Anna's Hosannas!
Free Worship Resources for Use with the Lectionary
First Thoughts: This Sunday is a pretty big Sunday in the liturgical year, with a lot of competing things to celebrate.  But my guess is our kids are mostly interested in one thing - Halloween is tomorrow!  I thought I would try to make a tie-in between Halloween and this reading from Joshua - working a little All-Saints in there for good measure.  Basically, to prepare for this lesson, I want to invite you to think of a time you were on a journey into the unknown.  Was it frightening?  Exhilarating? Who did you look to for support?  Where did you find peace?  

Props You Will Need: Halloween stuff (optional); teddy bear or some other "comfort"  for Leader 2

Teaching With a Team
(Leader 2 has some Halloween stuff on.)
Leader 1: Hey, (name).  Looks like you're ready for Halloween!
Leader 2: Yes, I am.  I am ready to trick or treat.  And this year I've finally decided - I'm going to the haunted house!
Leader 1: You are?
Leader 2: Yes.  I've been too scared to go for the past three years, but it's time for me to face my fear.
Leader 1: You're very brave.
Leader 2: Yes, well, I'm not going along.  I'm bringing my teddy bear with me.
Leader 1: Oh, well that helps.  You know, the people of Israel were facing a frightening adventure too.  They had spent years in the desert, following Moses who God had used to free them from slavery.  But now Moses was gone, and they were worried that God was gone too.  They might just be lost in the desert forever!
Leader 2: Oh, that is a scary story.  I'm glad I have my teddy.
Leader 1: But of course God wouldn't leave them alone.  He sent them a new leader, Joshua.  Then God did a miracle, to remind everyone that he would never leave them.  God opened up a river, and made a dry path for them to walk on.  And that's true for us too.  God sometimes leads us into some pretty scary places, and we don't always know where we're going to end up.  But God never leaves us alone.  God goes with us, and God sends other people to go with us too.  Like Joshua.
Leader 2:  And like teddy!  Do you think God will be with me in the haunted house?
Leader 1: Of course. And I'll go with you too!

Teaching On  Your Own: Are you guys ready for Halloween?  Me, too.  And you know what I'm going to do this year that I've never done before?  Go to a haunted house!  For three years now I've been wanting to go, but just couldn't get my nerve up.  But now I'm ready, because I've got a friend going with me (show teddy).  You know, our scripture today tells us that the people of Israel were on a new adventure, and it was sort of scary for them too.  You see, their leader Moses, who had led them out of Egypt and then in the desert for forty years - he was gone.  And they weren't sure what was going to happen next.  Would God still lead them?  But God didn't leave them alone.  God sent them a new leader named Joshua.  And because God knew that they were frightened, God sent them a big sign to show them God was still with them.  God actually parted the waters of a river, making the land dry so they could walk across.  It's true for us too.  As Christians we're on an adventure too, and we're not sure where God will lead us.  But God never leaves us, and God also sends other people to go with us too. So even if that haunted house is scary, I know I'll be okay.  Cause teddy will come with me, and God will too.

Closing Prayer:  God, thank you for leading us on this great adventure, and for promising us that you will be with us every step of the way.  Remind us that, even if there's a river in our path, you can make that river dry enough for us to pass safely.  In Christ's name we pray, Amen.

Follow-Up Lesson: A nice way to follow up this lesson would be to help the kids make worry stones.  Give the kids some background on the worry stones, that people keep the stones in their pockets and rub them between their fingers to remind them that God is with them all the time.  You could pick out some nice smooth stones, and allow the kids to paint them and/or mark them with a cross or other meaningful symbol. Involve the kids in a discussion about things that worry them.  What can they do when they're afraid to remember God is with them?  Call a friend?  Say a prayer?  Get in bed with mom and dad?!