3rd Sunday in Lent
Year A: March 19, 2017
First Reading: Exodus 17:1-7
Thirsty Thursday by Phyllis Root
(Written for ages 3-7)
Comment: Out in the wilderness without water, the people are thirsting. Their thirst leads them to grumble, complain, and quarrel with Moses. If they don’t get water, surely they will die. Much like the people, the flowers on Bonnie Bumble’s farm are so thirsty, it’s affecting their moods: they are snapping, growling, and ready for a fight! This text and story make me think a lot about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs- the people and flowers remind us that when our most basic needs go unmet, it’s hard to beam, jump for joy, or trust that God is indeed with us. Invite your community to consider who has acted as Moses or Bonnie Bumble in their own lives when they’ve metaphorically or literally thirsted.
Second Reading: Romans 5:1-11
Yeti and the Bird by Nadia Shireen
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: While we were still weak, God showed God’s love for us. This message is an important one to share with young children, focusing on the idea that being loveable isn’t a requirement for our being loved. God doesn’t ask us for perfection before loving us love, God love us right in the midst of our weakness and brokenness. Yeti’s story reminds me of this kind of love. All of the animals in the forest are afraid of Yeti, but not the little bird. Even when Yeti yells at her, the bird treats Yeti as a beloved friend. The beauty of this story is that Yeti begins to embody his belovedness after the bird treats him as beloved. Perhaps this is the beauty of our salvation, too.
Gospel Reading: John 4:5-42
Chee-Kee: A Panda in Bearland by Sujean Rim
(Written for ages 5-9)
Comment: Educator Carolyn Brown suggests sharing a bit about how others would have seen her: a despised Samartian, a woman, unpopular, “a real loser.” I can only imagine that this same refrain was on repeat in her own mind as she walked alone to collect water from the well. After constantly encountering the ways he is different from the bears living in Bearland, Chee-Kee, an immigrant panda, feels like a real loser, too. “I won’t ever fit in,” he thinks as he sits alone in a tree. This text and story take unexpected turns when these loser nobodies become real somebodies.
Thanks to Union Presbyterian Seminary alumna Noell Rathbun for writing this week’s Revised Common Lectionary Links.