I’ve used this exercise with children during worship a couple of times with success, although it does take some preparation: Before worship, you will need to ask a couple of parents/guardians of children attending the worship service to participate; they will need to stand in the vestry or a room right beside the chancel area where they won’t be seen, but they can be heard. They will also need to listen to your cue, so they can call the name of their child at the appointed time. This children’s sermon can be used effectively when the theme of the day centres on ‘hearing the voice of God’ — when Jesus talks about being the shepherd of the sheep who recognize his voice (John 10:16); or, when Samuel first confuses God’s voice for the prophet Eli (1 Samuel 3:1-20). An appropriate hymn, “Hear I Am, Lord” (WOV #574) can follow
Good morning! The Lord be with you!!
When you can’t see someone, can you still tell who is calling you? Let’s say the person is in another room and they call your name — can you tell who it is?
Let’s see if you can tell, okay? Let’s hear someone’s voice …..
Who’s voice is that? …. Your parent! Good! Let’s hear another ….
Who’s voice is that? …. And that’s your grandmother! Wow! You’re really good!
How can you tell who’s voice it is when you can’t see them with your own eyes? …..
You know them, already. Right? You’ve spent enough time with them so that even when you can’t see them, you can still recognize their voice.
Our relationship with Jesus is a little bit like that. Because we don’t always see Jesus, we can still learn to recognize/to know his voice. How do you suppose we can learn to know the voice of God? What are the kinds of things we can do to get good at hearing Jesus’ voice? ….
We can spend time in prayer. We can sing the songs of worship. We can be with other friends from church. We can read and hear the stories in the bible. We can learn about God in Sunday School. We can help others in need. We can practice looking for God whenever we feed the hungry and help the poor. Etc. Etc.
There are all sorts of ways we can get good at knowing God, so that when Jesus call us, we’ll be ready to hear him, and do what is asked of us.
Let’s pray: Dear Jesus, thank you for knowing and loving us like a good friend. Help us to get to know you, so that we can tell it’s you, when you call us. Amen.