My Father's House: A House of Prayer - Not a Marketplace -
Themes: Cleansing the Temple, House of Prayer, Room for all Nations
Text: John 2:13-22 (Lent 3) Cleansing of the Temple
Basic Children's Sermon Idea: Set up some barrier or obstruction so that the children can’t come up to their usual place at the front of the church. They will have to watch from far off. Act out Jesus overturning the tables of the money changers and cleaning the temple thus making room for the children to come in and worship. Welcome the children to come right up front for debriefing and prayer. (Note: The Gospel of Mark seems to indicate that one of the things that angered Jesus so much was that the Gentiles couldn’t worship with all the commotion going on.)
Objects Lesson props: Some boxes, a non breakable plate and a tin with some loose change.
Full Children's Sermon: Good Morning. It’s the time in our service to do the children’s story but unfortunately this morning there isn’t enough room for you children to come right up front. The isle is blocked off with these boxes and tables this morning so you’ll have to watch from a distance. There’s just not enough room up here this morning. (Find some way of blocking off the isle. Use boxes or stretch some flagging tape across the center isle. Set up some other boxes up front. On one of them place a plate with a can of change or other “money changer” paraphernalia. For dramatic effect you could get a member of the congregation to sit at the money changing table.) This morning children I want to tell you about a time Jesus got pretty angry. He came into the temple where people worshipped and he found them buying and selling things, making lots of noise, and there were even animals walking all over the place. This was in an area where the Gentiles (the outsiders) could come and worship God. But this was impossible to do because there was so much buying and selling going on! Jesus was so angry he drove all the animals out and overturned the tables of the money changers. (Overturn the tables (i.e. boxes) and “cleanse the temple” so there is room for the children to come in.) As Jesus was doing this he said “My Fathers House shall be called a house of prayer (for all nations) but you’ve turned it into a den of thieves!”
After doing that I’m sure there was room for the outsiders to come in and worship. (Go down and break down the barrier keeping the kids out. Lead the children up front to where you normally talk to them and pray. (When I did this I got the congregation to give a big cheer.)
Prayer: Thank you God that Jesus cared so much about the temple being a place of prayer for everyone. Thank you God for this place where we come to pray and to worship. God, help us to remember that although we have lots of fun here the most important thing is that it is a place of prayer and worship – in Jesus name. Amen