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A Child Shall Lead Them, a Children’s Sermon with a Marching Song September 20, 2015

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Children’s Sermon for September 20th 2015

A Child Shall Lead Them.

(Have the children come forward.)

Which one of you is the youngest? Which one of you is the oldest? Can you make a line from the youngest to the oldest?

Now who is first? It is the youngest.

Now in marching, in order to make you turn around the command is “About face!”

So “About face!” Now who is first and who is last? It is now the opposite. The oldest is first and the youngest is last.

“About face!” now the youngest is again first and the oldest last.

The first shall be last and the last will be first: you merely have to turn around. (I learned this watching Sesame Street.)

We have the youngest first, because Jesus says, “A child shall lead them.” Children shall lead us into the kingdom of heaven.

Do another “About face!” Do you see how the first become last and the last become first?

That is the way Jesus teaches us to repent, to turn around, and how we treat others: the last become the first.

When you are first, notice how everyone is behind you and you cannot see what’s going on. The last people in the line can see everyone else and can see what’s going on.

Do you ever get in trouble in school, because you push and shove when you are in line? You want to be ahead of somebody or not behind somebody, but do you know, no matter what your place is in the line, for Jesus you come first, that is if you allow yourself to come last.

Let’s do some marching up and down the aisle:

This Marching Song:

(Usually really small children enjoy marching like this.)

I don’t know but I been told: echo I don’t know but I been told

Jesus got a heart of gold: echo

He teaches us to do what’s right: echo

To march with him is out of sight: echo

Sound off, one two: sound off, three four.

Sound off, one-two, three-four.


Written by peterkrey

October 5, 2015 at 11:13 am

God’s Bountiful Presence, a Sermon Preached on June 1st, 2014 at Resurrection Lutheran Church in Oakland, CA

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Resurrection Lutheran Church in Oakland, CA

Seventh Sunday of Easter June 1, 2014

Acts 1:6-14 Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35 1 Peter 4:12-14, 5:6-11 John 17:1-11

God’s Bountiful Presence

Today is the seventh Sunday of Easter. That makes a week of Sundays and seven times seven days makes 49 with the fiftieth day becoming Pentecost, which means fifty in Greek. Pentekosta Hēmera means the fiftieth day the Jubilee of words and languages and gifts of the Holy Spirit. In terms of gifts, Pentecost fills us with them spiritually the way Christmas does often only materially. But material gifts and spiritual ones are both important.

Thursday, when I wrote this sermon, was Ascension Day and it is reflected in our first lesson, the Acts reading. Although we seldom celebrate it, Ascension Day is very important. When my father immigrated to this country, he noticed how the pastor of the local Lutheran church was mowing his lawn. Very much shocked he asked, “Do you know what day this is?” The pastor didn’t. My father said, “It’s Ascension Day!” The pastor hurried into his house to check his calendar.

Mostly, however, we do not regard Ascension Thursday. But it is the day that marks the end of Jesus’ resurrection appearances by his ascending to the right hand of God, the Father, so that the words of the prayer come true: “For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.”

We used to always sing an Ascension song in German that I translated into English:

The Lord Christ Jesus rules from Heaven.

To him all power and glory are given.

The whole world is his footstool. (Repeat this line.)

Let all tongues on Earth confess him.

He comes to us with crowns of blessing.

His dominion he shall rule. (Repeat this line.)

The German is very close.

Jesus Christus herscht als König.

Alles ist ihm untertänig.

Alles legt ihm Gott zu Fuss. (Repeat this line.)

Alle Zungen soll’n bekennen.

Jesus sei der Herr zu nennen.

Den man Ehre geben muss. (Repeat this line.)

The way the disciples are gazing up at the ascendant Christ and the two white-robed angels say that you should not be gazing up there, but down here, means that we are to focus on the here and now. Bonhoeffer called us to be this-worldly Christians. You and I are being sent into the world, like the Father sent Jesus – so don’t become so other worldly that you can do no earthly good. Fill this world with the bountiful presence of God. (Like an actor with a powerful stage presence, touch everyone around you with the Holy Spirit.)

The way the disciples were facing the wrong way reminds me of a sitcom on TV. Have any of you ever seen that sitcom on TV called Mash, which has played for years and years? In the opening scene they are all looking out for the arrival of a helicopter and they are all facing the wrong way. Then they have to turn around because it lands behind them. We Christians often face the wrong way focusing on other-worldly spirituality, rather than bringing God’s bountiful presence into our relationships here and now.

My son told me about the old story of Orpheus going to a completely deserted place and playing his lyre so beautifully there that all the plants, bushes, and trees gathered around him to listen, thus changing an arid place into an oasis, into paradise.

The way his music changed a desert into an oasis is the way our knowing God turns a sorry place into one filled by the bountiful presence of God. The bountiful presence of God is brought about by our knowing God, the relational intimacy with the One that makes the beloved community that Christ is praying for come into existence. I myself have always yearned for close relationships because a deeper quality of existence emerges out of them, when Christ is in our hearts.

But the birth of a whole community also comes about by the knowledge of God, the intimate and caring knowledge of God. As a seminarian I wanted to be an inner-city pastor. My internship took place in Cincinnati, Ohio – in an area called Over the Rhine on Race Street, Elm, Walnut, Main Street – where the city had deteriorated. People were down and out for the count. Prostitution was rampant. They even stood soliciting from the front steps of the church. I could tell you all kinds of stories. One fellow in the park across the street from the church would call me “Rev, hey Rev!” making it sound like the dirtiest of all words.

We went to see one fellow, a community organizer, whose ministry was to intentionally foster relationships. He knew about the bountiful presence of God and the community that could come together because he knew about the intimate and loving relationship he had with God and the way others could win such relationships. He would sit down in a Deli of a really depressed area and begin relationships. “I notice that Mary across the street has put a flower pot on her window sill.” he would say, for example. He would get to know people’s names and start helping people notice and see each other and learn each others’ names in that bountiful presence until a community was reborn out of the relationships he instigated. When he had gotten the fire started and relationships began to take, meaning that people saw each other and began to feel the suffering and joy of their community once more, he would proceed to another arid place, where they need to hear the music of knowing God and God’s Words and gifts and the bountiful presence that makes us more than victorious, makes us more than conquerors.

That’s why the disciples’ questions is way off base for the One who showed us the way. “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom of Israel?” Jesus did not mobilize an army and get a military campaign ready to take Ethiopia. No. He sent Philip to the Ethiopian with his bountiful presence and that official of Candace, overwhelmed by understanding the suffering, victorious servant foretold by Isaiah, asked to be baptized and went on his way rejoicing. The Coptic Church has fostered God’s presence ever since. The children in our Vacation Church School would sing

The Ethiopian was rejoicing,

The Ethiopian was rejoicing,

The Ethiopian was rejoicing

to hear the good news.

Philip caught up in the Holy Spirit, shared Christ, the bread of life, the living water, bringing that Ethiopian into the bountiful presence of God filled with the sorrow and suffering that becomes translated into glory.

The disciples also still wanted the old earthly kingdom that fills the world with bloodshed. They still did not understand the mission of Christ. They wanted a kingdom like the other worldly kingdoms, while the beloved community of Christ grows out of relationships, tiny ones, which start out like a tiny mustard seed that grows into a great bush in whose branches all God’s birds can make their nests, sweetly singing birds. The disciples wanted the proud cedars of Lebanon, while Christ kingdom more resembles a humble mustard bush.

The proud cedars of Lebanon stand for earthly empires, while the humble mustard bush stands for the beloved community. But that is not the kind of empire that the disciples want and the way they want Jesus the Messiah to conquer it. They like Peter are still peering into the wrong direction for the bountiful presence of God and God’s beloved community. Jesus has to tell Peter, “Get thee behind me Satan. You do not have God’s things in mind, but those of humans.”

Wherever we are and in whatever place, we have the Father God, whom we know cares about us. We can cast all our anxieties on him, freeing us up to relate to others. Knowing in the Hebrew sense is not a detached and indifferent knowing. It is taking a commitment. It is getting involved. It is participation. (I have to remember that when everyone is dancing and I’m just sitting there.) It is feeling the power of God rising up, ascending in us – not for our own sake, but for our sending into that place without relationships to bring a new quality of relationships into existence. And where our relationships have become stagnant, we can deepen them with self-knowledge, derived from knowing God. In John’s definition, our deepening knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ whom God sent is eternal life.

Somehow I almost see a method here proceeding from suffering and sorrow that Jesus translates into glory. We need to follow Jesus, turn around and face the cross and that will be glory for you and glory for me.

We Lutherans can take an example from this new pope. He is inviting the president of Israel and Palestine, Abbas and Peres, to pray together with him. Now they represent a flagrant and stagnant enmity. Stop and consider. The Palestinians are Semitic too. Both the Jews and Palestinians are Semitic people and he is inviting them to pray together with him for peace. What a bountiful presence of God could come and replace that horrid wall between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, a wall designed to break all relationships. So Christ is praying for us in this lesson. The words of this Gospel for today are Christ’s High Priestly Prayer for us. Christ is therefore also praying for Pope Francis and that attempt at bringing peace into the Middle East. You can tell that Christ is praying for the Catholic Church. How else could Pope Francis have been elected?

And Christ is also praying for you and for this congregation here, Resurrection Lutheran Church and in Swahili and English to be sure. With his prayer he is making us all into Christs for one another, like that community organizer in Cincinnati, like that Big Brother of ours, who died on the cross out there beside the walls of Jerusalem and makes the way straight for us into the beloved community of the bountiful presence of God.

Jesus made the Sea of Galilee into the Sea of Life, filled with all kinds of fish, 173 varieties, bringing completely diverse people into relationships, gently and lovingly learning to know each other whether Tanzanian or Anglo. The beloved community becomes a Sea of Galilee full of the bountiful presence of God. It is separated from the Dead Sea by the Jordan River, which we have to cross – through dying to ourselves and coming alive to God.

So after a little suffering, St. Peter says, “The God of Grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you” as your suffering gets translated into joy, into glory, the glory of the One sent us by God, that glory that Christ had before the world existed, bringing new worlds, new communities, filled by God’s bountiful presence again and again into existence. Amen.

Written by peterkrey

June 2, 2014 at 6:20 pm

Children Awaiting Christmas, a German Song translation

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1. Tomorrow, children, such elation!
Tomorrow is the day, oh girl, oh boy.
Jubilation, what a celebration!
Our house will be full of life and joy!
Just you wait for goodness sake
And it’ll be Christmas Day when you awake.

2. How our Christmas room will glisten,
Because of all the candle light aglow!
To the Yuletide story we’ll listen
About the birth of Jesus here below.
Do you remember anymore, Christmas Eve,
the way it was before?[1]

1.Morgen, Kinder, wird’s was geben,

Morgen werden wir uns freu’n.

Welch ein Jubel, welch ein Leben

Wird in unserem Hause sein!

Einmal werden wir noch wach,

Heissa, dann ist Weihnachtstag!

2.Wie wird dann die Stube glänzen

Von dem grossen Lichterzahl.

Schőner als bei frohen Tänzen,

Ein geputzter Kronensaal.

Wisst ihr noch vom vor’gem Jahr

Wie’s am Heiligabend war.

Written by peterkrey

January 13, 2014 at 11:04 pm

Star over Bethlehem, a translation of Stern űber Bethlehem

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Star over Bethlehem

1. Star over Bethlehem

Show us the way

Lead us to the crib again

Stand where it may

Please shine upon our path

To the manger mild

Star over Bethlehem

Show us the child.

2. Star over Bethlehem

Now you stand still

So that we all can see

God’s wondrous will

Imagine what happened!

No one thought it might

Star over Bethlehem

On that cold night

3. Star over Bethlehem

We have arrived

In this poor stall in which

Such goodness hides.

We’re filled with thankfulness

To our guide so dear

Star over Bethlehem

We’re staying here.

4. Star over Bethlehem

We’re going home.

Your warm and holy light

In us has shone

And all the happiness

We can’t wait to share

Star over Bethlehem

Follow us there.

peterkrey 11/07/2013

For Hannah and Silke

For the German lyrics and melody: Stern űber Bethlehem

Written by peterkrey

November 11, 2013 at 10:57 pm

Posted in My Songs, Translation

Marching with the Children for All Saints, Nov 3, 2013

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We sang, O When the Saints go Marching In, words from Louis Armstrong:


Oh When the Saints Go Marching In

We are traveling in the footsteps
Of those who’ve gone before
But we’ll all be reunited
On a new and sunlit shore.

Oh when the saints go marching in
When the saints go marching in
Oh lord I want to be in that number
When the saints go marching in

And when the sun refuse to shine

And when the sun refuse to shine
Oh lord I want to be in that number
When the saints go marching in

And when the stars begin to fall

When the stars begin to fall

Oh lord I want to be in that number
When the saints go marching in

Oh When Gabriel blows in his horn
When Gabriel blows in his horn

Oh lord I want to be in that number
When the saints go marching in

Oh when the trumpet sounds the call
Oh when the trumpet sounds the call
Oh lord I want to be in that number
When the saints go marching in

On that hallelujah day
On that hallelujah day
Oh lord I want to be in that number
When the saints go marching in

They are marching into heaven. The sun refuses to shine and the stars fall, because it is the end of the world and with Christ, our light of the world, the new world will begin.

Having th e children march sing “O When the Saints” can be followed by this marching chant that we used to do in ST. Paul’s Church School and Day Camp in Coney Island.

I don’t know, but I been told: echo.

Jesus’ got a heart of gold: echo.

To march with him is out of sight: echo.

Follow him and see the light: echo.

Sound off. one, two.

Sound off. Three, four.

Sound off. One, two, three, four.

The children could carry a cross and wave banners depicting the lamb of God and march up the aisle.

Written by peterkrey

November 4, 2013 at 12:14 pm

Posted in Children's Songs

The Tenth Leper: a Children’s Song for Luke 17:11-19

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The Tenth Leper

Spoken: Wow, I feel better!

the Song:

Hey, I’m healed.

Now I’ll be fine.

Thank you, Jesus,

For making me shine.

I was so sick

Life was a drag

My body felt

Like a wet paper bag.

But you healed me

Through and through

And now I’m healthy

Because of you.

Wow, it’s great

To feel so fine.

Thank you, Jesus,

For making me shine.

Hallelujah, I’m healed.

Hallelujah, Oh God of mine.

Thank you, Jesus,

I feel so fine,

You’re the light of my sunshine.

peterkrey with Mark’s help on the melody. 10/12/2013: if you leave a comment, I’ll send you the melody.

Written by peterkrey

October 13, 2013 at 4:10 pm

Christmas Picture and Song for 2012

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2012-21-12 Christmas Picture

Written by peterkrey

April 3, 2013 at 8:10 pm