16th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Year B: July 22, 2018
First Reading: 2 Samuel 7:1-14a
Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: “I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day…” In this passage, the prophet Nathan relates to David a message about how big and uncontainable God truly is. Very often, we try to contain or even obtain God; perhaps David is trying to manipulate the Lord. In Extra Yarn, Annabelle finds a mysterious box with an unending supply of yarn. After knitting sweaters and hats for every person (and animal!) in town, she is approached by an archduke who first tries to buy the box, then steals it. For him, the one trying to harness its power, it is only an empty box. When it returns to Annabelle, who allows the power to work through her, she discovers there will always be “extra yarn.”
Second Reading: Ephesians 2:11-22
Sam, the Most Scaredy-Cat Kid in the Whole World by Mo Willems
(Written for ages 5-6)
Comment: “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God.” Christ’s reconciliation brings us into relationship not just with God, but with our fellow neighbors – even those whom we might not choose as members of our own family. Sam and Kerry each have friends who are monsters, but their fear is directed at one another (readers might recognize they have different skin colors). When the monsters leave them alone to “figure it out” for themselves, the two children discover all that they share in common – and what makes them unique! This story highlights the beauty of God’s kingdom, in which we rejoice in our similarities and differences, discovering that “Christ is our peace.”
Gospel Reading: Mark 6:30-34;53-56
I Love You Because You’re You by Liza Baker
(Written for ages 3-5)
Comment: Jesus sees countless needy people in this passage, and has compassion on them. The passage doesn’t go into detail about who these people are, what their background is, where they are from – or give any details at all about what Jesus saw in them that merited his compassionate care. His self-sacrificial love comes to them simply because they are human beings, created by God. This message of unconditional love is beautifully recreated in the images of a mother who shows love to her child in all circumstances: when he is sad, playful, proud, angry, frisky, sick, and happy. Children can learn that however they feel, whatever they do, God will always love them.
The Revised Common Lectionary Links this week are written by Joshua T. Andrzejewski, chaplain for pediatrics and women’s health at VCU Health in Richmond, Virginia. Josh is a husband and father, an alum of Union Presbyterian Seminary, and a member of the Presbyterian Church (USA) Vision 2020 Team.