There are many possible texts listed in the Revised Common Lectionary for use on Easter Sunday. This week’s post, written by Dr. Pamela Mitchell Legg, links four of those texts with children’s books and stories.
Year A: April 17, 2011
Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 25:6-9
I Have Heard of a Land by Joyce Carol Thomas, Illustrated by Floyd Cooper (Written for ages 7-11)
Comment: Today’s text from Isaiah is one prophetic depiction of what we call “the Kingdom of God” as it will be manifest and experienced: a rich feast for all peoples, death, gloom, and sadness destroyed, with all disgrace wiped away. The Lord will be manifest and we will rejoice! Other books reviewed on this site (like Tim Ladwig’s Jubilee) will also be appropriate on this Sunday, but if you want to push beyond the “expected,” try using I Have Heard of A Land. While on the surface it is a story of the Oklahoma territory land give-away in late 1800’s America, the story together with the images depict the inclusiveness and bounty of God’s Kingdom for ALL people (here it is made manifest in the story of African Americans for whom “the land” of plenty is finally made available.)
“Jesus Is Alive” in the Children of God Bible Storybook, by Archbishop Desmond Tutu (Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: This Bible storybook does a good job of putting a wide range of Biblical stories from both the Old and New Testament in half-page form using simple language, accompanied by a beautiful color illustration for each story and a very brief (one line) prayer following each text. One story included in this children’s Bible storybook is “Jesus is Alive,” which explicitly references and summarizes both of today’s gospel texts, from John and Luke. It would make a good simple “children’s message” in worship on Easter Sunday; one could simply read the story, show the accompanying painting, and pray together the simple one-line prayer at the close of the story: “Dear God, Help me to see that Jesus lives.”
The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson, Illustrated by E.B. Lewis (Written for ages 6 – 10)
Comment: The passage from Acts , often headed “Gentiles Hear the Good News”, speaks of the spread of the gospel to “every nation.” Not only does the good news of the Savior go to every nation, but it is known AS good news to all peoples, rather than a message for an elite few. The Other Side tells a story of divided peoples brought together, using two young girls in a segregated town, who meet on and “dissolve” a literal fence that divides their races. In the end, the fence becomes the children’s meeting and “perching” place, rather than a dividing wall.