Year C: September 19, 2010
First Reading: Jeremiah 8:18-9:1
Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Weatherford (Written for Grades K to 3)
Comment: “For the hurt of my poor people I am hurt, I mourn, and dismay has taken hold of me.” It is not uncommon to hear it said that in the midst of corruption and evil God is suffering with those who suffer. Often people in powerful seek to claim their power comes from God, but in this story we see God’s presence with those who suffer and those who seek to relieve the suffering of others. In Moses we see that God is with Harriet, when she is enslaved, when she is running, and when she is finally free. Harriet Tubman, like Jeremiah, was a prophetic figure who sought God’s counsel and worked to free hundreds of slaves.
Second Reading: 1 Timothy 2:1-7
I’m Your Child, God: Prayers For Our Children by Marian Wright Edelman (Written for Grades 4 – 6)
Comment: “I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone…” William P. Matthews suggests that this text presumes there is something in everyone for which we should be thankful (Feasting on the Word, Year C, Vol. 4. P.91). This reminder is especially helpful for children who often understand the world to be made up of “good guys” and “bad guys”. Edelman’s book of prayers is written for every child, that all children might know they are beloved and able to make a difference in the world. This book approaches prayer from the perspective of a diverse group of children, with a range of abilities, backgrounds, fears, hopes, and experiences. A variety of prayers are included, from daily blessings to laments.
Third Reading: Luke 16:1-13
The Market Lady and the Mango Tree by Pete and Mary Watson (Written for Grades K-3)
Comment: This parable can be challenging to interpret. What might be most understandable for children is the idea that “you cannot serve God and wealth.” In western society we can see the massive distinctions between those with much and those with little. When one serves wealth, one cannot help but oppress another. Children in the church are familiar with the Bible’s message of care and compassion for oppressed people. To serve God is to act in ways that help others, not harm others. The market lady’s dishonest behavior in turning a free resource into a commodity reflects what can come about in the quest to build wealth at any cost. The market lady is rich, but the children no longer have mangoes. The Market lady eventually suffers from a terrible nightmare, causing her to give up her riches. At the end of the story she is seen giving out mangoes to a large group of smiling children.