Year A: June 18, 2017
First Reading: Genesis 18:1-15
Imani’s Moon by JaNay Brown-Wood
(Written for ages 6-9)
Comment: Sarah had been told that she is going to give birth to a baby, but time has passed and she has begun to doubt the validity of this promise. Sarah takes it upon herself to help fulfill the promise, only magnifying her doubt in God’s promise. In Imani’s Moon, Brown-Wood tells the story of a little girl who didn’t think she could do anything great. Many of the kids in the village teased her and that only made Imani’s self-doubt grow. Her mama told her that if she believed in herself she could do great things. In our Genesis passage today, we find Sarah in the midst of the doubt. Strangers have reminded her of the promise to give birth, and Sarah laughs and questions them. Her laughter and questions show her doubt in these promises to the strangers. For Sarah and Imani, the ability to believe in the perceived impossible is difficult. Children face many tasks that seem impossible, and if we can show them they can trust God’s promises they will make it through. We all doubt our abilities, our faith, God at times in our lives, but it is how we respond to the doubt that matters. Imani responded with a plan, Sarah responded with questions and hope. How do we respond in moments of doubt?
Second Reading: Romans 5:1-8
Three Little Words By Amy Novesky
(Written for ages 5-8)
Comment: Jesus has just informed his disciples that the road is going to be tough, but not to give up. Keep going and good things will happen. In Three little words, Novesky, inspired by Finding Dory, uses Dory’s catch phrase “just keep swimming” and events from the movie to show us that we keep going and we find what we are looking for. Dory keeps swimming. She keeps moving forward no matter what is happening. No matter what we encounter we can keep our heads looking up and moving forward. When life gets tough we need to keep moving forward. Our three little words as Christians could be just keep praying. With older children, you might ask them what three words would encourage them to keep following Jesus when it is difficult. It is always a nice reminder that in life we need to persevere, and as Christians we can rely on Jesus to get us through.
Gospel Reading: Matthew 9:35-10:8
How to Mend a Heart by Sara Gillingham
(Written for ages 3-7)
Comment: In our Gospel passage today, Jesus saw the brokenness in the world as he looked out on the crowd and had compassion on them. He saw the immense amount of work that needs to be done and knew he needed help. He gave the disciples what they needed to follow his command to go to the lost sheep of Israel. We are sent out today to spread Jesus’ love and to heal the broken world. We are given everything we need to follow Jesus and to mend the broken world. In How to Mend a Heart, Gillingham shows children they can join in on mending the world. With gentle hands and caring hearts, everyone can participate in showing compassion to a hurting world. This story really highlights that even the youngest person has something they can offer to mend the world. The only thing we need is gentle hands, compassion, and the love of Jesus.
We welcome back Elizabeth Boulware Landes, Union Presbyterian Seminary alumna and Director of Children’s Ministry at Faith Presbyterian Church, Aledo, TX, as our Lectionary Links writer for the next several weeks.