Like a noodle! Children’s message about Resilience, Mark 6.1-13 — Ana Gobledale, UK

Photo by Lynn Roberts

Text: Mark 6:1-13  (Pentecost 6, Year B)
Title:  Like a noodle!
Theme: Resilience

Supplies:  Dry spaghetti noodles and cooked spaghetti noodles

Works well for InPerson or Zoom (online) service.

Script with actions:

Good morning. Today we’re thinking about resilience.
I wonder what ‘resilient’ means? Any ideas?  [Wait for any responses.]
If a person is resilient, they are flexible.  They are bendable.  They carry on even through difficulties and setbacks.
I wonder if you think you are resilient. I wonder if you are able to press on when things get difficult. What do you think?  [Wait for any responses.]

What am I holding?  [Hold up one or more pieces of dry spaghetti.]  Yes, I am holding some pieces of dry spaghetti. I’m going to give one to each of you, and I want you to hold it very carefully.  Try not to let it break.   [If in-person, give one to each child. If you feel this is not a good idea, given the children involved, just hold up one piece.]
What will happen to the spaghetti noodle  if we put pressure on it?  [Wait for any responses.]
[If in person, ask children to bend the spaghetti, very carefully.]
[Break your noodle in half.]  It will break! Spaghetti noodles are dry and brittle and they crack and break extremely easily.

What would happen if we did the same with cooked spaghetti? [Hold up a piece of cooked spaghetti, fresh enough to bend easily.]  It bends. It is flexible. It does not break. It is resilient.

Sometimes we might have an experience where something difficult makes us crack (like the dry spaghetti).
I wonder if you have had such an experience.  [Allow children to share if they would like to.]
That is when it is important to ask God to help us be flexible and resilient.

In the Bible story we just heard, Jesus seems to think that his friends might feel overwhelmed by what he’s asking them to do. So he reminds his friends to relax and not worry so much, to be resilient. He says when things get tough, shake the dust off your feet and don’t worry so much.
Sometimes if I’m feeling like I’m going to crack, like that dry spaghetti, it helps to talk to someone about my feelings. And if I’m feeling really stressed or overburdened, it helps me if I think about someone else who also is struggling, who I might be able to help.

Activity: Decorate a footprint with dry pasta as a reminder not to be brittle, but to soften up and be resilient.

This could be done beforehand to share at this point, completed afterwards during the rest of the service or in Jr Church (Sunday School) or as a take-home activity.

Draw an outline of your foot/shoe on thick poster board or cardboard.  Glue pieces of dry pasta inside the foot/shoe outline. Write ‘Be Resilient!’ across the top.  Hang this up at home to remind you not to be brittle, but to be resilient, to soften up and be flexible.

Closing Prayer:

Pray with me.
God, sometimes we feel pressurized or overburdened, even to the point of cracking, like dry spaghetti. Thank you for being with us when things feel difficult. Help us remember to soften up, to lighten up, and be resilient, like a cooked noodle. This we pray, in Jesus’s name. Amen.