Year B: September 2, 2018
First Reading: Song of Solomon 2:8-13
The Elephant Keeper: Caring for Orphaned Elephants in Zambia by Margriet Ruurs
(written for ages 5-9)
Comment: Ruurs’ book brings to the pages the real-life story of a Zambian boy Aaron who discovers an infant elephant in the Lion’s Lodge swimming pool. Thanks to Aaron’s attentiveness and efforts, the young elephant is rescued and taken to a local elephant orphanage. The relationship between the two continues to grow, as the elephant will only receive milk from Aaron. This is a beautiful story about the connecting power of love. John Wesley read these verses from Song of Solomon as the Church expressing her love for Christ. One of the primary ways we express our love for Christ is by caring for others, including orphan elephants.
Second Reading: James 1:17-27
Liam Takes a Stand by Troy Wilson
(written for ages 3-5)
Comment: Liam loves his older brothers, Lister and Lester. The older brothers are twins who are competitive with one another. They strive to outdo the other. Liam, however, just wants to play with his older brothers. But they pay him no attention, competing with each other’s lemonade stands. Liam is “slow to anger” and decides to go into business for himself. When paid for yard work in apples, he opens an apple cider stand and before long his older brothers are working for him. Liam is a good reminder that if we react with anger, we achieve little. But when we are “slow to anger” the possibilities are endless.
Third Reading: Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23
The Circus Ship by Chris Van Dusen
(written for ages 3-8)
Comment: Mr. Paine, the circus boss, is a bit of a pain for Mr. Carrington, the ship’s captain. Mr. Paine is a big name with a loud voice. He is demanding and is only concerned with his bottom line. He is not concerned with Mr. Carrington or the circus animals. So, when the ship crashes on the shore of Maine, the animals find a new life in a village. When Mr. Paine comes back, angry as ever, the villagers help the animals hide. In The Message, Jesus says what you “vomit” – or put out – is what you get back. It is a good reminder that the words we say and the way we say them pollutes relationships.
This review is written by Rev. Jason C. Stanley, 2007 graduate of Union Presbyterian Seminary. Jason is an ordained deacon in the United Methodist Church, currently serving as the Coordinator for Church Revitalization on the Elizabeth River District in the Virginia Conference. He is husband to Rev. Megan Saucier and dad to Jayne Carter. He blogs at jasoncstanley.com.