[I invite the kids in costume to come up and sit in sanctuary]. OK who is has a scary costume on? [They stand and I describe the costumes] Who is wearing a super hero or a princess?
[Describe the costumes] What else do we have? [I describe those costumes]
OK, now think . . . is your character good or bad? Whose is good? [They stand and I put on Olaf hat – from Frozen] Whose character is bad? [They stand and I put on a witch’s hat]
The funny thing about these costumes is that they don’t really describe us very well. You see NONE of us is either bad or good. We are, instead, both bad and good.
When are we bad? [Elicit responses]
When are we good? [Elicit responses]
And here’s the thing . . . God loves us either way. God does not just love you when you are good. God loves you even when you do something bad. Of course God wants us to do good and to be good, but we can’t always. There are times when we hurt others or say mean things. Does that mean we are bad? No. It means we need to keep working and trying hard.
God forgives us. Just like the story of the Prodigal Son. Remember that [Explain the story and how the Father comes running out to hug his wayward son.]
Our response? To love God in return, as Jesus talked about in the gospel. Not just “thinking about it,” but to love God with our whole heart, soul, strength and our mind. That means with everything we got. It also means to thank God often for all that we have, like when we say our prayers.
But then we are asked to not only love God, but to love others also. Yes, even the bad people because just as you are both good and bad, so is everyone else. And we can’t just get stuck on someone’s bad points. It’s important to look for their good points also.
God looks beyond the masks we wear and recognized the real person underneath. We are invited to do the same.