Year C: November 14
First Reading: Isaiah 65:17-25
This week, we offer two suggestions for the Old Testament reading.
What Does Peace Feel Like? by Vladimir Radunsky(Written for Grades K-3)
Comment: According to Nelson Rivera, this scripture passage from Isaiah gives us a very concrete visualization of peace “because it is as much a vision about the possibilities of the present as it is about the hopes for the future. (Feasting on the Word, Year C, Volume 4, p. 294)” The vision expressed in Isaiah, is made up of the things of life as they are, but in a way that is renewed—the world as we know it transformed as a joy. What of life, as we know it now, might be an experience of God’s new earth? Radunsky’s book explores concrete understandings of peace from the experience of children.
Paths to Peace by Jane Breskin Zalben (Written for Grades 4-6)
Comment: In his commentary, Nelson Rivera also suggests that this passage invites people to be a part of God’s work or restoration and renewal. Often our experience of this world is mired in fear and chaos. It’s hard to believe new heavens and a new earth are a possibility. Yet each of us has an opportunity to work for peace and reconciliation, to be agents of God’s work in the world. Paths to Peace shares the stories of sixteen peacemakers from a variety of vocations, locations, and traditions. Zalben dedicates a one page biographical account, paired with a beautiful illustration to each peacemaker explored in the book.
Second Reading: 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13
The Little Red Hen (Makes a Pizza) by Philemon Sturges (Written for Grades K-3)
Comment: This is not a pull your self up by your bootstraps text, but an exploration of what it means to be in community. Often it feels like a few people toil endlessly to accomplish the needs of the community, while a majority sit back and wait for others to get the work done. Sometimes this is due to idleness, but sometimes it’s because we forget to ask others to share their gifts. In The Little Red Hen (Makes a Pizza) we find a community of neighbors that doesn’t sound too different from the one describe in 2 Thessalonians. The Hen provides opportunities for her neighbors to help make pizza and they repeatedly respond with, “Not I!” The beautifully imagery of this story is that the Little Red Hen continues to include her neighbors, continues to ask for help, and sets an example that eventually leads them to respond, “I will!”
Third Reading: Luke 21:5-19
Henry & the Crazed Chicken Pirates by Carolyn Crimi (Written for Grades K-3)
Comment: Jesus’ description of the betrayal and persecution the disciples will experience is enough to produce fear in the minds of readers. How does one endure when one is afraid? Our endurance may simply be rooted in Jesus’ words that he is with us and gives us words when we cannot find our own. In Crimi’s book we find a misunderstood character, whose experience can be compared to the one Jesus describes. While Henry worries about and prepares for impending danger, his family and friends encourage him to relax and leave his work behind. Henry endures in his preparations because he believes in what he is doing. When the crazed chicken pirates arrive he is afraid, and unsure how to be brave. Then the words of his book come to him: “when the enemy is nearby, pretend to be brave.” In the end Henry’s endurance saves the buccaneer bunnies.