Yesterday saw my first talk at our Family Eucharist – a small, late morning, Sunday service in our chapel at St Mary’s during term-time, designed for infant and pre-school children and their families. We were celebrating the Feast of St. Matthew, so here’s my take on explaining his calling:
At the beginning of the talk I made sure each child had at least 3 coins each from my family collection of old and foreign money which we call our ‘funny money’ pot.
Read the bible story from the Lion’s Children’s Bible.
Matthew is a very bad man, collecting money from people to give to the Emperor and keeping some of it for himself.
So if I’m Matthew, you’ve got some money, and you’re going to give me 2 coins each to give to the Emperor, yes? Get the coins off the kids.
So I’ve got… count coins… and here’s me giving ….. count half the coins…. to the Emperor (set aside), and the rest is mine, right?
No? Not right?! What should I have done? …
But what you didn’t know is that the Emperor only asked for one coin from each person, and I made you give me 2 coins each so I could keep the rest for myself!
Which isn’t very nice is it. No. Does that make Matthew a bad person? Yes it does!
But Jesus asks this bad person Matthew to go with him and be his friend. In fact they even have a party together with a load of Matthew’s friends who possibly weren’t very nice either.
People couldn’t understand all this being friends with people who didn’t appear to be very nice, because they took money off the people in their town, and kept some for themselves.
Surely if Jesus was a good person he wanted to surround himself with other nice people, not nasty, bad people like Matthew?!
Wrong. Jesus deliberately wanted to have people around him who needed to be made better inside.
He wanted to make bad people into nice people.
He wanted people who were greedy, to understand they needed to become generous.
And to help them do that, he wanted to be their friends.
Jesus loved the bad people, especially the bad people, even when they had done greedy, nasty things.
We’re celebrating the Feast of St. Matthew today because he became one of Jesus’ special friends, someone who saw Jesus after he was killed on the cross and rose again at Easter, and went on to tell lots and lots of other people how the love of Jesus had changed his life.
So if I’m playing the part of Matthew, what do you think I ought to do with this money, now I know I’m loved by Jesus, and he’s my best friend?
Give it back! Here you are, here’s the money back. Give my share the money back.
Shall we pray? You can repeat what I say after me if you want to:Thank you Jesus,
That you want to be
the friend of everyone,
even when people
have done bad things.
Thank you Jesus,
that you love us so much,
you want to help us
be and do good.
After the prayer I told the children that if they kept their ‘funny money’ safe until the end of the service I would swap it for some ‘special money’ before they went home if their parents were happy with this. The special money was of course chocolate money, and it meant I got to talk to every single child/family before they went home, and got our ‘funny money’ back for use another day!
PS: Sorry about the font changes… WordPress being weird; not used it for a while and stuff had changed, typically!