Year C: August 18, 2013
First Reading: Isaiah 5:1-7
Hugo and the Really, Really, Really Long String by Bob Boyle
(Written for ages 5-9)
Comment: “When I expected it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes?” In this text we witness the disappointment that comes with failed expectations. As a gardener, God has done everything right to produce a fruitful vineyard; yet the results do not match up with God’s expectations. No matter our age, we have all had experiences of disappointment and failed expectations. Hugo expects to find something magical at the end of the really long string–he even pulls new friends into his journey because he is so sure of the way it will end. When the string leads to a pair of red underwear, Hugo has to deal with the disappointment that comes with not finding treasure. Fortunately, for Hugo, there is a silver lining in the new friendships he’s made. Use this text and story to invite your children to share their own experiences of disappointment and failed expectations.
Homeplace by Anne Shelby (Written for ages 5-9)
Comment: Through this text we are encouraged to understand our own faith story through the larger context of the stories of those who came before us. Sharing stories of the past is a valuable practice both in families and churches. In Homeplace, a grandmother shares the story of how a child’s home was built, piece by piece, by her ancestors. This sharing helps the girl to have a fuller picture of her own home, and the way it was shaped by those who came before her. Our life in the church is not so different. Through the stories of biblical patriarchs and matriarchs, people in the early church, and beloved saints of our own congregations, we gain a fuller view of the way our spiritual homes have been built on the common foundation shared in Christ. Use this time to share the stories and people of the past, and reflect upon the ways they have shaped your current congregation.
When Randolph Turned Rotten by Charise Mericle Harper (Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: We who so often preach unity and love may struggle when the lectionary places this passage in our path. Audrey West suggests we consider this passage to be descriptive rather than prescriptive. “That is, it is not Jesus’ purpose to set children against their parents, or parents against their children, but this sort of rupture can be the result of the changes engendered by Christ’s work.” (Feating on the Word, Year C, Volume 3, p 360) Even the best of friends can suffer from discord and division when one has an experience that is not shared by the other. Changes in our life, availability, or priorities can lead to jealousy and misunderstanding from those we love who have not shared our experience. Such feelings can turn us rotten on the inside, as Randolph becomes when his best friend Ivy is invited to an all girl party. Wonder together with your children about the times they have been like Randolph or Ivy in a friendship and explore the feelings that arise when a friend or loved one turns rotten.
The Lectionary Links this week were written by regular contributor Noell Rathbun-Cook.