22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Year B, September 9, 2012
First Reading: Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23
Alexander, Who used to be Rich Last Sunday by Judith Viorst
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: The selected verses from Proverbs are calling us to pay attention to the responsible way that money is to be used in the Christian community, while also reminding us that the rich and the poor are all children of God. Verse 8 expects the rich to work for justice in the communities, and verse 9 expects the rich to share resources with the poor. Many children are learning how money works and what role it will play in their life. Alexander is learning this lesson the hard way. His grandparents come to visit and he has a whole dollar for one day. Throughout the day he loses or spends it cent by cent until he is left with nothing. While Alexander is not sharing his money with the poor, he is learning the difficult lesson of how quickly and easy it is to spend money, and how he feels when he does not have any money. Proverbs invites us to pay attention to the money in our possession and use it in a way that brings justice and bread for all people.
Second Reading: James 2:1-10, (11-13), 14-17
Is There Room on the Feather Bed? by Libba Moore Gray
(Written for ages 2-6)
Comment: James warns us against playing favorites and leaving people out of the community. The examples James provides are based on socio-economic status, but this example could be anything that makes us different. In Is There Room on the Feather Bed? all the animals have buddied up, but skunk looks on from afar. On a cold and rainy night all the animals ask to be let in and to sleep on the feather bed and the compassionate woman lets them in. After a while the skunk knocks on the door and is let in too. All the animals run out into the rain and stay there until they realize if they accept the skunk for being a skunk they can all enjoy the warm and coziness of the featherbed. Our days are better when we accept people for who they are. James reminds us that Christianity is about loving our neighbors as ourselves and that includes the poor and the skunks.
Gospel Reading: Mark 7:24-37
Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss
(Written for ages 6 and up)
Comment: Horton must convince Kangaroo that the whos exists on the speck. Only he can hear them, but he does not give up and continues to fight for Kangaroo to believe him. The gospel reading for this Sunday includes two healing stories in which healing is asked for on behalf of the one needing healing. Like the whos on the speck need Horton to protect them, the Syrophoenician women must ask for healing for her daughter and the dead ma’s friends speak for him. The Syrophoenician woman is denied healing upon her first request, but it is in standing up for herself that she is able to receive the healing for her daughter. We do not know why Jesus refuses her request at first, but we know that he honors it because she was not willing to accept no as an answer. Both Horton and the Syrophoenician women know what the right thing to do is in this situation and both need courage to follow through. Neither lets others influence their actions. These stories can serve as reminders to children that sometimes doing the right thing takes courage, and when we do not back down we can achieve what we set out to do.
The Lectionary Links this week were written by Union Presbyterian Seminary graduate Elizabeth Boulware Landes.