Year A: October 16th, 2011
First Reading: Exodus 33: 12-23
Because You are My Baby by Jennifer Ward
(Written for ages 4-8)
God’s presence is intimately with Moses and the people of Israel in their journey to the promised land. God says “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” God affirms to Moses by demonstrating God’s glory that God does, in fact, “know them by name”. The God of Israel is deeply and lovingly acquainted with the people of Israel and cares for them, just as the various mothers in Because You are My Baby know their children and love and care for them. Like God, they assure their children that their presence will always be there. God is a loving parent, father and mother of the children of Israel, and of us all.
Second Reading: I Thessalonians 1: 1-10
The Recess Queen by Alexis O’Neill
(Written for ages 3-5)
Comment: Paul, in his opening salutation to the Thessalonians, commends their excellent example, citing their “work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ”, and also notes that he tried to be a good example for them and was pleased when they became “imitators of us and of the Lord.” Paul knows about the Thessalonians’ good deeds and faith from reports all around the region and commends them for setting a good example. So, too, in The Recess Queen, while Mean Jean has been the “queen” of the playground for as long as anybody can remember, bullying others out of swinging, sliding and fun, when a new student, Katie Sue, comes, she sets a new example. By asking Mean Jean to play with her she changes the playground back into a place of fun for all and sets a good example for everyone to follow. Just as the Thessalonians’ deeds were heard about all around the region, this act is the talk of the school and changes everything for the better.
Gospel Reading: Matthew 22: 15-22
A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams
(Written for ages 4-8 )
Comment: In this famous story of the Pharisees trying to trick Jesus, Jesus says, “Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s and to God the things that are God’s.” In so doing, Jesus does not fall into their trap, instead he affirms that our lives are from God and so belong to God, and that they are more important than money. Money is not the end or the means or any kind of importance—it is life which is important, life in God. In A Chair for My Mother, a little girl knows that money isn’t everything, having lost most possessions in a fire, and realizing that they are lucky to be alive as a family. She sees that saving up money is necessary, yes, but that it is what the money is being saved up FOR—a cozy chair where she can snuggle with his mother, where her grandmother can relax, where the family can gather in love—that is what is important, the life which comes from the jar of pennies and dimes.
This Lectionary Links post was written by Union Presbyterian Seminary alumna Sara Anne Berger.