Does that make sense? (Give them a chance to answer). Okay – and what do we say in church when we agree? (Give them a chance to answer). That’s right. AMEN.


[1]Charles Kirkpatrick, “He Holds the Future,” Sermons4Kids, https://sermons4kids.com/he_holds_the_future.htm.

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