Year B: November 18, 2012
First Reading: 1 Samuel 1:4-20
Happy by Mies Van Hout
(Written for ages 2-5)
Comment: When thinking about sharing this text with children (and adults), it’s important to note that our prayers are not like wishes waiting to be fulfilled. Too many people have heard the false and cruel statement that their prayers are left unanswered because they are not praying the right way. The power of Hannah’s prayer is in her coming before God openly with her raw emotions. “She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord, and wept bitterly.” This text gives us the opportunity to reflect on the fact that we can share our joy, sorrow, anger, grief, thanksgiving, and any other feelings we experience with God. Take the time to explore feelings with the children in your congregation through Van Hout’s simple book illustrating a variety of fish with a variety of feelings.
Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson
(Written for ages 5-9)
Comment: In his commentary on this passage, Peter M. Wallace emphasizes that we often hold the burden of guilt and regret for “[past] behaviors [that] have caused harm to others.” (Feasting on the Word: Year B, Volume 4, p 305) Each Kindness is a story of a girl who is anything but kind to the new student in her class. A lesson on kindness causes her to consider and regret her past behaviors. Readers experience the pain and distress she carries as a result her behavior. The book may leave us sad, yet hopeful that she will find future opportunities to share love rather than cruelty. We cannot undo what has been done, but through our experiences of Christ’s love, “may we provoke one another to love and good deeds…”
A Place Where Hurricanes Happen by Renée Watson
(Written for ages 5-9)
Comment: “This is but the beginning of the birthpangs.” Emilie M. Townes reminds us that while no one escapes the ravages of the apocalypse, “the time of destruction, which is an ending, is also a beginning for a people of deep faith.” (Feasting on the Word: Year B, Volume 4, p 312) In Watson’s story, we follow the experience of children in a neighborhood, learn about their relationships, and see the ways they are displaced by Hurricane Katrina. In the midst of destruction and grief, the children display strong faith, in one another, and in the relationships woven through their neighborhood. They tell readers, “We’re from New Orleans, a place where hurricanes happen. But that’s only the bad side.” Readers see the good side in the rebirth of their neighborhood and the love they share.
The Lectionary Links this week are written by regular contributor Noell Rathbun-Cook.