12th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Year A: June 25, 2017
First Reading: Genesis 21:8-21
Barfburger Baby, I Was Here First by Paula Danziger
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: Sarah is jealous of Hagar and Ishmael, and allows the jealousy to overtake her. In their culture the first born son has is the one who matters when it comes to legacies, and her son Isaac is second born to Abraham. Sarah takes things into her hands to get rid of the first born son, so that Isaac will be next in line for the blessing and inheritance. Sibling jealousy is something almost all children will experience at one point on another. For some it’s at the birth of a younger sibling. For others, it is later on in life, as they take different paths, but all siblings will experience it at some point in their lives. In Barfburger Baby, Jonathon is experiencing sibling rivalry of his brand new brother. The book follows him working it out, and figuring out how to be a brother and not an only child. As he figures out the perks of being a big brother, he begins to let go his jealousy. We don’t see Sarah letting go of hers and we can see the trouble it causes.
Second Reading: Romans 6:1b-11
Tough Cookie By Kate Louis
(Written for ages 3-6)
Comment: In Tough Cookie, a gingerbread man cookie gets baked missing an important ingredient: Ginger. Without the ginger he is not really a gingerbread man cookie, and he feels bad about it. The gingerbread man begins to cause trouble in the kitchen to the point that the baker tells him he must leave. The gingerbread man does not want to leave, and the baker has compassion for him. The baker then shows him how to be helpful and teaches him ways he can be a part of the creative process. This compassion allows for a change of heart in the Gingerbread man. In this reading from Romans, we are reminded that we all have tendencies to sin and make poor choices that hurt ourselves or others. But as we join the Christian community, we are shown new ways to live. Like our cookie in Tough Cookie we are given an opportunity to live in a new way for the benefit of the community.
Gospel Reading: Matthew 10:24-39
A Love Letter from God by P.K. Hallinan
(Written for ages 3-8)
Comment: Children hearing this passage from Matthew will be able to identify with Jesus’ command to not fear, and also hopefully with the reminder that we are precious to God. We spend countless hours teaching children that they matter to God just as they. We work to help them know they are special and loved and a child of God. A Love Letter from God, reminds us that we are loved by God and also to trust in God when there is a problem. The sweet illustrations of everyday moments of children coupled with the words help reiterate the concept. No matter what, we are loved by God.. The book ends with “I Love you , My child, so hear what I say: Nothing can pry Me or drive Me away.” We all need to hear from time to time that we are valuable to God, and that we matter, and that in our fear, frustration, sadness, and joy we can turn to God. It’s in our fear that we need this reminder most.
Thanks to Union Presbyterian Seminary alumna Elizabeth Boulware Landes for writing the Revised Common Lectionary Links this week.