Year A: May 15, 2011
First Reading: Acts 2:42-47
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (Written for Ages 13+)
Comment: In this text we read of the things that bound the early church community together—devotion to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and the prayers. No matter what communities we find ourselves to be a part of, each is typically centered on devotion to a particular cause, practice, or belief. In The Graveyard Book community is built around the care, raising, and protection of Nobody “Bod” Owens, a toddler who crawls into a graveyard the night his family is murdered. As Bod grows, he wants to explore the world outside the graveyard, but different members of his community advise him against it, in a desire to keep him safe. “Us in the graveyard, we wants you to stay alive. We wants you to surprise us and disappoint us and impress us and amaze us.” (Chapter 6) Throughout the book we see the graveyard community bond together to protect Bod until the world is finally a safe place for him; because of their commitment and devotion, Bod is finally able to walk into the world “with his eyes and his heart wide open.” (Chapter 8.)
The Lord Is My Shepherd illustrated by Anne Wilson
Psalm Twenty-Three illustrated by Tim Ladwig
Although we don’t typically include the Psalms in weekly lectionary links, these illustrated versions of Psalm 23 worth checking out. Discussing the illustrations with children is a great way to talk about the meaning of the Psalm and explore how one might have chosen to illustrate it differently.
Martin’s Big Words by Doreen Rappaport (Written for Ages 6-9)
Comment: “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps.” What does it mean to follow in Christ’s footsteps? I think the text is not calling us to seek out suffering, but rather, to act in a particular way as a response to our suffering. We remember the stories of many people who followed in Jesus’ footsteps—people who advocated nonviolence in the midst of suffering. Martin’s Big Words is a simply written, yet poignant retelling of the life and message of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior. When we follow Christ’s example, we struggle through violence and suffering by focusing not on the power of our fists, but the power of love. “Love is the key to the problems of the world.” These big words of Martin, like the big words of Jesus, help us to live out the Easter message. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
Feeding the Sheep by Leda Schubert (Written for Ages 3-5)
Comment: “When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.” In this story a little girl watches her mother care for sheep, and go through the steps of turning their wool into a sweater. Readers will find a similarity between the mother’s care for the girl and a shepherd’s care for the sheep. “‘What are you doing?’ the little girl asked. ‘keeping you warm,’ her mother said. Sweater snug, woolly hug.” Throughout the story the girl mimics her mother’s actions, and by the end of the story, the girl has followed in her mother’s footsteps and is caring for the sheep.
This Lectionary Links post is written by Noell Rathbun.