Year C: October 16th, 2016
First Reading: Jeremiah 31:27-34
Over and Over by Charlotte Zolotow
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: The days are surely coming, says the Lord. The days are surely coming, days when things will change, sins will be remembered no more. The days are surely coming, so you can depend on them, trust in them, hope and have faith in them. These wonderful days are surely and dependably coming. In Over and Over the same thing is true. A little girl doesn’t know about time, and asks her mother, “What is coming next?”. Her mother tells her about the wonderful things that are coming next: Valentine’s day and Thanksgiving and her birthday. When her mother says these things are coming, they always do. At the end of the year the girl wishes for those days to come again, and the story promises that they will. If the Lord says days of forgiveness, building, replanting, and new covenants are coming, we can have faith and trust in those promises, knowing that they are dependable, and the days are surely coming.
Second Reading: 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5
Hoot and Peep by Lita Judge
(Written for ages 3-5)
Comment: In Hoot and Peep, Hoot, older brother to his sister, Peep, decides she needs to learn about being an owl. He tells her that owls only say “hoo”, but Peep knows different sounds and doesn’t want to only say “hoo”. But Hoot is determined to have his way, refusing to acknowledge any sounds. Peep is persistent in singing her songs, and flies away because Hoot refuses to hear her. Peep continues to sing and speak, and Hoot realizes that he misses her and her songs, and they reunite. Ultimately Peep’s persistence pays off, and Hoot opens his ears to listen, and learns from his sister the many things owls can say! In 2 Timothy it says that some people are determined to suit only their own desires, and thus refuse to listen. But disciples of Jesus Christ are called to proclaim persistently what they know to be true, so that those who are holding only to their own desires will realize what they are missing. Hoot is so determined that his way is right that he can’t hear Peep’s wisdom. But Peep is persistent and ultimately Hoot learns something new. As disciples, we aren’t called to suit only our own desires, we’re called to learn from God, and to proclaim the truth persistently. God’s word is a source of challenge and learning, that shakes us out of inflexible adherence to our own desires, so that we are proficient and equipped for every good work, and prepared for the Lord’s kingdom.
Gospel Reading: Luke 18:1-8
Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems
(Written for ages 3-6)
Comment: Jesus compares having faith in God and not losing heart as we live faithful lives here on earth to something very strange: an unjust and unrepentant judge. A poor widow, who has been badly treated by this judge, refuses to accept his behavior, and keeps bothering him, until the judge finally relents. Jesus isn’t saying God is like this judge: unhappy, unwilling to hear us, unwilling to respond. Jesus is saying if even such a person as this judge could finally be made to respond, how much more will our good, loving, trustworthy God be willing to hear us and respond to us? Our faith is rooted in that trust, trust that God will hear us, and respond to us and grant us justice. In Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale, Trixie, who is too young to speak, realizes that she has left her precious stuffed bunny at the laundromat. She’s unable to say this directly to her father, but her persistent calls, her determined gibberish requests, her cries gain his attention and the attention of her mother, who notices the bunny is missing, and they do everything to get the bunny back to Trixie. Just like Trixie’s parents responded to her cries, God responds to our cries, and so we trust, always pray and have faith, and do not lose heart.
Thank you to Sara Anne Berger for writing the Lectionary Links for us for the past two weeks. Sara Anne is pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, Nachitoches, LA.