Year C: October 9th, 2016
First Reading: Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7
Blackout by John Rocco
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: Jeremiah writes to all the people who have been taken into exile. The lives have been disrupted and they are in a far away, strange land. They face a decision—whether to long for their former land, or to make a life where they are, for however long they are there. God wants them to do the latter, to build houses and plant gardens, to have families, and to pray for the place they live now. In Blackout, a family has grown accustomed to the busy sounds of their city, and to the busyness of their lives. But when the power goes out all over the city, causing a blackout, they have to decide: will they mope about the loss of their usual routine, or find a way to enjoy the new darkness? They choose the latter, and go on the roof to see the now brighter stars, and meet up with other neighbors who have come out, and have a party with them. Just like the family, and the exiles, we will go through changes and upheaval in our lives. But God doesn’t want us to give up and be defeated by these changes. Like the family in the story, we can find something beautiful in it, and like the people Jeremiah speaks to, we can build and plant and pray, wherever we are.
Second Reading: 2 Timothy 2:8-15
I Like Myself! By Karen Beaumont
(Written for ages 4-7)
Comment: In 2 Timothy, the reader is told to “present yourself to God as one approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed”. Being one of God’s people, a worker on behalf of Jesus Christ and his gospel, is a self-esteem boost like no other. This letter says, ‘because of who you are, live like someone who has no need to be ashamed’. In I Like Myself! the little girl doesn’t feel any need to be ashamed. She likes herself, every single thing about herself, because “I’m me!”, she says. Her joy and sense of approval propel her to declare all the things she likes about herself, no matter what, even if she has horns or spikes or a snout! As people approved by God, we are workers who have no need to be ashamed, no matter what we endure, or what hardship we encounter. We can declare with the same joy and boldness, that we are unashamed, knowing who we are.
Gospel Reading: Luke 17:11-19
The Thank You Book by Mo Willems
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: In The Thank You Book, Piggie tells Gerald that she is going to thank every single person who has ever helped them, played with them, or been their friend. Gerald is worried that she will forget someone, and she does – she forgets the readers of the book, who have been with them on every adventure. But once she remembers she offers profuse thanks to the readers, who, like the characters in the book, have been a part of the books, and helped their stories come to life. In this gospel passage, Jesus heals ten men with leprosy, sending them off to the temple to be declared clean, and all of them head off eagerly. But then one of them realizes he’s forgotten something. He remembers that he hasn’t said thank you, and he turns and thanks Jesus for healing him, giving praise to God. Sometimes we forget to give thanks—to other people who have helped us, and to God. But even if we forget at first, it’s important that we remember again, and turn and praise God for everything, and give thanks.
Thanks to Sara Anne Berger, Union Presbyterian Seminary alumna and minister at the First Presbyterian Church, Nachitoches, LA, for writing the Lectionary Links this week.