Year A: May 11, 2014
First Reading: Acts 2:42-47
The Growing Story by Ruth Krauss
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: This passage from Acts brings to focus the memory of a time when the Church was growing in numbers. This growth was something anyone could see. Reading this passage feels a little bit like a kick in the gut, since this is not the reality of the Church today. We see the world growing around us, but do not see ourselves growing. The little boy in The Growing Story is amazed by the way everything around him seems to grow, but is struggling to see himself growing. Like the little boy, the Church is focused on drastic growth that will be easy to see from within. Every time the boy asks his mom if he is growing, she responds “Of course.” If the church was to ask this question, some people will respond with ‘of course,’ but most people will respond with a strong no. To say there is no growth denies the movement of the Holy Spirit within the Church. As the summer comes to an end, the little boy pulls out last winter’s clothes and find them too small. Only when he has something to compare himself to is he able to see his growth. The church, like the little boy, needs perspective. When we look at where the Church was last season, instead of the good old days, we can see the growth. The growth the Church is experiencing today is a gradual growth, and it might not even be in numbers. Of course the Church is growing just like the little boy, and the church in Acts.
Second Reading: 1 Peter 2:19-25
Mama Says: A Book of Love for Mothers and Sons by Rob D. Walker
(Written for ages 3 and up)
Comment: The author of First Peter writes, “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps”(v 21). These words are a reminder of the example Christ’s life, death and resurrection are for us on how we are to live. We are to strive to do the things Christ did and taught as we live each day. Rob Walker in Mama Says: A Book of Love for Mothers and Sons pulls sayings of mother from many cultures. These sayings are universal life lessons which encourage the sons to take chances, look for the sunshine, be kind, to work hard, and to have faith in God. As one reads these words, one can feel a mother’s love expressed on each page. As we read the text of First Peter for this Sunday morning, we are overcome with God’s love for each of us. “For you were going astray like sheep, but now you have returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls” (v25). It is from this love that our reminder comes.
Gospel Reading: John 10:1-10
Woolbur by Leslie Helakoski
(Written for ages 3-8)
Comment: Rules and expectations always exist in group living. Even a sheep herd has expectations for each member, yet Woolbur does not want to follow these rules. Each day Woolbur comes home from his lessons, he brings more worry to his parents. Woolbur chooses to do every sheep task in his own way. His parents strive to be the gatekeepers for Wilbur. They strive to keep him in line with the rules and expectations, but his Grandpaa keeps telling them not to worry. I wonder how many of us see the church working as the gatekeeper, determining who can and cannot enter through the gate. As we open and close the gate in one direction only, we keep people from entering into a relationship with Jesus Christ. Cynthia A. Jarvis suggests that the gate can swing both ways (Feasting on the World. A. Vol 2 pg 445). As the gate opens, it both protects the flock and welcomes in new members of the flock, and with each new member we might have to reevaluate our rules and expectations. As the story ends and Woolbur begins to do the same things as the flock, still in his own way, his parents question how they will know which one he is. In the words of Grandpaa, “Don’t Worry.” Jesus reminds us that the shepherd calls us each by name.
The Lectionary Links this week are written by Union Presbyterian Seminary alumna Elizabeth Boulware Landes, Director of Children’s Ministry at Faith Presbyterian Church in Aledo, TX.