Year A: September 10th, 2017
First Reading: Exodus 12:1-14
Once Upon a Memory by Nina Laden
(Written for ages 4-7)
Comment: In Exodus, God tells Moses and the people to prepare themselves, to eat hurriedly, to cover the lintels of their door posts with the blood of lamb’s, and to wait in awe and fear as the passover of the Lord occurs. But not only are they to live through it, they are to remember it. This event is so important it will mark the beginning of years from now on. They are to remember it, with meals and action, every year. This remembering is important because it keeps them mindful of what God has done, God’s fearsome power, and what God led them out of. In Once Upon a Memory, a child wonders whether or not the things he encounters remember their beginnings: does a book remember it was once a word, does love remember when it was new, does a cake remember it was once grain, etc? The boy even knows that he is at a beginning, and wonders if he will remember being a child. The boy sees how everything has a past, and a past worth remembering. God wanted Moses and the people to remember their beginnings, to commemorate it each year, because their past was worth remembering. We, too, are called to remember God’s mighty acts, the things God has done for us, and to commemorate those things in our lives and in our worship.
Second Reading: Romans 13:8-14
Flashlight by Lizi Boyd
(Written for ages 4-6)
Comment: In Romans, the apostle Paul urges the Roman congregation to lay aside the works of darkness because night is going away and the day is nearer than ever. Paul is speaking metaphorically of course, but the image of this metaphor is strong and vibrant. We may have experienced the feeling of watching the dawn rise out of darkness, seen the change that occurs. We may know the comfort of having a little bit of light in a sweeping dark night. Flashlight doesn’t have any text, but it evokes the same imagery Paul does in his letter. We see a boy walk through the darkness, but thanks to his flashlight, he is able to illuminate parts of it and show us what is there, shining his way through. Paul tells the Romans to lay aside the works of darkness, and by shining his flashlight, the boy in the story is able to cut through the darkness with his beam of light. This letter is a good reminder to us, that as Christians, we are light to the world, and we can choose whether we will cover up that light or whether we will lay aside the works of darkness and let our light shine as the new day in Jesus Christ begins to dawn.
Gospel Reading: Matthew 18:15-20
Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: In Matthew, Jesus gives instructions on how to work out disputes between believers in congregations. He urges direct conversations, first between the two individuals in a dispute, then with the presence of several more witnesses, and then finally, if nothing changes, within the whole church. But clearly, given the progression, Jesus hopes that the dispute will be resolved between the original two before it progresses any further. And resolution is the goal at the end of each example he provides. In Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, Lilly is so excited to bring her purple plastic purse to school and present it for show and tell. But she gets too distracted by the purse and becomes a distraction in her classroom, so her teacher, Mr. Slinger, takes the purse from her as punishment. Lilly is so angry that she draws an ugly picture with a mean note written to Mr. Slinger. Which means she feels terrible when the purse is returned at the end of the day with a kind note from Mr. Slinger inside of it. As a result, Lilly decides to go and make amends with her teacher, and she does. Lilly wanted to repair her relationship with Mr. Slinger, and she went to him, directly, and worked to make amends. Like Lilly and Mr. Slinger, Jesus urges us to work through disputes to resolution, and hopefully to work through them directly and in the context of community, so that we can make amends and build up the body of Christ.
Thanks to Sara Anne Berger, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Nachitoches, LA, for writing the Revised Common Lectionary Links this week.