Year A: April 27, 2014
First Reading: Acts 2:14a, 22-32
City Dog, Country Frog by Mo Willems
(Written for ages 3-6)
Comment: City Dog and Country Frog come from two very different backgrounds, but both are looking for a friend. They share what they know about being friends and develop a genuine love for one another. Mo Willems has captured the story of a friendship that transcends boundaries in City Dog, Country Frog. There are aspects of life that are not limited to one country, one culture, one generation, one class; rather they are available to all. The good news that Christ is risen is one of these. It is available to all who will listen. The reading from Acts gives us a nugget of Peter’s speech to all gathered on the day of Pentecost. The verses preceding this morning’s text describe the Spirit’s descent among all those present. With the Spirit came the ability to hear and understand each other. Peter’s words are heard and understood across many languages, cultures, classes and generations. Peter’s words continue to be heard around the world.
Second Reading: 1 Peter 1:3-9
My Great-Grandmother’s Gourd by Cristina Kessler
(Written for ages 5 and up)
Comment: The early church shows us what it means to have genuine faith. It is a faith marked by praise in the moments of joy, and praise in the moments of sorrow. Like the Christians Peter is writing to, we have never seen Jesus, but we love him. We are able to love and believe in Jesus because we have examples of people who have loved and believed in Jesus. The stories have been passed down to us. We continue to allow the old stories to interact with the new stories. In My Great-Grandmother’s Gourd, Fatima learns the importance of continuing to look to her ancestors. As a new water pump comes to her village, the village puts their faith in the water pump to continue to work when the rains stop. Everyone in the village wants to abandon the old way of making it through the dry season, except for Fatima’s grandmother. The grandmother continues the old way of digging the trench to collect water to be stored in the baobob tree. As the dry season comes, the village learns they put their trust in the wrong place, and the life they inherited from the past is still vital for their future. Fatima learns to trust what she inherited from her ancestor through the example of her grandmother. Like the Christians in the early church and Fatima, we all have people we look as examples in our life of faith.
Gospel Reading: John 20:19-31
Just How Long Can a Long String Be? by Keith Baker
(Written for ages 3-5)
Comment: Martin B. Copenhaver points out that we do not know whether Thomas actually reached out and touched Jesus’ wounds and goes on to speculate, “perhaps it was enough for Thomas just to know that Jesus cared enough to give him what he needed, that Jesus did not despise his doubt.” (Feasting on the Word. Year A Vol 2 pg 396). In Just How Long can a Long String Be?, Baker explores the concept of need. Little Ant asks Bird , “Just how long can a long string be?!” Bird asks quite a few questions – wondering if the string will be tied to a balloon, part of a garden, a jump rope, or part of a bird nest. Little Ant responds to Bird’s questions. “Thank you bird! Now I see a string’s just as long as I need it to be.” The Jesus Thomas meets in that moment is the same Jesus that we meet. It is a Jesus that cares for us so much that he takes us as we are. He welcomes our questions and our doubts. He rejoices with us and cries with us. Jesus knows what our needs are and meets us there..
The Lectionary Links this week are written by Union Presbyterian Seminary alumna Elizabeth Boulware Landes. Elizabeth is Director of Children’s Ministry at Faith Presbyterian Church, Aledo, TX.