Year A: March 27, 2011
Old Testament Reading: Exodus 17: 1-7
The Water Hole by Graeme Base (Written for Ages 5-8)
Comment: “Why did you bring us out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?” The Israelites fear of death was a valid anxiety; people, animals, and plants need water to survive. They quarreled with Moses because their life depended on it. In The Water Hole readers witness the way life depends on the presence of water. Plants grow and animals gather around the water hole. When the water hole dries up, little remains. Plants wither, the air is full of dust, and the animals all go away. The scene of the dried watering hole is hopeless, as hopeless as Rephidim must have appeared to the Israelites. Yet if you look closely at the illustration, you will see life in the rocks and stumps of the dried water hole. The promise of God’s presence, the promise of hope, is in the rocks. Moses strikes the rock, a drop of rain falls to the water hole. Water flows, and with it, is the promise of continued life.
Epistle Reading: Romans 5:1-11
The Sandwich Swap by Queen Rania Al Abdullah (Written for Ages 3-6)
Comment: In his letter to the Romans Paul celebrates the reconciliation we have with God through Jesus. While reconciliation is a big word, the experience is one that can be understood by many children. Fights happen among friends and families, we’ve all experienced the anger and hurt that arise when we are estranged from the ones we love. To make up and be reconciled often brings joy and relief. The Sandwich Swap helps illustrate the concept of reconciliation to small children. Best friends Lily and Salma find their friendship on the rocks after they insult one another’s lunches. Soon their estrangement takes over the whole school. When they finally swap sandwiches, the girls are reconciled, and discover a way to help their schoolmates be reconciled while celebrating diversity, too!
Gospel Reading: John 4: 5-42
Sheila Rae, the Brave by Kevin Henkes (Written for Ages 3-6)
Comment: Picture the type of person you would expect to bring others to Jesus. It’s doubtful that most people would jump to the woman at the well. Surely this would be a task for someone more qualified, someone less Samaritan, someone less female, someone with less of a shady past. Yet here we are, surprised by the outcome of her story. Children will find a similar surprise in Sheila Rae, the Brave. Sheila Rae fears nothing—as you begin her story you expect she will be the heroine of the tale. She goes through life facing daring deeds, as her little sister, Louise, looks on apprehensively. When she decides to find a new way home, Sheila Rae is soon lost and afraid. Who will help her? Surely this is a task for someone bigger and less of a scaredy-cat than Louise—where are mom and dad when you need them?! Yet, unexpectedly Louise swoops in and saves the day, leading Sheila Rae safely home. This passage and story remind us that God uses unexpected people to accomplish God’s work in the world.
The Lectionary Links this week were written by Union Presbyterian Seminary graduate Noell Rathbun.