Year A: October 30th, 2011
First Reading: Joshua 3: 7-17
Just Me and My Little Brother by Mercer Mayer
(Written for ages 3-5)
Comment: In this passage, God makes a lot of promises to Joshua and to the people of Israel. God says to Joshua, “I will exalt you”, and “I will be with you”. Joshua echoes God’s words when he tells the people, “You shall stand still in the Jordan”, “You shall know that among you is the Living God” and “the waters of the Jordan flowing from above shall be cut off”. Each of these is a look toward the future of what God will do and be in their midst. In Just Me and My Little Brother Little Critter says, “We will do everything together”: climb trees, play baseball, make up games, go swimming, etc. Little Critter is looking forward to a time with his little brother—for his little brother is still a baby! We don’t find out if he keeps the promises made to his little brother, but in the story of Joshua, God’s promises are kept. When the people look ahead to a future with God, these promises are certain.
Second Reading: I Thessalonians 2:9-13
Who Will I Be, Lord? by Vaunda Michaeux Nelson
(Written for ages 4-8 )
Comment: Paul says, “We dealt with each of you like a father with his children, urging and encouraging you and pleading that you lead a life worthy of God.” Paul has already spoken of the example he tried to set for them and that they have set for others, and now he encourages them to grow in that example into a full life worthy of God—to become the people God intends them to be. In Who Will I Be, Lord, a young girl looks to her older family members as examples to figure out how to live her life, listening to their “urging and encouraging” in order to lead the life God wants her to lead.
Gospel Reading: Matthew 23:1-12
The Tower: A Story of Humility by Richard Paul Evans
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: Jesus chastises the Pharisees and scribes in this passage for their arrogance, their seeking honor and status and demanding of importance (what young children might call “showing off”)Jesus says that the better route is humility, not status-seeking, for “all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.” A fabled re-telling of this idea is found in The Tower set in a town in China where a young man’s quest to be great leads him to build a tower so he is higher than everybody else. However, a bird tells him about a woman greater than he and she tells the man that greatness is really seeing people, not being up high in a lonely tower. The young man learns the lesson that the scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ day missed.
This Lectionary Links post was written by Union Presbyterian Seminary alumna Sara Anne Berger.