Year C: November 10, 2013
First Reading: Haggai 1:15b-2:9
The Peace Bell by Margi Preus
(Written for ages 5-9)
Comment: Here we encounter God speaking words of consolation to the exiles who have returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. In her commentary on this text, Wil Gafney comments that while the people believe their efforts do not live up to those of their ancestors, “God is satisfied with their best efforts… Perhaps most importantly, God is with them, temple or no temple. God is with them and God has been with them… And in the days to come, God’s presence will be marked by not mere prosperity as it is translated in the NRSV, but shalom – peace, well-being, security, wholeness, and restoration.” (http://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=707) The Peace Bell serves as an example of the shalom described by Gafney. After being silenced and lost through the war, the bell is eventually returned to its home. In being rung again, “it sang of the hope for peace in the hearts of people all over the world.”
The Terrible Plop by Ursula Dubosarsky
(Written for ages 3-7)
Comment: “As to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we beg you, brothers and sisters, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as though from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord is already here.” In this text, the community is being encouraged to stand firm in the traditions they’ve been taught, rather than being swayed by false teachings. Human experience tells us this is a lesson we need to hear multiple times. It is easy to fall into false beliefs, particularly when we’re following the crowd. Reading The Terrible Plop will help the children of your church visualize the way a community can be quickly swayed into believing something that isn’t actually true. Wonder together about how the rabbits’ response affected their community, and what they might have done differently to avoid unnecessary fear and chaos.
The Scar by Charlotte Moundlic
(Written for ages 5-9)
Comment: Consider this text an invitation for your community to explore the various feelings of grief and the connection of our relationship to those who have died. In The Scar, a boy grieves the death of his mother, and seeks to find a way to stay connected with her after her passing. Eventually his grandmother helps him to understand that his mom remains in his heart. While he still hurts, he finds comfort in his heartbeat and the way it signals his mom’s presence. Though we do not fully understand death and resurrection, we do believe that God “[is the God] of the living; for to him all of them are alive.” Just as the boy connects with his mother through his beating heart, we connect with our loved ones through the life-giving promises of God. May we share their names, their stories, hear their voices, take in their smells, and find comfort in the fact that we are eternally woven together by the Spirit of the living God.
The Lectionary Links this week were written by regular contributor Noell Rathbun-Cook.