This children’s sermon was given to our livestream congregation during the coronavirus pandemic, April 26, 2020.

Good morning girls and boys! How are you doing? I’ve been missing you! I hope I’ll see you this week when we have our Zoom Funday School.

Today I wanted to talk with you about family traditions. Do you have any in your family- things that you always do together at certain times? Maybe you have them and you don’t even know it! These last few weeks we’ve had some family birthdays, and as I always do for 30 years, I got this HAPPY BIRTHDAY sign to put on the front door and another in our dining room where we have cake, and one of my kids said, HEY! IT’S THE BIRTHDAY TRADITION! When I put it up, I remember so many of those birthdays from the last 30 years.  The tradition helps me feel close to those little children who are now grown-ups!

We have church family traditions too, don’t we? For eight years now we’ve had a party after worship in May for our fifth graders, when we can celebrate each one and share three words that describe them. We take a picture together. I hang them in my office. Each year I remember our other years, and then I look out into the youth department and I see how they’re growing. This is the picture we took the first year we had the party and now these fifth graders are about to graduate from high school!

Traditions are so important because they remind us what is important- who is important- and they help us feel close to those people, even as life changes, even if they’re not around us anymore.

Jesus knew how important that would be for people who loved him- and for people who love him now. Do you remember what tradition he started the week before he died and rose again? We’re going to do it today. It was what we call the Lord’s supper, communion. The disciples went with him into an upper room, they shared the Passover meal, and at some point, Jesus served the first communion with bread and wine.

In today’s scripture story, Jesus appears to some of the disciples on a walk, but they don’t recognize him. It’s only when they ask him to stay, they have a meal, and then he blesses the bread and breaks it- just like he had the week before!- opened their eyes to recognize him and then he disappeared. Jesus knew that this tradition would help us remember him, even hundreds, thousands of years later. What a treasure this tradition is when we can quiet our minds & remember him.

Let’s pray: Dear God, thank you for traditions and memories. Thank you for Jesus who taught us how to love and live with each other and serve each other, and still teaches us. We love you God. Amen.