Year A: September 4, 2011
First Reading: Exodus 12:1-14
Passover: Celebrating Now, Remembering Then by Harriet Ziefert
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: In this passage, God institutes the celebration of Passover, saying, “This day shall be a day of remembrance for you”. Each of the rituals described will keep the memory of Passover alive for each generation of the people of Israel. In Passover: Celebrating Now, Remembering Then, the vivid illustrations depict modern Passover celebrations while connecting us to the Biblical events which inspired the celebrations of the past. As each act of Passover occurs, the story is retold, so that the day is truly one of remembrance.
Second Reading: Romans 13:8-14
Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch! By Eileen Spinelli
(Written for ages 4-7)
Comment: Paul writes to the Romans that all the law is found in Jesus’ command to “Love your neighbor as yourself”. This command is urgent for Paul and us—that the day is near and we must “put on the armor of light” and live like Jesus Christ—and to do this, we must love our neighbors. In Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch!, the idea of someone loving him changes Mr. Hatch’s life, and his change inspires love and connection to grow among his neighbors. Mr. Hatch becomes a man who loves his neighbors and they show how much they love him, as well as all other kinds of good coming out of this mutual love. They truly fulfill the law of Christ as Paul describes it and love their neighbor as themselves.
Gospel Reading: Matthew 18:15-20
And to Think That We Thought That We’d Never Be Friends! By Mary Ann Hoberman
(Written for ages 5-8)
Comment: Matthew’s Gospel story addresses the reality of conflict within the community of faith—how do we faithfully resolve issues with one another? In And to Think That We Thought That We’d Never Be Friends!, we see the fruits of faithfully resolving conflict. An argument between two siblings is resolved by their sister and we see that when they resolve their disagreement they are able to take their new problem solving skills to the whole world! Matthew commends the agreement of two or three on earth (18:19), and in this book we see far more than that—we see the whole world working to resolve differences and be bound together.
Year A: September 11th, 2011
First Reading: Exodus 14:19-31
Nachshon, Who was Afraid to Swim: A Passover Story by Deborah Cohen
(Written for ages 3-8 )
Comment: “Moses stretched out his hand out over the sea” and “The Lord drove the sea back…” So begins the exciting story of the Israelites crossing through the Red Sea, following God’s command. But Nachshon, the main character in Nachshon, Who was Afraid to Swim, though he longs for freedom, is very afraid. But he remembers to trust in God and to follow God’s commands and is able to cross to freedom with all the rest of God’s people on their exciting escape from Egypt.
Second Readings: Romans 14:1-12
I’m Not by Pam Smallcomb
(Written for ages 4-8 )
Comment: Paul asks the Romans, “Why do you pass judgment on your brother or sister?” Paul knows that the body of Christ is made up of many kinds of people: ones who eat differently and celebrate differently and live differently from one another. But those differences don’t have to cause judgments of one another. The narrator of I’m Not knows that she and her friend, Evelyn, are VERY different! Their differences, however, don’t lead to judgment, and in fact, the two friends find that their differences are what make them absolutely perfect friends for each other!
Gospel Reading: Matthew 18:21-35
I Am Extremely Absolutely Boiling by Lauren Child
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: In the story of the unforgiving servant, we meet a man who does not truly realize the gift of forgiveness that he’s been given, because he does not extend it to others. Lola and Arnold in I Am Extremely Absolutely Boiling show us what happens when we show others generosity and extend kindness. Lola shares her ice cream with Arnold, but when it drops on the ground, Arnold won’t share his ice cream with Lola. She is very angry, but forgives him when he offers to let her play in his pool. When they have more ice cream, Arnold’s drops and Lola decides not to treat him as he treated her, but instead extends him forgiveness and shares with him. She shows us what could have happened in the story of the unforgiving servant if the servant had extended his gift of grace to others.
September 12th: We Knew Everything Would Be All Right by H.B. Masterson First Grade Students
(Written for ages 4-8 )
Comment: Some churches may commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11 on this Sunday. Many children may not even have been born yet when it occurred and so September 12: We Knew Everything Would be All Right briefly tells the story of what happened in a non-graphic way (kids illustrated the book with their drawings) and emphasizes that everything was and will be all right. A good tie-in might be the story of Jesus Christ and how it gives our lives hope and the knowledge that everything will be all right.
We are happy to have Sara Anne Berger, recent graduate of Union Presbyterian Seminary, provide the Lectionary Links posts for the next 13 weeks.