First Reading: 1 Samuel 2:18-20, 26
Hello Baby! by Mem Fox
(Written for ages 3-5)
Comment: Children are precious. This scripture tells us so much about children in our congregations, including that children have a place in worship, that they (and we) grow in favor with the Lord through life in a worshipping community, and that they are part of God’s plan for our future. Samuel was beloved, both by his mother and the Lord, and Samuel dedicated his life to ministry. Hello Baby is a sweet, simple poem representing an adult speaking to a baby, seeking to know the identity of the child. After an array of animal options, the baby’s identity as the “treasured child” of the parent is revealed. All of God’s children are precious, and all are also God’s treasure. This book not only introduces children to a wide variety of God’s animal creations, but reminds them that they are cherished creations as well. Our children, as Samuel’s mother knows so well, are not our own to keep, rather they are God’s treasure.
Second Reading: Colossians 3:12-17
Peace is an Offering by Annette LeBox
(Written for ages 3-5)
Comment: This text from Colossians, while read typically as a wedding text, is really about forbearance and forgiveness. The words shared here are words that we need to hear in the midst of emotional turmoil, or when fights break out, or when conflict exists. Paul’s words remind us that forgiveness is a real thing and that it’s a gift we receive and give, first having been forgiven by God. Forgiveness, peace, gentleness, humility – all of these should be reflected in our daily lives and lived experiences as children of God in community with one another. Peace is a journey of neighborhood friends living life in community with one another. They comfort, they share, they resist fights, they laugh, and they spend time in nature together. This story reflects the desires of Paul for the Colossian church to live in the peace of Christ among one another, enjoying life together and reminding one other how to respond when conflict and unrest arise.
Gospel Reading: Luke 2:41-52
Inside this Book: (are three books) by Barney Saltzberg
(Written for ages 3-6)
Comment: Age is not and should not be a qualifier or disqualifier for too many things in life. Our scripture demonstrates that even as a young boy, Jesus was prepared to be a leader, a teacher, a learner, and to live into his calling/purpose. Inside this Book is the story of three siblings who join forces to write and illustrate their own stories after their parents urge them to create. Upon completion of the stories, each book being representative of the age of the author, the siblings put one book inside the other, creating a new book, larger and more in depth, to be read and shared by all. The siblings realize that books are stories that need to be shared, so they “publish” their works for all to experience and enjoy. In a similar fashion, Jesus begins to realize the depth of his message and his requirement to share it despite his age. While his parents don’t quite understand his actions, or approve of his unannounced departure from them, his mother begins to treasure her son’s ministry in her heart. Stories should be shared, whether they come from children authors or from Jesus Christ.
Thanks to Union Presbyterian Seminary alumna Katie Barrett Todd for writing the Lectionary Links for the last four weeks. We’ll see Katie’s writing here again in a few weeks.