Year 2: September 15, 2019
Wish by Matthew Cordell
(Written for ages 3-5)
Comment: Last week’s text focused on the relationship between two people; this week’s passage continues the theme of relationship but expands it to include offspring. We explore the story of Abraham and Sarah who long for a child – or, rather, they used to long for a child, but have now moved into a heartbreaking acceptance that they will be childless. Depending on the age of the children you’re working with, you may or may not choose to highlight the implications of childlessness in ancient Israel: the suspicion that infertility is a punishment, the reality that the parents wouldn’t have children to care for them in their old age. This passage offers the opportunity to share with children that not everyone who wants to have a baby can easily do so, and that it can be sad. Conversations with children about infertility need not be overly technical (though, if you’re adventurous, it’s never too early to discuss humans sexuality in an age-appropriate manner) and can help to destigmatize the subject. Cordell’s book about he and his wife’s journey through infertility is a powerful story about maintaining hope in the face of despair. The text says at several points “we hope” – even after “everything stops.” Children will be able to grasp the sadness and disappointment the couple are feeling, especially in the somber images the book contains. This can open up conversations about patience and waiting for something they really, really want. You may wish to explore the idea of waiting for God’s timing – or even the idea that the things we want may never come true in the ways we expect. Still, despite the sadness the couple in Cordell’s story experience, they choose to continue their lives in hope – just as Abraham and Sarah do. They choose to live in a manner consistent with Wendell Berry’s advice: “Be joyful, though you have considered all the facts.”
Thanks to Union Presbyterian Seminary alumnus Joshua Andrzejewski for writing the Year 2 Narrative Lectionary Links.