Year A: June 26, 2011
First Reading: Genesis 22: 1-14
The White Ram: A Story of Abraham and Isaac by Mordicai Gerstein (Written for Ages 6-9)
Comment: “After these things God tested Abraham. He said to him, ‘Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ He said, ‘Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.’” This is a frightening Bible and difficult text for many of us to hear, especially children. If you feel it must be shared with children, do so in a sensitive manner, ensuring that they understand God does not desire the sacrifice of children. The White Ram is based on Jewish Midrashim and helps explain that God never intended for Isaac to be harmed, but planned for his safety before he even existed. In the story God tells Abraham the ram was “made in the twilight of the last day of the Creation for this moment, to take Isaac’s place on this altar.”
Second Reading: Romans 6: 12-23
Toads and Diamonds by Charlotte Huck (Written for Ages 5-9)
Comment: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” This text reminds us that the way we choose to live has consequences. In Toads and Diamonds, Renee approached the world around her with grace and kindness and her behavior is rewarded with mouthfuls of roses and jewels. Francine approaches the world with wickedness and selfishness and her behaviour is rewarded with mouthfuls of toads and snakes. This story very clearly illustrates the fact that our lives will reflect whether we live in a manner guided by sin or by grace. If you cannot find this particular book, you might do a web search for “The Kind and Unkind Sisters” as many versions of this folktale have been told over hundreds of years.
Gospel Reading: Matthew 10: 40-42
Mother Teresa by John Barraclough (Written for Ages 4-8)
Comment: A clear example of losing one’s life for Jesus’ sake, only to find it, can be found in the person of Mother Teresa. She chose poverty for Christ’s sake and for the sake of the poor. When asked about her life with the Missionaries of Charity, Teresa responded, “All we do, our prayer, our work, our suffering is for Jesus… He gives me strength. I love Him in the poor and the poor in Him. Without Jesus our life would be meaningless, incomprehensible…We do it for Jesus.” (From the introduction to The Joy in Loving: A Guide to Daily Living With Mother Teresa, compiled by Jaya Chaliha and Edward Le Joly) A number of children’s biographies about Mother Teresa are in print; Barraclough’s book presents the life of Mother Teresa through short, easy to read text. The book includes both illustrations and photographs.
This Lectionary Links post was written by regular contributor Noell Rathbun.