Character: Little Bear, with a necklace of beads of various colours, sizes and shapes.
Teddy has brought something special to show us this morning. Yes, it is a pretty necklace! Can you describe the necklace to me? Tell me what you see? Yes the beads are not all the same colour/size/shape/pattern. There are lots of different sorts!
Now come and sit up here, and we'll look at the people in our congregation. They (and you of course) form our church. Do they all look the same to you? No, X is very tall, and others are very short, like Y. Z is quite slim, and others are more rotund, like ... (I’m going to get myself into serious trouble here!) Some have dark hair, others have fair hair; some have grey hair, others (like me) don't have much hair at all. A bit like the beads in Teddy’s necklace – lots of differences.
Now come and sit back down here, and let's look at the necklace again. What do you think is the most important part of this necklace? Yes, the string. Why? Without the string, the beads would go everywhere; there wouldn’t be a necklace at all! Now isn’t it strange that the most important part of the necklace is invisible – it’s something we can't even see! Now here’s a hard question: what do you think holds the people of the church together? What’s the invisible something that makes us ‘church’? I can think of 3 1/2 things! Here are some answers: the love of God which draws us to him as his family; our common belief in Jesus – our faith; our oneness in the Holy Spirit who lives in each of us; and the half – the friendships we form with each other.
Let’s pray, thanking God for the ties that draw us together.