17th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Year B: July 29, 2018
First Reading: 2 Samuel 11:1-15
Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson
(Written for ages 5-9)
Comment: David, one of the “heroes” of the Hebrew Bible, is revealed to be sinful and covetous in today’s passage. While these abstract concepts may not translate for most children, many will be able to understand the ideas of taking what’s not yours and caring about how others feel. In Woodson’s book, Maya goes to a new school and is introduced to Chloe. Instead of making Maya feel welcome, Chloe keeps her out of group activities and Maya ultimately leaves the school. Similar to the tragic triangle between David, Bathsheba, and Uriah, there is no happy ending here. Both stories display the cost of cruelty.
Second Reading: Ephesians 3:14-21
What Do Roots Do? by Kathleen V. Kudlinski
(Written for ages 5-9)
Comment: The author of Ephesians prays that “Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love.” Children will enjoy the opportunity to explore the unseen work that roots really do – much of which can be useful as a metaphor for our life of faith. Roots keep the plant firmly in one place, just as our trust in Jesus gives us stability when storms threaten to toss us about. Roots draw in nutrients from the soil, just as our spiritual practices (reading scripture, prayer, worship) provide what we need to grow and flourish in our faith. These object lessons will connect with older children while the younger ones will enjoy the rich artwork and learn a little science along the way.
Gospel Reading: John 6:1-21
Just Enough is Plenty by Barbara Diamond Goldin
(Written for ages 3-8)
Comment: In this “story of Hanukkah,” two children worry they won’t have enough to eat for their Hanukkah meal. The family has “just enough” for those gathered – and then a visitor shows up, meaning they’ll have to stretch in order to have enough for him, too. In much the same way, the disciples worry they won’t have enough bread for those gathered to hear Jesus’ preaching. A boy offers what he has: five loaves and two fish, which seems preposterously insufficient. In both stories, the children and the disciples learn that “just enough is plenty” and that when we join together to share what we have, there is more than enough to go around.
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.