11th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Year C: June 16, 2013
First Reading: 1 Kings 21:1-10, (11-14), 15-21a
What the Ladybug Heard by Julia Donaldson
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: “I have found you. Because you have sold yourself to do what is evil in the sight of the Lord, I will bring disaster on you…” In today’s text, Ahab and Jezebel follow through with a wicked plan to take what doesn’t belong to them. While the full text is quite tragic and Naboth is unfairly executed, the story ends on a point that will make sense to children: wicked behavior has consequences. Through his words, Elijah makes it clear to Ahab that he will not get away with doing what is evil in the Lord’s sight. In Donaldson’s What the Ladybug Heard, farm animals use their voices to foil the wicked plan of a pair of thieves. The thieves’ attempt to steal the farm’s prized cow ends with them facing the consequence of jail. Inspired by these stories, wonder together with your congregation about the ways God calls us to use our voices against injustice.
Second Reading: Galatians 2:15-21
Not Your Typical Dragon by Dan Bar-el
(Written for ages 5-9)
Comment: Theologian Wendy Farley suggests that this text calls us to consider who we include or exclude from our communities. “If we think of a traditional practice as essential for faith, we exclude from our community lovers of Christ who practice differently than we do.” (Feasting on the Word, Year C, Volume 3, p 134) Christ living within us should open our hearts to loving and welcoming others, rather than judging or excluding. Different doesn’t have to mean bad. The dragons learn this in the story Not Your Typical Dragon. At first they have trouble accepting Crispin because he doesn’t breathe fire, but as the story ends they learn that there is space in their community for someone who is not your typical dragon. As we reflect on this text and story, we might ask ourselves who the Crispins are that we have excluded or welcomed within our own communities.
Gospel Reading: Luke 7:36-8:3
The Goblin and the Empty Chair by Mem Fox
(Written for ages 5-9)
Comment: For the sake of reflection imagine that you are hearing this story for the first time. You understand that a Pharisee is an upright member of the community and follower of the law. You expect good things from him. On the other hand a woman, particularly a sinful woman, would not be someone you would want to interact with or expect good behavior from. Yet in this story, it is the woman, not the Pharisee, who shows Jesus great love and hospitality. “And [Jesus] said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you; go in peace.’” We don’t expect much from the woman, yet her faith, as displayed through her acts of compassion, free her and bring her peace. The Goblin in Fox’s story is similar to the woman. He appears to us as a hideous character who remains hidden from world so that he will not frighten others. His compassionate acts towards a nearby family change his own perception of himself, save him from a life of loneliness, and bring him peace.
The Lectionary Links this week were written by regular contributor Noell Rathbun-Cook.