Year A: November 20, 2011
First Reading: Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24
Have you Seen My Duckling? By Nancy Tarufi
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: In Ezekiel’s prophecy, God is a shepherd searching for all of the lost sheep. God says, “As shepherds seek out their flocks when they are among their scattered sheep, so I will seek out my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places to which they have been scattered.” God looks after the sheep, the people, and cares and searches for them. In Have you Seen My Duckling?, the mother duck does the same. She swims hither and yon through beautiful landscapes with one goal: to find her lost duckling. The reader can see the lost duckling hidden in the picture and so we know hope is there when ultimately the mother duck finds her duckling and gathers her brood, just as God does with God’s people.
Second Reading: Ephesians 1:15-23
The Most Thankful Thing by Lisa McCourt
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: In Paul’s prayer for the people of Ephesus he says, “I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers.” This unceasing thanks is a true gift, a real sign that he loves and values them enough not only to think of them, not only to pray for them, not only to give thanks for them, but to give thanks unceasingly for them! In The Most Thankful Thing a little girl looks through her mother’s scrapbook and asks what she is most thankful for. As we go through the mother’s memories and achievements the girl thinks that it must be this or that trophy, or this or that memory that her mother is most thankful for. But when she gets to a picture of her mother holding a newborn, her mother says from then on “you were my most thankful thing”. Thankfulness is Paul’s gift of love to the Ephesians, of this mother to her little girl, and for us to one another.
Gospel Reading: Matthew 25: 31-46
Emma’s Poem: The Voice of the Statue of Liberty by Linda Glaser
(Written for ages 7-10)
Comment: Jesus’ message in this passage is a famous one: whatever you do to the least of these, you do to me. Jesus makes clear that the good or bad that we do to the poor, helpless, thirsty, naked and downtrodden we are doing exactly to our Lord. Therefore, we must choose to give help, water, clothing and love and kindness to those who are “the least of these”. Emma Lazarus, the biographical subject of Emma’s Poem, while a wealthy woman, saw the plight of the immigrants in New York City, the least of these. She began to help them learn to read, get jobs and food, and other necessities. She is most famous for penning the poem on the Statue of Liberty, with the words, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses/Yearning to breathe free”. Emma Lazarus truly did her best for “the least of these”.
The Lectionary Links this week were written by:
Sara Anne Berger
Sara Anne Berger is a 2011 MACE/MDiv graduate of Union Presbyterian Seminary, and now the pastor of Whitmire Presbyterian Church, in Whitmire, SC. Her work there is primarily centered on older adults, although they do have a few children connected to the congregation, as well as a very popular “Mother’s Morning Out” program that her church hosts. The children’s literature website provides us with resources for both the children in the congregation and in the Mothers’ Morning Out program. I find that the adults enjoy the children’s literature shared in worship as much as the kids do! One of Sara Anne’s favorite children’s books is The Absolutely Essential Eloise, about a little girl who lives at the Plaza hotel, and one of my favorite older elementary books is Her Majesty, Grace Jones, about a little girl with a big imagination who thinks she may be the rightful Queen of England! Because I love both reading and sharing children’s literature, and connecting it with the work of ministry that I do, it is a thrill to read and contribute to this blog.