Year B: November 4, 2012
First Reading: Ruth 1:1-18
Tea with Milk by Allen Say
(Written for ages 5-9)
Comment: The book of Ruth begins with tragedy, grief, and the experience of being a foreigner. First for Naomi in Moab, and soon for Ruth in the land of Judah. Yet, no matter what land they are in, Naomi and Ruth have found home with one another:“Where you go, I will go; Where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God.” It seems much of belonging and finding our sense of home is rooted in the relationships we build. In Tea with Milk, May struggles with being a foreigner in her parents’ native Japan. She continues to feel out of place until she meets Joseph. Together they choose to adopt the country they’re in and make it home.
Second Reading: Hebrews 9:11-14
Messenger by Lois Lowry
(Written for ages 12+)
Comment: Today’s text focuses on the sacrifice of Christ moving us from dead works toward worship of the living God. This text encourages us to explore the dead works that have a tendency to pull us away from our true selves. In a response to the saving work of Christ, we may turn towards a life that reflects our relationship with the living God. Messenger presents wonderful imagery of death, life, and sacrifice. The forest comes to represent the darkness engulfing the people, literally reeking of death and decay. In the final chapter of the book, Matty sacrifices his life to heal the forest and the people, bringing hope to the village once more.
Gospel Reading: Mark 12:28-34
Pearl Barley and Charlie Parsley by Aaron Blabey
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: Love is a concept we explore often with young children, especially at church. The church may be one of a child’s earliest experiences of loving a neighbor. This is the place where we can learn by example, so that we can take the love we’ve learned into the world and share it with neighbors near and far. Sometimes the neighbors we love will be a lot like us, sometimes they will be quite different. Sometimes loving another will seem easy, other times, it may be quite difficult. While Pearl Barley and Charlie Parsley are different as night and day, their love for one another flows quite freely. Their story is a simple view of what it looks like to love your neighbor as yourself. This story can help young children explore the ways in which we love our neighbors.
A number of books connecting to the gospel parallels of this text have been reviewed on this site:
All the Places to Love (Lectionary Links: Sunday, October 23, 2011)
The Lectionary Links this week are written by regular contributor Noell Rathbun-Cook.