Year B, Lent 3: Exodus 20:1-17; Lectionary reading for March 7, 2021
Have you ever rolled your eyes when a young child tattled on a friend or sibling… again? As exasperating as it can be, tattling tells us something quite important about children. They want to know the rules, follow the rules, and make sure everyone else does as well! I like to think that tattling children are our future police officers, lawyers, and judges. The Ten Commandments are God’s rules to keep us, safe, happy, and living in community, just like the rules at home or at school.
Office Buckle and Gloria tells the story of a safety-conscious police officer and his dog, Gloria. Officer Buckle enjoys giving safety presentations, but his audience doesn’t share his enthusiasm. Thankfully, Gloria finds a way to give the presentations more pizzazz, and Napville has never been safer!
Before reading the story, ask: What are some rules at your house? Why do you think you have those rules? Do you always follow them?
After reading the story, ask: Officer Buckle had 101 safety rules. Do you think there are safety rules in the Bible? How many do you think there are? Tradition says there are 613 just in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament if you like). That’s a lot of rules to remember! Thankfully, God gave us the Ten Commandments to simplify matters a bit.
Read the Ten Commandments in a child-friendly translation (like the Spark Story Bible linked below) and ask children what they notice about these rules. How are they similar to Officer Buckle’s safety tips? How are they different? Officer Buckle’s last safety tip, #101, is my favourite in the book, and to me it brings to mind the first of the Ten Commandments: You shall have no other gods but me. Stick with God, and follow his commandments to stay safe, happy, and living in community. And never stand on a swivel chair!
Rathman, Peggy. Officer Buckle and Gloria. Scholastic, Inc., 1995.
Spark Story Bible. Augsburg Fortress, 2016