Year B, September 16, 20122
First Reading: Proverbs 1:20-33
Poppy’s Puppet by Patricia Lee Gauch
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: Lady Wisdom is lamenting all those who hear her voice but do not obey her words. She is lamenting those who choose to ignore her advice. This passage from Proverbs presents listening as something that is active. It requires a response from those who hear the words of Lady Wisdom. Kenneth Carter writes, “Listening in Proverbs is always linked to obedience and obedience is participation in the practices that lead to wisdom”. In Poppy ’s Puppets, Poppy hand carves toys from wood he finds in unexpected places. He takes the time to listen to the wood and carve it into the thing the wood wishes to be, until one day he finds a piece of wood that is silent. Instead of waiting to discover what the wood wants to be, Poppy carves to soon and this interaction between this puppet with the others never quite comes about. Poppy reminds us that sometimes we must be patient in our listening, especially when we are listening for wisdom or God, but when we do listen and obey, we will find ourselves “secure…and without dread of disaster” (v 33). (Feasting on the Word, Year B, Volume 4, Page 52)
Candy Shop by Jan Wahl
(Written for ages 4-9)
Comment: According to James, the tongue is something we are unable to tame. It makes blessings and curses. The language we use is not a problem limited to the time and place in which James was writing. It might be more of a problem today with the use of written forms of communication along with spoken. This passage allows for a conversation about the ways in which spoken words and written words can hurt someone. All Daniel can think about is finishing his chores and buying candy, but when he arrives at the candy shop with his Aunt he finds the owner Miz Chu crying and a crowd of people outside the store. Someone has written angry and mean words on the sidewalk. Daniel recognizes the words are the reason Miz Chu is crying and he works to wash them away. It is important to remind children that even though the words are washed away Miz Chu was still upset by them, and that our words can hurt others even when we apologize for saying them. We cannot take back what we have said or written but we can strive to make amends.
The Mysterious Guests: A Sukkot Story by Eric Kimmel
(Written for ages 6-9)
Comment: The final section of our Gospel reading for this morning is a call to discipleship for all Christians. This call is issued to all Christians including children and requires us to deny ourselves and take up the cross. Sharon Ringe explains that to “deny oneself is to remove oneself from consideration”. This requires us to put other people’s feelings and needs ahead of ourselves. Children learn to do this everyday when they share toys, and take turns. Eben and Ezra in The Mysterious Guests: A Sukkot Story each have the opportunity to welcome strangers into their sukkah and to share what they have. One brother is grateful to share while the other turns the strangers away. This book shows us that it is a choice to follow Jesus and to put others first, but when we do this we receive blessings. (Feasting on the Word, Year B, Volume 4, pg. 73)
This Lectionary Links post was written by Union Presbyterian Seminary graduate Elizabeth Boulware Landes.