May 20, 2018: Year B
First Reading: Ezekiel 37:1-14
On that Day: A Book of Hope for Children by Andrea Patel
(Written for ages 4-7 years)
Comment: In her book On that Day: A Book of Hope for Children, Andrea Patel seeks to empower children to help the world in different ways, even in the midst of disaster and tragedy. Patel’s words around images of tissue paper collages begin with a large, round, and “pretty peaceful” world, before explaining that “sometimes bad things happen” in this world, specifically the events of 9/11. Yet, readers aren’t left with an image of a broken and hurting world. Instead, Patel offers ways that readers can help the world. In sharing, laughing, playing, and being kind, children help breathe new life into a world where bad things sometimes happen. Ezekiel wrote of God breathing new life into a world that was marked by dry dust and death, providing a sense of hope amidst difficulty and disaster. How might God be working through your congregation to breathe new life into your communities?
Second Reading: Romans 8:22-27
Circles of Hope by Karen Lynn Williams
(Written for ages 5-9)
Comment: Paul speaks to the world’s groaning as we wait for Christ’s redemption of our bodies and of all creation. Paul writes that “the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now.” Yet despite the pain and the groaning, hope still abounds and the Holy Spirit continues to work in the world. Williams tells the story of a young Haitian boy named Facile who wishes to plant a tree in honor of his new baby sister. Planting and nurturing a seed to grow into a tree is no small task, and Facile has to plant a number of seeds. After each failed attempt, Facile asks, “How can I plant a tree that would grow strong?” His problem wasn’t solved until he learned from his uncle that he needed hope to make the tree grow. Hope enabled Facile to come up a solution! Congregations can use this story to begin examining how hope is enabling them to counteract the pains of the world and to participate in God’s redemption of the world.
Third Reading: Acts 2:1-21
(We chose to use the Pentecost story as the third text for today instead of the passage from John.)
A is For Activist by Innosanto Nagara
(Written for ages 3 – 7)
Comment: This text from Acts recounts the events surrounding Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended down to earth. Believers were filled with the Holy Spirit, and they began speaking in different languages, yet they were able to understand one another. Despite the foreign and strange words and sounds that were coming from their mouths, the people, “amazed and astonished,” heard words in their own languages. Told with alliteration and rhyme against the backdrop of beautiful illustrations, Nagara traces the alphabet and provides examples of the different ways people work for justice in the world. Celebrating the diversity of ways people pursue justice is reminiscent of t
Thanks to soon-to-be-graduating Union Presbyterian Seminary student Rosy Robson for writing the Revised Common Lectionary Links the past six weeks.