YEAR C: July 31st, 2016
First Reading: Hosea 11:1-11
The Day the Babies Crawled Away by Peggy Rathmann
(Written for ages 2-5)
Comment: In Hosea, God laments how God’s children, loved and cared for like a parent cares for an infant, have turned away from that love. But God, loving them still, even when hurt by their rejection, cannot give them up, and concludes that they will one day come home again. In The Day the Babies Crawled Away, at a picnic, all the babies decide to crawl off, seeking adventure away from their parents. But one child notices and follows them. He tries to call the babies back, watching over them as they crawl on trees and ledges, keeping them safe. Finally, he gathers them and brings them home, much heralded by the parents in celebration of their return. This child wasn’t willing to let the babies run off forever, and brought them safely home. And God won’t let God’s children outrun love and kindness, and won’t give us up, either. However we may have turned away, God is eager to bring us home again.
Second Reading: Colossians 3:1-11
Everybody Brings Noodles by Norah Dooley
(Written for ages 7-10)
Comment: In Everybody Brings Noodles, Carrie plans a neighborhood block party to showcase everybody’s talents and foods. Every person has a different talent to share, but it turns out, despite their differences, everyone brings some type of noodles to the party! The letter to the Colossians describes the same kind of community: a community not divided by the fact that it includes both Jew and Greek, but instead, as individuals, they are all united in Jesus Christ. Jesus binds all the different people together as one community. Carrie, in the story, worries she has nothing to offer, but is wonderfully surprised when her neighbors praise her for connecting and building up their diverse neighborhood. This letter to the Colossians did the same for their church, reminding them to put away divisions and look for what they share in their differences, and to come together in Jesus Christ. Today we, too, build up our communities not by drawing lines of Jew versus Greek, lines to separate us, but by celebrating what connects us in Jesus Christ.
Gospel Reading: Luke 12:13-21
The Most Wonderful Thing In the World by Vivian French
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: Sometimes worry and fear and day-to-day living make us lose sight of what is most important. In our gospel passage, Jesus reminds an anxious follower about what matters most, when he tells the man not to be so concerned with getting his portion of the family inheritance. Instead, Jesus says, store up heavenly treasures, be rich toward God, and fight against greed—riches are not the most important thing. And in The Most Wonderful Thing in the World, the king and queen decide to find a husband for their daughter, Lucia, by having suitors present ‘The Most Wonderful Thing in the World’. Each suitor brings various riches: jewels and flowers and animals, and more, all extravagant and impressive, but the king and queen send them away, unsatisfied. Unbeknownst to them, Lucia has secretly fallen in love with a young man named Salvatore, who shows her parents the most important thing in the world: their daughter. They realized what was more important than riches and gifts, just as Jesus reminded the man who asked him to command his half of the inheritance from his brother. We, too, ought to guard against greed, remembering what is truly the most important and wonderful thing, and be rich toward God.
The Lectionary Links this week are written by Sara Anne Berger, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, Natchitoches, LA.