Year B: July 12, 2015
First Reading: 2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12b-19
Twenty-One Elephants and Still Standing by April Jones Prince
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: As I read through this passage, the first image I pictured was that of a parade. I can see the people gathering to see the Ark of God and hear the music it as it goes past their home. The reading of this passage falls near 4th of July, so I imagine many children will be able to picture a parade pretty vividly. This new stage in the people’s relationship with God and each other is marked by joy and excitement, but I expect not everyone was feeling this way. The scripture gives us a glimpse of one person, Michal, who is not sharing in the celebrations. Her heart is filled with contempt. The opening of the Brooklyn Bridge was a similar experience. It marked a new way of building, and created new connections for New York and Brooklyn. Its opening was marked with celebrations, but still people doubted its safety. Twenty-One Elephants and Still Standing explores the way in which the doubters were won over. P.T. Barnum marched 21 elephants across the bridge. As he led these elephants one after anther across the bridge, people were drawn to the bridge to watch the parade of elephants. Even the doubters found their way on the bridge. Both the scripture passage and this book show us the difficultly that comes with something new. While our book provides us with a conclusion to the situation, our scripture leaves us in the midst of joy and despair.
Second Reading: Ephesians 1:3-14
Curious George Goes Camping by Margret and H.A. Rey
(Written for ages 3-5)
Comment: We have been lavished with forgiveness. This gift to us is undeserved, and bigger than any other gift. It is amazing to know that no matter what happens in the our life, Jesus has showered us with his forgiveness. We can never be reminded of this enough. George is a curious monkey who always finds himself in the midst of a mess. As you continue to read Curious George Goes Camping, George finds himself into even more trouble. When the Man in the Yellow Hat finds George, you might expect some stern words from the Man in the Yellow Hat. Instead the man is relieved to find George. He offers his forgiveness and helps George to recover from his mistakes. It is lavished upon George. Jesus does this for us. Anytime we find that our curiosity gets the better of us, Jesus is there to lavish us with his grace and love. (If you are unable to obtain this exact book, the pattern of George finding himself in the midst of trouble and then being lavished with forgiveness by the Man in the Yellow Hat can be found in almost the entire series.)
Gospel Reading: Mark 6:14-29
Little Red Bird by Nick Bruel
(Written for ages 3-6)
Comment: This passage deals with subject matter that may be difficult for children. It is not something that can be completely overlooked, but we might be able to down play our focus on the actions, and instead focus on the inner workings of the characters. In this passage from Mark, the characters are each faced with difficult decisions to make. Herod’s daughter has to choose what she wished for from her father, and Herod has to decide if he is going to follow through on his promise made before hearing the request. Little Red Bird faces tough decisions, too. The decision to leave her cage is the first of many difficult decisions for Little Red Bird. As the story continues, Bruel turns his attention to the reader ending the book with the question “I wonder what you would do?”. This question can help us enter the Gospel story. What would we do in Herod’s situation? What would we ask for? Like Herod, his daughter, and Little Red Bird,we are all faced with difficult decisions to make.
We welcome Elizabeth Boulware Landes back as our Lectionary Links writer for the next four weeks. Elizabeth is a dual degree graduate of Union Presbyterian Seminary and is on the staff of Faith Presbyterian Church in Aledo, TX.