Year C: August 28, 2016
First Reading: Jeremiah 2:4-13
Bully by Patricia Polacco
(Written for ages 9-13)
Comment: When a relationship falls apart, one or both parties might find themselves asking, “What caused this? Was it something I did?” Tweens and teens in your church might connect with this theme as their friendships sometimes seem based upon the way the wind blows. We know that it was not God’s actions, but the Israelites’ actions that caused the break in relationship. “[Theirs were] sins of omission and commission, forsaking God and turning to other gods…” (https://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=1761#_ftn2) In Bully, Lyla also commits sins of omission and commission when, under the sway of a clique of popular girls, she abandons her best friend Jamie. This text and story provide an invitation to consider how we are to live in relationship with one another.
Second Reading: Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16
Lord of the Cranes by Kirsten Chen
(Written for ages 5-9)
Comment: “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.” The ancient Chinese folk story retold by Chen brings a fuller picture to the idea of entertaining unknown angels. Wang the innkeeper is kind and generous, providing gracious hospitality to Tian, a man who appears as a poor, penniless beggar but is actually Lord of the Cranes. Reflecting on the parallel themes of this passage and story, invite your congregation to consider how God has gifted them to do good and share what they have with others.
Gospel Reading: Luke 14:1, 7-14
Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Manchev
(Written for ages 5-9)
Comment: In his commentary upon this text, Emerson Powery explains that the way we distinguish ourselves from others gets in the way of true fellowship. “Jesus’ story is a reminder to us about the company we keep.” https://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=1754. We are called to shape tables and spaces of welcome for all in the beloved community, turning the idea of who is or isn’t invited upon its head. When a boy and his pet elephant aren’t welcomed at the Pet Club, they start their own community of outsider pets and owners. Wonder together with your children about what it would feel like to be part of a community like Jesus’ and the Elephant’s, where all are welcome.
We welcome back Noell Rathbun-Cook as our Lectionary Links writer for the next six weeks.