Year C: July 24, 2016
First Reading: Hosea 1:2-10
My Name is Yoon by Helen Recorvits
(Written for ages 5-9)
Comment: If children will be present for the reading of this text, you may choose to focus less on the meaning of the text, and more on the concept of what it is to name and be named. While the names of Hosea’s children are tied up with the message God gives the prophet, it’s pretty terrible to imagine being named “not loved” or “not my people.” A name like Yoon’s, which means “shining wisdom” would be much preferred. Use Yoon’s story as a springboard to share the meaning of your own name and invite the children to do the same. As you share, wonder together how your own life stories might be shaped by the meaning of your names.
Second Reading: Colossians 2:6-15 (16-19)
Noni is Nervous by Heather Hartt-Sussman
(Written for ages 5-9)
Comment: In reviewing this text, I’m struck with a certain amount of anxiety on behalf of the Colossian community. Were they asking themselves, “do we still belong if we don’t celebrate particular festivals or practice self-abasement?” How hard it is to be rooted in a sense of belonging when you fear you aren’t doing something the right way. Noni has anxiety she’ll do something wrong as she begins the school year. She’s so nervous she forgets to remember a thing about her first day of school. This seems to be the thing Paul was encouraging the Colossians against, to watch that their nervousness and anxiety wouldn’t cloud their memory and cause them to forget who they are. With this text and story, invite your congregation to share stories of people, like Paul and Noni’s family members, who’ve encouraged them during spells of worry and anxiety.
Gospel Reading: Luke 11:1-13
Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me by Eric Carle
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: “So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you…” It’s a struggle for most of us to hear and understand these words. We wish all of our prayers could be answered the way Papa answers Monica’s request for the moon. Carle’s story is somewhat fairy tale, centered around a request we know to be impossible; however, we might identify with Monica’s longing and the ability to share it with someone who loves her. David Lose follows this train of thought encouraging us to understand prayer as “not primarily about getting things from God but rather about the relationship we have with God.” (http://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=719) Even as we grapple with the struggles of unanswered prayers, may we hold fast to intimacy and relief that comes in sharing our longings, hopes, confessions, needs, and fears.
Thanks to alumna Noell Rathbun-Cook for writing the Lectionary Links this week.