This embodied faith practice was originally shared as a Children’s Sermon on January 13, 2019 by Rev. Kelly Jane Caesar
Is power good or bad?
Let’s look at water. Water is a powerful force of nature. Water is also associated with the Holy Spirit. (probably because when Jesus was baptized in the river Jordan the Holy Spirit descended upon him.)
Water is powerful.
What is this a picture of?
When water is powerful in floods and hurricanes, what does it do?
Water can be powerful in another way.
When water is powerful in these pictures, what does it do?
[provides nourishment, growth, life]
Water can be powerful in a good way or in a bad way.
Power can be used for good or for harm.
In our scripture this morning we hear about two people trying to use power in very different ways.
Simon wants power to do magic tricks and manipulate people.
Peter uses power to draw people to God and community.
Let us listen.
Scripture: Acts 8:14-24
Peter had the power of the Holy Spirit.
Simon wanted to pay money for it, but Peter says “nope! You can’t buy the Holy Spirit’s power!”
You see, Simon wanted power for himself.
[stand in power pose, fists up]
He wanted power over people.
Earlier in the Bible (Acts 8:9-14), we learn that Simon was a trickster,
a magician who used power to gather a following.
When Peter comes with the Holy Spirit,
all the people stopped following Simon and started following Peter.
When Simon seeks to pay for the Holy Spirit power,
Simon wants the power so he can control the people again.
Simon wants the power for his own personal gain,
So he will be popular and in control.
Simon wants power over.
Power over is not very strong though.
- We get tired easily in this pose
- Easy to push over, because it’s just me by myself. [push an adult over]
The apostle Peter has Holy Spirit power – power with.
Peter lays hands on and blesses people with the Holy Spirit Power.
[power pose of arms blessing, outstretched]
Peter does not hoard this power, instead he shares it with others who are open to it.
HS is power with, a power that connects.
So we can stretch out our arms and connect with others.
[wrap arms around each other]
Peter used the Holy Spirit power to connect people to one another and to God.
Instead of using power for himself, he used power to help the common good.
Like when water is powerful in a good way, Holy Spirit power nurtures growth and new life.
Holy Spirit Power is a power with that is very strong.
[kids try to push adults linked together over]
Power can be good or bad, depending on how we use it.
If we use power over others, we will ultimately fall.
If we use power with others, we will grow strong together.
We all have power.
Sometimes we may not feel like we have power:
we are not the boss, not the president, not the parent.
Yet the earliest disciples of Jesus were not in charge,
they were not Roman emperors,
but they wielded power in such a way as to rock the world.
We all have power.
We each choose how to use that power.
We can attempt to dictate and control, power over. [pose]
However, money or muscle or status will likely defeat us.
We can use power with to connect
and grow a strong community. [power pose]
Even though we know the strength of power with,
Fear that we won’t be enough reverts us to power over. [pose]
Like Simon, feeling unworthy or less than
can incite attempts to grasp control over others.
Let us reflect on how we use the power granted us.
For when we can see the misuse of power,
we can begin to correct.
Prayer: Holy Spirit, send your power on us, that we might grow strong together. Amen.