Year A: July 10, 2011
First Reading: Genesis 25:19-34
Gonzalo Grabs the Good Life by Janice Levy
This week’s text from Genesis tells the story of Jacob stealing his brother Esau’s birthright, from the patriarchal cycle of stories. On one level, children can identify with the action in this story, in which one brother manipulates the other, to achieve his own desires and goals. Thus, it is a VERY human story with which elementary school children may readily identify. However, it is also a story of God at work for God’s purposes, even in the self-serving actions of human creatures (like Jacob). Gonzalo Grabs the Good Life tells the story of a rooster who wins the lottery, quits his farmyard job, and decides to live the “good life.” But Gonzalo the rooster’s choices and actions do not bring him happiness. What WILL bring him purpose and fulfillment? This story of a rooster, featuring Hispanic characters throughout, can help children begin to see how “grabbing the good life” may not mean what we think it means…as it also turned out for Jacob!
Second Reading: Romans 8:1-11
My Mama Had a Dancing Heart by Libba Moore Gray and Raul Colon
Our passage from Romans emphasizes Christ’s gift to us of freedom to live life fully, not to withdraw and protect ourselves but to grab all of life fully, and truly engage. As Paul understands the gospel, it is the good news of transformed life for individuals AND for the world itself. Thus, we are entreated to choose life and live it fully! Libba Moore Gray’s book, My Mama Had a Dancing Heart can be read on one level as a daughter’s poem of love and gratefulness for her mother, who was a dancer and gave the author herself the gift of dance. But as you read through the words and illustrations of the book, a “dancing heart” is shown to be more than just literal dancing. It is a metaphor for embracing life and truly living it, in every season. As mama says in every season, “ Bless my soul, it’s a tip top day!”
Gospel Reading: Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
Fourteen Cows for America by Carmen Agra Deedy in collaboration with Wilson Kimeli Naiyomah
The parable of the seed and sower is a very familiar story. As a parable, it has a range of possible interpretations, as the hearers engage it. Among those “meanings” are the promise that God can bring a bigger harvest or return in our lives than we even imagine possible. The true story told in Fourteen Cows takes place in 2002, in a village in Kenya. There, hundreds of Maasai tribes people have gathered to send a gift to the people of America, following the September 11 attacks on targets in the United States. It is a small gift, perhaps seen as a strange gift by some: the gift of fourteen cows for the Americans who have suffered loss. It is a small gift on the global scale, just a tiny seed, but it takes root around the world, and bears great fruit.
This week’s Lectionary Links are written by Union Presbyterian Seminary professor Dr. Pamela Mitchell Legg.