Year A: August 3, 2014
First Reading: Genesis 32:22-31
Eric The Boy Who Lost His Gravity by Jenni Desmond
(Written for ages 5-8)
Comment: Jacob wrestles with a man and refuses to let the man go. We don’t know exactly who the man is from this story, but we are able to infer that it’s an angel of the Lord God. After wrestling all night long, Jacob demands that the man give him a blessing before he’ll let go of the man, to which the man replies with a blessing of being the patriarch of Israel. We learn from earlier stories of Jacob that he’s a schemer and does what he needs in order to get what he wants. Here we see Jacob’s faith in God through his refusing to let go of “the man” before leaving with a blessing. Here we learn that in wrestling, we see God and are often blessed in the end. Eric is an older brother who likes things the way he likes them, but he has a little sister that wants to play along with him and his things. When Eric gets mad, he loses himself in his anger, but then learns that all can be okay if he focuses on what makes him happy. His sister sees his anger and gets mad herself, but Eric uses what he’s learned from his own experience to help keep his sister from losing herself in anger, too. Eric has to learn for himself, but is blessed through his experience. When the same thing happens to his sister, he passes the blessing on to her. In the end, they are both happy despite having wrestled with emotions and anger.
Second Reading: Romans 9:1-5
Separate is Never Equal by Duncan Tonatiuh
(Written for ages 6-9)
Comment: Romans speaks to God’s election of Israel saying, “…and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises” of God, the Messiah. Paul speaks about the providential hands of God in that we are all recipients of what God has to give – the greatest gift – in Jesus Christ. Sylvia Mendez and her family fought the Mexican/White desegregation issue in California public schools in the 1940s, before Brown v. Board of Education took place. The story is a mixture of interviews with Sylvia and also news articles about the legal proceedings. We learn how Mexican families had to fight for education equality in California through the story, glossary, bibliography and author’s note, all which help us to understand that despite race or nationality, we are all heirs of something greater than the individual. Much like Paul shares to all belong the adoption, glory, worship and promises of God!
Gospel Reading: Matthew 14:13-21
Picnic by John Burningham
(Written for ages 2-5)
Comment: This parable is about more than just feeding people. The parable teaches us that when we have received the compassion of Christ and give it freely, the compassion we give ripples out father than our ability to explain it or imagine its impact. In the parable Jesus indicates to the disciples to give the people something to eat, so the disciples are the ones to give the food to the multitudes gathered. We see Christ’s empathy for the people and we see the transformative power of Christ that happens when people break bread together. In Picnic, Boy and Girl leave their house for a picnic and pick up friends on their way to their desired eating location. Once they arrive there with the new animal friends, everyone eats together and plays together. After the hike back home, all are tired so Boy and Girl allow everyone to stay at their house for the night. We see a story of a boy and a girl who start with a plan for themselves, but as their plans grow so does the ability to include, feed, and house their newest friends.
We welcome 2011 Union Presbyterian Seminary alumna Katie Todd as our Links writer for the next four weeks. You can read more about Katie (and all our other writers) on our Writer’s Page.