Monday, August 31, 2009

Sermon in a Box

Here at the Pulpit in the Sky, the most disconcerting aspect of preaching is "Sermon in a Box" - this is my term of endearment for the Children's Time when each Sunday at each service one of the children brings forth a box which they had been given the prior Sunday. Whatever is in the box will then be revealed and the preacher will in a mystery of faith connect to a theme of the sermon for the day. Last Sunday when I was the preacher, I got a purple crayon at the first service. I bought myself some time by commenting about how purple was my favorite color. Then I asked if this crayon was a part of a box of other crayons. It was. A little more time about whether it was the small box or the really great box with like 100 or so and the "built in sharpener." Right I was on the latter. I talked about no matter how great the purple crayon was, the pictures we made with it could never be as great as the pictures that used lots of different crayons. The purple crayon was a part of something bigger, just like we are not meant to stand alone but be a part of something bigger-God's household. God intends us to be a part of that larger picture. Some other things filled in around that.

Second service I got the box and it contained two stuffed animals- both were dogs. One was a black and tan beanie baby type dog and the other was a chubbier husky type dog. I asked the owner if the dogs had names. They did. I held up the husky and asked it's name- "That one doesn't have a name." THUD. I asked about the other dog- turns out his name is Buster. Then I was told that I squeezed the stomach of the "Dog with No Name" it barks. We experimented with that. Really not finding much to say I finally bumbled onto each of the dogs was special in a different way- the way it looked, whether it had a name, or it made a cool barking sound. Both are in the owner's house. They each have different gifts. Each of us has different things that make us special- our gifts- we are all a part of God's house and it takes all of our gifts to make the house complete. I asked the kids to think about the things that make their friends special this week. WHEW!

These box sermons are a challenge. At each service I gave the box to a new child. There are two rules for the box contents- Nothing living and nothing dead. Deciding to have a little fun and knowing my supervising pastor would be preaching next, I encouraged the kids to live in God's freedom ( part of my sermon ) and that there were no rules. We all chuckled and the service continued.

SO this week in the box, a bottle of electric purple nail polish called "Funky Fingers." Lots of long pauses and a recognition that "Stump the Pastor" may have been achieved. Followed by, I must say, a really great save by the pastor. That was really funny but now I realize there may be a payback in my future.

I think maybe we need to add a new preaching course at LTSG-On the Spot Preaching!


Bill C said...

Truly awesome work, and...Yes. I would be expecting a payback, too. Very quick on your feet. Well done!

Kelley said...

This is similar to what my internship congregation did, too. I hated it at first (I'm such a planner, I have difficulty with being put "on the spot"), but I grew to love it - it meant no struggling over what to say for the children's sermon on Saturday night!