Year A: September 21, 2014
First Reading: Exodus 16:2-15
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
(Written for ages 6 and up)
Comment: The Lord is very direct to Moses and the Israelites as God answers their complaints. God will provide bread for each person, but they are only to gather what they need for each day. This idea of only taking what we truly need pushes against the culture. When we take what we need, we leave access for others take what they need. In The Lorax, Dr. Seuss addresses this issue of taking only what we need. In a conversation between the Once-ler and the Lorax, the Once-ler responds to the Lorax’s concerns: “I meant no harm. I most truly did not. But I had to grow bigger. So bigger I got. … And I biggered my money, which everyone needs.” For the Once-ler there were dire consequences for feeding his wants. It is important to help children learn to differentiate between wants and needs. This will look different during different stages of our life, but when we are able to tell the difference we can see the world with different eyes. When we can see the difference between wants and needs, we are able to see the blessings God lavishes upon us everyday.
Second Reading: Philippians 1:21-30
A Friend for All Seasons by Julia Hubery
(Written for ages 4 and up)
Comment: Life brings different seasons for us. Sometime everything in our life is joyful and exciting, and at other times it is sad and dreary. Paul in his letter to the Philippians is in the middle of a dreary season. As Paul is writing he is trying to decide how to deal with his situation.He chooses to keep a relationship with the Philippians and hopes to share in their joy and growth, even as he is in a season of winter. Relationships require give and take, and as decisions are made, we must keep in mind the other people it might affect. Robbie Raccoon in A Friend for All Seasons learns what it means to be a friend through all the seasons, as fall comes and his best friend Old Oak begins to lose his leaves. He is concerned and tries to do what ever he can to help Old Oak’s leaves stop falling. Paul does not give up on the Philippians because they are in different seasons of life, and even though the scriptures don’t tell us, I like to think the Philippians did not give up on Paul either.
Gospel Reading: Matthew 20:1-16
Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great by Bob Shea
(Written for ages 2-6)
Comment: This description of heaven excites me. The idea that those who come to the party last still have the opportunity to receive the same things is a novel idea. I can certainly see how the workers who were hired first and worked all day were envious of those hired after them, especially the ones hired last. This passage gives us an opportunity to talk with our children about managing the feelings of envy. When we let these feelings swoop in and take over, we struggle to see the blessings in front of us. The workers had trouble seeing the blessing of the denarion. Goat struggles with seeing the beautiful things about himself when Unicorn comes along in Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great. Goat has gotten wrapped up in the differences between him and Unicorn, and is unable to see anything positive in himself or Unicorn. It is not until Unicorn gives him praise that he is able to recognize the blessings he has. We all have things to be grateful for, but envy keeps us from seeing these. We need to be able to recognize, name, and move beyond these feelings. The laborers in the parable, are stuck in the stage of envy.
This week’s Lectionary Links are written by Union Presbyterian Seminary alumna Elizabeth Boulware Landes.