Year A: September 7, 2014
First Reading: Exodus 12:1-14
The Passover Lamb by Linda Elovitz Marshall
(Written for ages 6-9)
Comment: The Passover Lamb is the story of one particular Passover celebration, where the plans were almost derailed by a newborn lamb. Miriam and her family were planning and preparing to celebrate the Passover feast at her grandparents. She was excited about her active part in the ritual. Miriam and her family had to be ready for anything as they balanced their ritual celebrations with the responsibility they had for their animals. Our reading from Exodus is the institution of the Passover festival. It is on this night, God tells Moses how to prepare and celebrate. God also tells Moses, “This will be a day of remembrance for you. You shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord; throughout your generations you shall observe it as a perpetual ordinance.” (verse 14) The Jewish people have continued to celebrate Passover throughout the generations, honoring the ritual laid out in Exodus.
Second Reading: Romans 13:8-14
All in a Day by Cynthia Rylant
(Written for ages 3-5)
Comment: Paul is urging the Christians in Rome to stop living life in a way that points to the past, or dwelling on the past. He writes “the night is far gone, the day is near.” (verse 12). When we awake to the day present in front of us, we can see the beauty and love all around us. All in a Day describes the possibilities a new day might bring. Cynthia Rylant intertwines the work and play that happen throughout the day and writes “The past is sailing off to sea, the future’s fast asleep. A day is all you have to be, it’s all you get to keep.” It does us no good to focus on the past or the future. Like Paul, this text is encouraging us to focus on the moment in front of us. While Paul has a list of behaviors that are associated with living in the darkness of night, it seems with children we can focus on being in the moment, and seeing the potential for goodness and love. Awake from the darkness of the night and live in the light of the day.
Gospel Reading: Matthew 18:15-20
New Year at the Pier: A Rosh Hashanah Story by April Halprin Wayland
(Written for ages 5-8)
Comment: Throughout the Gospels, Jesus talks about forgiving one another, and this passage in Matthew gives us one method of doing so. The church has lost the art of practicing forgiveness with one another. We spend time in prayers of confession to God in silence and with one another, but worship does not provide us a time to actually apologize to each other. Jesus tells us that when someone does wrong to us, we are to point it out to them. This practice is almost non-existent in the church. Many times, we side step each other and walk on eggshells to avoid upsetting people. The Jewish practice of Tashlich provides a place and time for people to apologize to each other and to ask for forgiveness. In New Year at the Pier: A Rosh Hashanah Story, we follow Izzy as he makes his I’m Sorry list and strives to tell each of the people on it I’m sorry. He finds that he is struggling to admit one of them, but once he does Izzy feels joy and gladness and the friendship is restored. Without the practice of apologizing and forgiving communities cannot remain together.
The writer for Lectionary Links this week is Union Presbyterian Seminary alumna Elizabeth Bouleware Landes, Director of Children’s Ministry at Faith Presbyterian Church, Aledo, TX.