Year B, August 2, 2012
First Reading: 2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33
Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You by Nancy Tillman
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: This week’s Old Testament passage deals with violence and death. This is not a passage geared for children. Yet, in the midst of the battle and death of Absalom, we hear and see King David’s love for his son. The passage begins with David’s request to “deal gently” with Absalom and ends with David weeping for his son’s death. Nancy Tillman writes about the unconditional love that is shared between parents and children. Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You reminds children that anywhere they go and in anything they do their parents’ love is going with them. This love will surround them even if they cannot feel it or see it. David’s love for his son went with Absalom even when they were at war with each other. David’s love for his son kept him from focusing on the fact that he won the war. Instead of celebrating he mourned the death of Absalom.
Second Reading: Ephesians 4:25-5:2
Confessions of a Former Bully by Trudy Ludwig
(Written for ages 8-12)
Comment: Children are gearing up and getting ready to head back to school. For some this might be a scary time and for others it might be a time to reinvent themselves. In the passage from Ephesians, Paul is encouraging the church to live out the new life in Christ they have all received. With competing information vying for our attention, it is a nice reminder that we have the knowledge and the spirit to help us change who we are and become disciples of Christ. In Confessions of a Former Bully, Katie has been caught bullying again, and is called to the principal’s office. One of her consequences is to meet with the school counselor once a week to learn about bullying behaviors. As she learns all this new information Katie is able to learn how to build up her school community. This book provides is about empowering children to choose who they want to be. The person we choose to be, with God’s help, is who we become.
Gospel Reading: John 6:35, 41-52
The Little Green Goose by Adele Sansone
(Written for ages 3-8)
Comment: After overhearing the other barnyard animals discussing how he doesn’t look like a goose, the little green goose is on a search for his identity. He searches far and wide, only to discover he knew who he was all along and runs home to his daddy. The Little Green Goose is a book that helps us claim our identity, even when our identity does not fit what others expect it to be. Jesus faces the same challenge in this passage from John. Jesus has made the statement “I am the bread of life” (v 35), and the Jews who know that he is the son of Mary and Joseph challenge him. These two descriptors of Jesus are at odds with each other in the eyes of the Jews. Both Jesus and the little green goose must choose to claim their identity or allow the outside world to do it for them. The little green goose, who looks more like a dinosaur than a goose, and Jesus, who makes a claim at odds with what others already know about him, both make the difficult decision to claim their identity.
The Lectionary Links this week are written by Union Presbyterian Seminary graduate Elizabeth Boulware Landes.