Year B: January 8, 2012
First Reading: Genesis 1:1-5
Comment: At the start of a new year we get to read the very beginning of creation. Since the creation story is such a familiar one for many churchgoers, it’s refreshing to look at it in an unconventional way. These are a few creation tales we enjoy:
Draw Me A Star by Eric Carle (Written for ages 2-6) This is a simple story of creation by an artist. Each thing the artist draws request another drawn creation. Readers will enjoy turning the page to discover more and more of the artist’s creation.
The movement of this book follows the creation story of Genesis 1. It is highly imaginative, seeking to put readers in the mindset of God as God considers what to create. The story ends with a reminder that God made us for company, and is always present as God says, “Think of me. I’ll be thinking of you.”
There Was an Old Man Who Painted the Sky by Teri Sloat (Written for ages 5-9) Inspired by the discovery of cave paintings depicting creation, this is another story that presents the creator as an artist. For those who love telling stories through music, the text could easily be sung to the tune “There Was an Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly.”
Mr. and Mrs. God in the Creation Kitchen by Nancy Wood (Written for ages 5 to 9)
This book is a fantastic and creative look at the creation story. It’s a fresh take on a familiar story with eye-catching illustrations and a whimsy that is sure to intrigue the readers.
Second Reading: Acts 19:1-7
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson (Written for ages 4 to 8)
Comment: In this reading we have a baptism story that ends with the appearance of the Holy Spirit. After being baptized in the name of Jesus the Holy Spirit comes down and inspires the disciples there. One never knows how the Holy Spirit will move you; you just have to be open to hearing what the Spirit is saying to you. Harold is a small child with a big imagination. He takes his purple crayon and creates a world to travel through. In the same way that we are constantly thinking of our situation and responding to the word of God and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, so Harold is going along, thinking of where he is, where he might want to go, and creating it with his purple crayon. The story invites us to open our imaginations to wherever the Spirit leads.
Gospel Reading: Mark 1:4-11
Wizzil by William Steig (Written for ages 5-9)
Comment: Preachers or teachers could go in many directions exploring the baptism of the Lord. For the purposes of discussing this text with children, I find it most helpful to follow the advice of Leslie J. Hoppe: “Though Christian baptism has a significance different from that of John’s baptism, the preacher should use the opportunity presented by the Gospel lesson to lead the members of the congregation to reflect on the significance of their baptism.” (Feasting on the Word, Year B, Volume 1, p 240) Even children who have not been baptized will find it helpful to explore what baptism means. This sacrament represents a cleansing and a transition from an old life to new life in Christ. Through baptism, we express our understanding that we are transformed by God. Wizzil the Witch experiences a kind of baptism of her own when she falls into the river. In mere moments “Wizzil had been so thoroughly cleansed by the crystal-clear water that all her vicious nastiness was whirled away downstream.”
The Lectionary Links this week were written by regular contributor Noell Rathbun and Union Presbyterian Seminary student Rachel Mastin.