Year C: July 10, 2016
First Reading: Amos 7:7-17
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: When approaching this text with children, it is perhaps most helpful to explain that a prophet’s job is to help people see that all actions have consequences. In the case of today’s text, we hear that a community rooted in injustice is on a fast track for devastation. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie is a classic storybook that humorously helps readers consider that all of our actions have consequences. On a day where the text is quite heavy, this lighter story helps open up space for wondering about both positive or negative consequences that follow each of our actions.
Second Reading: Colossians 1:1-14
The Tale of the Heaven Tree by Mary Joslin
(Written for ages 5-9)
Comment: In his commentary on this text, Richard L. Eslinger explores fruit bearing as described in Colossians as backward. “First, the apostle insists, we bear fruit. Then we grow… Finally, we discover that, through the grace of God in Jesus Christ, we have been ‘transferred’ into the kingdom…” (Feasting on the Word, Year C, Vol 3, p 237) The Tale of the Heaven Tree illustrates this idea beautifully, and also pairs well thematically with those reading Amos alongside the Epistle reading. In the midst of great devastation, a single girl’s action bears fruit that grows community. Using this text and story, encourage your community to share their own experience of bearing good fruit leading to growth.
Gospel Reading: Luke 10:25-37
Leo: A Ghost Story by Mac Barnett
(Written for ages 5-9)
Comment: In Jesus’ story, the person we’d least expect to act like a neighbor is, by far, the most neighborly. A ghost is someone we’d least expect to become a real friend, yet Leo, like the Samaritan, helps us to expand our ideas of neighbors and friendship. This familiar story causes us to let go of assumptions and stereotypes and it asks us to stretch our understanding of neighbors and friends. Sure, Kevin, who lives next door is my neighbor. My neighbors are also that busker on the street corner, the person standing opposite me at a political protest, and strangers seeking refuge when their home communities have been torn apart. This text invites us to ask, “Who are your neighbors?”
The Lectionary Links this week are written by Noell Rathbun-Cook, minister of children’s and youth discipleship at Grace Baptist Church, Richmond, VA.