Year A: March 23, 2014
First Reading: Exodus 17:1-7
Animal Strike at the Zoo, It’s True! by Karma Wilson
(Written for ages 4-8 )
Comment: Sue is so excited for her trip to the zoo. She has been waiting an entire year to see the animals, but when she gets to the zoo, Sue finds all the animals on strike. Karma Wilson’s story Animal Strike at the Zoo, It’s True! brings to life the disappointment the animals have with the zookeeper. He does everything he can to satisfy the animals, but the strike continues. In the Exodus passage we find the Israelites complaining to and about Moses. He can’t seem to do anything right for them while they are waiting in the wilderness. It feels like the Israelites are on the verge of a strike. Most everyone will be able to identify with the Israelites and the animals. Even young children will be able to think of a time when they were upset with the choices of those in charge of them. Older children will be able to identify with Moses and the zookeeper and be able recall times when they were the leader being questioned.
Second Reading: Romans 5:1-11
Odd Velvet by Mary E. Whitcomb
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: Ward B. Ewing writes “recognizing that our fundamental identity rests in the value of our humanity also means recognizing the word of every other human being as well. Openness to others becomes easier, empathy toward others is a natural response, and willingness to know and be known binds us together” (Feasting on the Word Year A. Vol 2 pg 90). These two sentences summarize Paul’s understanding of justification and reconciliation. They have everything to do with relationships. Each person’s full humanity can only shine when we care for, pray for, share with, and build up each other. In Odd Velvet, Velvet and her classmates learn how each of them is interconnected throughout the school year. The other children view Velvet as odd and they leave her out. There are moments throughout where they open up to her and are changed by what Velvet has to offer. One of these moments happens on the bus. Velvet is asked to join in the conversation. What she has to say transports the other children to a magical place. Learning to open ourselves up to the odd ones will allow us to be changed.
Gospel Reading: John 4:5-42
Rainbow Fish to the Rescue by Marcus Pfister
(Written for ages 3 and up)
Comment: The Gospel passage this morning tells the story of Jesus’ encounter with a Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus is taking a huge risk to be seen with what the culture considers a nobody. This woman is outside of the community, and is not even named, but Jesus speaks to her with love and compassion. John’s narrative opens up a conversation to ask who are the nobodies in our life, and what risk are we willing to take for them. Rainbow Fish must answer these questions in Rainbow Fish to the Rescue. While the fish with the sparkling silver scales are playing together, a little striped fish asks to join in the game, but is not welcomed into the group. They continue to play while the striped fish looks on until danger comes. The fish with the sparkling silver scales make it safely away, but Rainbow Fish notices that the little striped fish has not. Rainbow Fish must quickly make the decision to risk his friends to help the nobody. In the end, Rainbow Fish and all his friends help. This is lesson we all come face to face to often in our life. Will we make the choice to follow Jesus’ and Rainbow Fish’s examples and risk ourselves for the nobody?
The Lectionary Links this week are written by Union Presbyterian Seminary alumna Elizabeth Boulware Landes, Director of Children’s Ministry at Faith Presbyterian Church, Aledo, TX.