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By Richard Niell Donovan
OBJECTS: A dead or dying leaf that is no longer connected to a plant. Also, a potted plant with leaves that are in good condition.
(Show the children the dead leaf, and then show them a leaf on the potted plant.)
I have two leaves here. This is one of them (show them the dead or dying leaf). This is the other one (show them a leaf on the potted plant).
What is the difference between this leaf (the dead leaf) and this leaf (the one on the potted plant)?
(Be ready to think on your feet, because children can give unexpected answers. In this case, they might say that one leaf is bigger than the other one––or that one leaf is green and the other one is brown––or that one leaf is dead and the other one is alive. To the extent possible, affirm each answer.)
There are lots of differences between these two leaves, aren’t there! This one is big, and this one is small. This one (the one on the potted plant) is green, but this one (the dead one) is brown. This one (the one on the potted plant) is alive, but this one (the dead one) is dead.
If you were going to be a leaf, which one of these two leaves would you rather be? (Be ready to think on your feet––and to affirm the answers).
If we were going to be a leaf, we would rather be like this leaf (the green leaf on the potted plant), wouldn’t we. We wouldn’t like to be like this one (the dead leaf), would we. This leaf is dried up and dead. We would rather be alive and healthy, like this leaf (the one on the potted plant).
The big difference between these leaves is that this one (the dead leaf) is no longer connected to the plant on which it grew. This one (the leaf on the potted plant) is still connected to its plant. That connection is what gives it life.
Jesus said that we’re like that. He said that, if we are to be alive and healthy, we need to be connected to him––just like this leaf is connected to its plant.
But how can we be connected to Jesus? What can we do to develop a strong relationship with him?
For one thing, we can do what you did today. You came to church, where you could worship Jesus––where you could learn about him––where you could pray to him.
Another way to be connected to Jesus is to try to live like he would want us to live. He wants us to love one another. He wants us to treat each other with respect. He wants us to be honest. When we try to live like Jesus wants us to live, that helps us to be connected to Jesus.
Copyright 2012, Richard Niell Donovan