Year A: September 28, 2014
First Reading: Exodus 17:1-7
Is This Panama? A Migration Story by Jan Thornhill
(Written for ages 5 -8)
Comment: Sammy the Wilson Warbler wakes one morning, and finds he has been left behind for the annual migration to Panama in Is This Panama? A Migration Story. This is Sammy’s first year to make the migration, and he has no idea where to go, and is scared through most of his journey. Sammy’s journey does not follow the path all the other Wilson Warblers take in their migration, and along the way he encounters dangers, takes unexpected turns. Just when he thinks he can’t go any farther he finds himself in Panama. The Israelites are on a migration, from Egypt to the Promised Land. The lectionary reading for this Sunday draws attention to the struggles the Israelites are having. In this instance, they are struggling to find water, and ready to give up their journey. They are beginning to doubt the migration will land them in the Promised Land. God calms their fears and doubts, as he leads Moses, to draw water from the rock. Migrations are difficult journeys whether it is the first or the fifty-first. I like to think, when seeing the water, the Israelites let out a huge sigh of relief, just as Sammy did when he found himself resting in Panama.
Second Reading: Philippians 2:1-13
The Apple King by Francesca Bosca
(Written for ages 3-6)
Comment: Paul writes “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves” (2:3). Paul is encouraging the Philippians to think of others first. This means not only do we think of others when we make decisions, but we share our resources. In The Apple King, the King was proud of his apples, maybe too proud. He took great care of his apples. They were watered, protected from bugs, and guarded from thieves. He enjoyed the sight, smell, and taste of each apple. One morning the king’s gardener found the apples to have been overtaken with worms. The king then spent energy trying to get the worms out of his apples. It was through talking with the worms, that the king realized the apples needed to be shared with everyone. This is an important reminder to everyone, but maybe even more relevant to children who are finishing their first month of school. Crayons are starting to break, markers have dried out, pencils have been lost, and some are without food. When we can all come together and share what we have we build a stronger community. A community shaped by Jesus Christ.
Gospel Reading: Matthew 21:23-32
Four Legs Bad, Two Legs Good! by Bob Shea
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: Questions of authority begin early in life. We question the authority of our parents, community leaders, teachers, pastors, and our selves. Jesus was not exempt from having his authority questioned. The chief priests are concerned with who gave Jesus the authority he is exerting. Instead of answering their question, Jesus asks them questions. The chief priests were not actually interested in Jesus’ answer. In Four Legs Bad, Two Legs Good!, Duck questions the authority of Farmer Orvie. Duck is not happy with the way things are happening at the farm, and is hoping for some changes. Farmer Orvie does answer Ducks question, but Duck is not satisfied. Duck continues to push against the authority of Farmer Orvie, until things have changed and life is more enjoyable on the Farm. It might seem that our passage today is questioning people’s authority, but sometimes we need to push against it. I wonder how this reading would be different if Jesus had returned the same question to the chief priest and questioned by what authority they were teaching.
The Lectionary Links this week are written by Union Presbyterian Seminary alumna Elizabeth Boulware Landes.