26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Year B: September 30, 2018
First Reading: Esther 7:1-6, 9-10, 9:20-22
Queen Esther Saves Her People Retold By Rita Golden Gelman
(Written for ages 5 and up)
Towers Falling By Jewell Parker Rhodes
(Written for ages 8-12)
Comment: These passages from Esther tell us the end of the story, but they do not tell us how we got here. For younger children and children who are unfamiliar with the story, telling the whole story will help these children understand the scripture and the importance of the brave actions Queen Esther took to save her people. Gelman retells the Biblical story in Queen Esther Saves her People with simple language and stays faithful to the Biblical text. In Towers Falling, young Deja is starting 5th grade at a new school. During the year, the children are learning about the events of September 11th, which Deja knows nothing about. It hit to close to home for her family, and so they have not told her about it. From the window in her new classroom, she could see the skyline that was missing the towers. At the beginning of the year, Deja ask about the point of learning history but as the year progresses, she begins to see how something that happened before she was born continues to affect her life. In her bravery she unpacks the events, and helps her father begin to heal. The scripture concludes with a command to observe Purim every year. It is a command to remember the sadness turned to joy, with celebration, even though it happened before everyone alive today was born. It is the history of God’s people and history continues to have an impact on the present.
Second Reading: James 5:13-20
A World of Prayers Selected By Jeremy Brooks
(Written for ages 4-10)
Comment: In these last verses of James we are reminded of the times when we should pray. We pray when we have joy, are sick, have things to confess, or are suffering. James tells us to pray often and with faith in the power of prayer. Prayer has the ability to heal the mind, body, and soul and to bring about what we need, as the Scripture reminds us with the example of Elijah praying for rain. Prayer is something we all share across the world. Prayer keeps us connected to one another, even if we don’t know one another. A World of Prayers is a collection of prayers from around the world for different points in the day. This book provides examples of prayers for the children to hear and then be challenged to create one with their own words. My husband and I say the same prayer over and with our kids at bedtime. My favorite moments are when they begin the say the prayer for themselves and then it morphs into a prayer of their own words. These written prayers provide a framework for young children to learn how to pray. Prayer is powerful and achieves things beyond our imagination.
Gospel Reading: Mark 9:38-50
The Bad Mood and the Stick By Lemony Snicket
(Written for ages 4-7)
Comment: Moods are contagious. When we are with grumpy people, we can become grumpy. When we are with happy people, we can become happy. In the Bad Mood and the Stick, we follow a bad mood cloud as it goes from person to person and a stick that brings people joy. An ice cream shop owner, Bert, finds the stick covered in a cocoon and it brings him joy, so he puts the stick on display. As other people see the stick, their moods are changed until the whole town is affected by it. Jesus tells us in these scriptures verses that we are salt. This is a seasoning that we put on foods to make them better. We can make the world a better place, like Bert who did something small and simple to change the town. When we share ourselves with the world, we act like the salt Jesus tells us we are.
Thanks to Elizabeth Boulware Landes, associate pastor of children and youth ministry, for writing the Revised Common Lectionary Links this week.