This children’s sermon was given August 30, 2020, during our global pandemic, so it was received virtually. I’m adding it here in case it can be helpful to someone.

Good morning, girls and boys! I hope you’re doing well, now that school has started. I bet school looks a lot different than usual, huh? But somethings don’t change. Sometimes we get answers right and sometimes we make mistakes. Have you made any mistakes this week? Mistakes are part of life. We can’t always get the gold star at school- or even in our faith—how we think about God.

This makes me think of a story. Jesus took the disciples to Caesarea Philippi where people worshiped a Greek god named Pan, and he asked, “Who do people say that the son of man is?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah,[c] the Son of the living God.” And Jesus said, Blessed are you, because God must have told you that! And I’m going to build my church with you and give you the keys of the kingdom…he gushed on and on! Peter must have felt so good! Jesus was giving him a gold star! It feels so good when you have the right answers, doesn’t it?

But in today’s scripture, later in the very same chapter, something different happens. Jesus is telling the disciples hard things. He was going to have to go to Jerusalem, where he would suffer. He was even going to die, and then be raised to life. Peter was shocked and pulled him aside, and said something like, “No never, that can’t be true. This won’t ever happen to you!”

Did he get the gold star then? No. Jesus told him he was wrong. He even called him Satan. Peter had wanted Jesus to always be the winner- never to have bad things happen to him. I understand that, don’t you? Jesus said that he would indeed have to go through suffering, doing hard things.

And that’s not all. He said WE would have to too. “Whoever wants to be my disciple must take up their cross and follow me.”

What do you think that means? To take up your cross? To me it means to look around and see what needs to be done- what people need. Then do the hard work to take care of them. It isn’t always easy or fun. We have to be brave and strong to do hard things. Do you remember the verse from VBS? Be brave and strong. Don’t be afraid, for God will be with you wherever you go.

We won’t always get the gold star, at school or in our faith. All we can do is to keep listening and learning, and doing the best we can. Our teachers will help us when we get things wrong. And in our faith, God will help us – through the Bible, the people around us, or maybe God speaking into our hearts.

It’s all we can do, and it’s enough.

Let’s pray: Dear God, thank you that even when we make mistakes in our faith, you are there to guide us back. Help us to be brave and to always listen for your truth. We love you, God. Amen.