Year A: April 20, 2014
First Reading: Acts 10:34-43
Peace Warriors by Andrea Davis Pinkney
(Written for ages 10-14)
Comment: In Peter’s speech to the Gentiles, he tells the Gentiles that they are to “preach to the people, and testify that he is the one ordained by God” (v42). The message we are called to preach is the message Jesus preached: peace. Even going into his death, Jesus held strong to his message of peace. Peace Warriors shows the ordinary beginnings of extraordinary people who have worked for peace around the world. As Andrea Davis Pinkney draws out aspects of each peace warriors’ childhood, she is able to help the reader connect with these six people. We are all a part of who Peter is preaching to and we each have something we can offer in the work towards peace in the world.
First Reading: Jeremiah 31:1-6
There, There by Sam McBratney
(Written for ages 3-7)
Comment: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you” (v 3). These are the words Israel heard from God while in the exile from their beloved promised land. Reginald Broadnax writes, “God loves with an everlasting love, a love that exists before our existence and beyond our existence. This love in not predicated upon ourselves, but exists within the nature of God” (Feasting on the Word, Year A. Vol 2 pg 352). This type of love is difficult to explain, as not everyone experiences it. The closest thing for most children will be the love from their parents. There, There describes the relationship between a father and a son. It is filled with a love that exists no matter what little Hansie bear does. It doesn’t matter if he makes a mistake or falls in a hole. All that matters is Hansie bear exists. Easter morning brings to full light God’s unconditional love for us. We spent the last six weeks even more aware of our mistakes and failures, but God still shows up and says “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” It only matters that we exist to God.
Second Reading: Colossians 3:1-4
Perfect Square by Michael Hall
(Written for ages 4 and up)
Comment: Colossians calls us to look to Jesus as an example of how to live, and to allow Christ’s glory to be seen through us. Perfect Square begins with a square that has four equal sides, and four 90 degree corners. Everything is going perfectly for the square until the dreadful day it is destroyed, or so we think. The square transforms into something new. This is what it is like for us when we look to Christ, and “set our minds on the things that are above” (v2). No matter where we have been when we begin to model our lives after Christ, his glory is visible. No matter how much we think we have been destroyed, Christ transforms us.
Gospel Reading: John 20:1-18
On That Easter Morning by Mary Joslin
(Written for ages 4 and up)
Comment: The story of Easter as told by John is quick paced. We move from the empty tomb to disciples’ homes, with an enormous amount of action in between. On That Easter Morning serves as a retelling of the Easter story. Joslin does a good job of sticking close to the accounts in scripture, without adding in theological commentary. Many of the children (and adults) in worship on Easter morning will not have been present at the Maundy Thursday or Good Friday worship services, and some may not have been present in worship since Christmas. Joslin’s text begins with Palm Sunday and takes us all the way through events of Holy Week. This story helps children place the resurrection within the whole Easter narrative.
Good News, Bad News by Jeff Mack
(Written for ages 3-6)
Comment: In Good News, Bad News, Rabbit and Mouse are two friends who see everything from a different perspective. Rabbit sees everything as an opportunity and even a rainstorm is good news in his eyes. On the other hand, Mouse sees everything as a disappointment. The rainstorm and fresh apples are bad news to Mouse. This goes on until something happens that changes Mouse’s perspective and he begins to see things as good news. On Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene and Mary show up at the tomb expecting to find Jesus’ body, but instead they find an empty tomb and an angel saying “Do not be afraid” (v5). These women see the empty tomb as bad news. They are afraid and confused about what happened to Jesus’ body. It is definitely bad news to have lost his body. The angel changes their perspective. The women learn that Jesus is alive, and has gone ahead of them. No longer does an empty tomb serve as a disappointment, but for Mary and Mary Magdalene the empty tomb is now full of possibilities and hope. This is good news!
The Lectionary Links this week are written by Union Presbyterian Seminary alumna Elizabeth Boulware Landes, Director of Children’s Ministry at Faith Presbyterian Church, Aledo, TX.