Year A: November 27, 2016
First Reading: Isaiah 2:1-5
No! by David McPhail
(Written for ages 5-9)
Comment: “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” This is a powerful text for all times. Children and adults alike ache for the peace described in this text. McPhail’s book consists of powerful images of war and cruelty which lead to a child shouting, “No!” What follows is a visual transformation from violence and war to peace. Invite children to visually engage with the text by reading it alongside this picture book that ends with tanks pulling ploughs and bombers dropping bicycles.
Second Reading: Romans 13:11-14
Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses by Kimberly & James Dean
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: In calling the Romans to put on the armor of light and be clothed in Christ, Paul is encouraging them to embrace a different perspective on life; to see, live, and act in the world as Christ sees, lives, and acts. Grumpy Toad offers Pete a new perspective when he invites him to wear his cool, blue, magic sunglasses. “They help you see things in a whole new way.” As you read this text and story, invite your congregation to share their own stories of being clothed in Christ and seeing things in a whole new way.
Gospel Reading: Matthew 24:36-44
If You Want to See a Whale by Julie Fogliano
(Written for ages 5-9)
Comment: In his letter to the working preacher, David Lose reminds us that “this passage bids us not just to wait, but to keep awake, and to watch, and to be prepared.” He goes on to call this good advice for the beginning of Advent when “[there] is so much that can distract us from the life of faith, from service to neighbor, from recognizing God in our midst.” (http://www.workingpreacher.org/craft.aspx?post=1560) Fogliano gives similar advice in her story of whale watching. If you want to see a whale it requires time “for waiting… for looking… for wondering,” not becoming too comfortable and falling asleep, and not allowing your mind to be led by distractions. As you compare the journey of whale watching with the journey of Advent, wonder together about the things that distract us from recognizing God.
Thanks to Union Presbyterian Seminary alumna Noell Rathbun-Cook for writing these Revised Common Lectionary Links.