YEAR A: July 23, 2017
First Reading: Genesis 28:10-19
The Lion Inside by Rachel Bright
(Written for ages 3-5)
Comment: In Genesis, Jacob goes to sleep in what he believes is a barren place where he only has a rock upon which to lay his head. But during the night the place is revealed as a place where God dwells, and upon awakening, Jacob declares “Surely the Lord was in this, and I did not know it!” There was more to this land than he realized. In The Lion Inside, a tiny, meek mouse wishes that he was bold and brave, like a lion, and so he asks a lion to teach him to roar. In conversing with the lion, though, the mouse discovers that the lion, while bold and brave in other areas, is terrified of mice! The lion helps the mouse learn to roar and the mouse helps the lion learn not to be afraid of mice. So, both the mouse and the lion discover that there is more inside them than they expected, more than they realized. Our daily lives as people of faith may not seem very exciting, and yet, like Jacob, God has promised to be with us, and like the mouse and the lion, there is more going on around us than we realize. We may discover, with faithful attention, that the Lord is in this place.
Second Reading: Romans 8:12-25
Have You Seen My Dragon? by Steve Light
(Written for ages 2-5)
Comment: In Have You Seen My Dragon?, a little boy searches all over the city for his missing dragon. Unbeknownst to him, however, the readers of the book can see that the dragon is right there, just out of his sight, having adventures of his own. The boy can’t see the dragon yet, but the dragon is always there. In Romans it says that we hope for what is not yet seen, and we have patience as we hope. We can’t always see the Spirit of God, nor what the Spirit is doing, but all the same the Spirit is there, making our hope worth it. Like the little boy and his dragon, the Holy Spirit is at work in our lives, making us children and heirs, getting ready to reveal us, bearing fruit in us. So, we continue to hope, even for what is not yet seen, knowing that even if it is not seen, it is still there.
Gospel Reading: Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt
(Written for ages 6-8)
Comment: Sometimes in our lives of faith, we worry about what will happen, and what God can handle. In Jesus’ parable, a field of wheat has weeds sown into the midst of it during the night. The workers worry about the weeds being there – should they pull them up? Should they let them be? They’re worried about what is going to happen. The owner says to let the weeds and wheat be, for now, trusting in a bigger plan to come. Jesus makes the same comparison about the kingdom of God, that sometimes we are worried about what will happen, but that God can handle it. In Scaredy Squirrel, a little squirrel creates a specific and detailed plan for addressing every fear he has, but still worries all the time. He is very worried about what will happen in the future, and how it will be handled. But one day, the worst really does happen—he is falling out of the tree, shouting, “This is not part of the plan!”. But, suddenly, he discovers that he is not any squirrel, he is a flying squirrel, and is able to glide his way to safety! He realizes that he doesn’t need to worry so much, because he had this amazing ability all the time. Jesus tells us that like Scaredy Squirrel, we really have nothing to worry about because God is always working in ways that we may not realize until later and God can handle anything in our lives. As people of faith, we can trust that God knows what is going on and that in the kingdom there is always more than our worries.
Thanks to Sara Ann Berger, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, Nachitoches, LA, for writing the Lectionary Links this week.