6th Sunday after Pentecost
15th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Year A: July 16, 2017
First Reading: Genesis 25:19-34
My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother by Patricia Polacco
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: Sibling relationships are something special. Whether we have a sibling or not, we can recognize quickly siblings that have close relationships and siblings that struggle to get along. In both our Old Testament passage and My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother, we find siblings that are not getting along. From birth, Jacob and Esau have had a troubled relationship. They live their lives independently of each other until it’s time to think about who will receive the birthright. Esau has something Jacob wants and he goes to all measures to obtain it. My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother takes us through the relationship of a brother and a sister. More than anything, she wants to do something better than her brother and even wishes upon a star to do anything better than him. They argue and challenge each other and older brother always wins. Unlike Esau and Jacob, these siblings are able to work it out and find a deep love for each other, even if they continue to be better than the other.
Second Reading: Romans 8:1-11
The Grudge Keeper By Mara Rockcliff
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: Paul reminds us that in Christ there is no condemnation. Even though we know we will make mistakes and do wrong, we have Christ Jesus in our lives who sets us free and gifts us with grace. The people of Bonnyripple never keep a grudge in The Grudge Keeper. Anytime they have a grudge they write it down and give it to the grudge keeper who keeps it. One day a wind storm comes through town and mixes up all the grudges, burying the grudge keeper below the grudges. As they clean up from the mess, and rescue the grudge keeper, they let all their grudges go. From that moment on, no one keeps a grudge keeper in Bonnyripple. Jesus Christ is the one to whom we can send our grudges along with all the things that we need to let go of. Christ takes them from us and lets them go. We are able to move on from the mistakes we have made because of the grace and forgiveness we receive from Jesus.
Gospel Reading: Matthew 13:1-9; 18-23
Mrs. Spitzer’s Garden by Edith Pattou
(Written for ages 3-7)
Comment: Growing a garden is hard work. It takes patience and attention. We can’t just drop our seeds in the dirt and walk away expecting to see growth the next time we come visit the garden. Jesus uses the metaphor of seeds to show the disciples and us the way faith grows in us. In Mrs. Spitzer’s Garden, we see the hard work of Mrs. Spitzer as she works to teach children through the analogy of a garden. Every seed needs something different to flourish. Our faith is something that we need to tend so it can flourish. We can’t just hear the Word and do nothing and expect our faith to grow. We have to do things that will help our faith grow. As a garden has to be watered and weeded to help it grow, our faith has to be tended to as well. To help our faith grow, we need to read the Bible, pray, go to church. These are all things children can do to help their faith grow.
Thanks to Union Presbyterian Seminary alumna Elizabeth Boulware Landes for writing the Revised Common Lectionary Links this week.