Year A: October 2nd, 2011 (World Communion Sunday)
First Reading: Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20
If Everybody Did by Jo Ann Stover
(Written for ages 3-5)
Comment: This passage outlines the ten commandments given to the people of Israel by God. These commandments were intended to protect people and to keep the community functioning at its best. In If Everybody Did, we get a chance to see, in hilarious illustrations, the repercussions of having NO rules—if everybody did whatever they wanted! While a hilarious look at such a situation, the book underscores the importance of having rules to guide, just as the ten commandments do for us.
Second Reading: Philippians 3:4b-14
The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
(Written for ages 4-8 )
Comment: “Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus”, Paul concludes in this passage. He presses on through the “loss of all things” in order to “gain Christ” and with a righteousness “from God based on faith”. He encourages the Philippians to follow his example of persevering toward the goal. So, too, does the Little Engine in the Little Engine that Could encourage children to press on toward goals. This classic story of the Little Engine who kept trying against all odds to make its delivery still inspires, and we in our lives of pressing toward the goal of Christ can echo its refrain, “I think I can! I think I can! I think I can!”
Gospel Reading: Matthew 21: 33-46
Everybody Needs a Rock by Byrd Baylor
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: The parable of the wicked tenants is a dark and graphic story in the New Testament. But at its close, Jesus comments on the story using the imagery of rocks. Jesus says, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone, this was the Lord’s doing, and it is amazing in our eyes.” The wicked tenants refused to see what was very important right in front of their eyes, and the builders rejected a rock that did not seem good in their eyes, but in God’s eyes that very rock is the best rock and in God’s eyes all things are important. The little girl in Everybody Needs a Rock also sees what’s important right in front of her eyes, and she notices what is best about all kinds of rocks! She sees their beauty and notices their details. She sees them how God sees them. God makes the rejected stones the chief cornerstones, and sees the importance of all people and things. Like God and like the little girl in the story, we should strive to do so, as well.
This Lectionary Links post was written by Union Presbyterian Seminary alumna Sara Anne Berger.
Bread is for Eating by David and Phillis Gershator (Written for Ages 5-9)
Comment: When I develop children’s learning experiences around World Communion Sunday, they almost always involve tasting many different kinds of bread. It’s helpful to make the connection that bread is a major food source for people around the world. I love this book because it is like a prayer of thanksgiving for each member of creation that takes part in bringing bread to our table. The story also includes a page devoted to “the people around the world, dreaming of bread.” In the illustration, they are gathered together as if they are in a family portrait. You’ll want to share this poignant image of world communion with all the children you know! For those who would like to make liturgical connections, a song in Spanish is sung repeatedly throughout the story. (An English translation and music are on the last page.) You could either find a way to incorporate this song into your worship service, or when you tell the story, replace the song with a familiar hymn refrain used by your congregation on Sundays when communion is shared.
Thanks to regular contributor Noell Rathbun for this extra suggestion on this Sunday.