Year A: July 6, 2014
First Reading: Zechariah 9:9-12
How Raven Stole the Sun by Maria Williams
(Written for ages 5-9)
Comment: In his commentary on this passage, Douglass M. Bailey explores what it means to be a “prisoner of hope.” He quotes Joan Chittister, saying, “Hope is what sits by a window and waits for one more dawn, despite the fact that there isn’t an ounce of proof in tonight’s black, black sky that it can possibly come.” (Feasting on the Word, Year A, Volume 3, p. 199) In Williams’s retelling of a Tlingit legend, Raven hopes for a world where light would be shared with everyone, rather than belonging to one greedy chief. Through his actions, the sun, moon, and stars are freed, flooding the once dark world with with light. Wonder together with the children of your church about the people and places that have been a witness to the light of God’s hope.
Noell used the Old Testament text from the complementary readings in the Revised Common Lectionary this week. If you are using the Genesis 24:34–38, 42–49, 58–67 passage from the semicontinuous Lectionary readings, you may want to look at the post from this previous week for a suggested link for that passage.
Second Reading: Romans 7:15-25a
Sometimes I’m Bombaloo by Rachel Vail
(Written for ages 3-6)
Comment: “I do not understand my own actions… Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me.” The experience of Katie Honors is a great way to share Paul’s reflections in a way children will understand. Katie describes the good behaviors she tries to keep, and then talks about what happens when she loses control and Bombaloo comes out. She hates everything and everyone, even her dog Vanilla. When we lose control and our actions don’t match the way we want to live, we experience the brokenness of sin that harms our relationships with God and others. Just as Katie’s mom helps her to clean up the mess Bombaloo made, God helps us to find healing and reconciliation within ourselves and in our relationships with others. Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord, who rescues us from the power of sin and Bombaloo!
Gospel Reading: Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
“I Have a Little Problem,” Said the Bear by Heinz Janisch
(Written for ages 5-9)
Comment: Who are the people Jesus invites to come and find rest? According to William Goettler, it is not the strongest or most powerful, but “those who have been made weary by a world that fails to comprehend the burden of injustice. The yoke is made easy by the heavenly powers coming to the aid of those whose ways this world fails to understand.” (Feasting on the Word, Year A, Volume 3, p. 216) Perhaps the first step we must take when seeking to understand the needs of the weary is to simply listen. The bear becomes burdened with heavy things and continues to have an unsolved problem when people in the village fail to listen to him. Finally, a humble fly stops to really listen to the bear, and together they find rest.
We welcome back Noell Rathbun-Cook as our Lectionary Links writer for the next several weeks. Noell is an alumna of Union Presbyterian Seminary and serves as Minister of Children and Youth Discipleship at Grace Baptist Church in Richmond, VA.