Sixth after Pentecost, Reading for June 27, 2021, Psalm 48

I read a lot of books in preparation for writing this blog. I regularly pick up dozens of new storybooks I’ve requested from our local library, and I’m constantly on the lookout for more to request. It’s important to me that I’ve held a book in my hands before I recommend it. There’s some toxic theology in some so-called “religious” children’s books. Before any book appears here, it’s been through my request-read-take notes-return routine.

A few months ago, during my usual search for more books that might be featured here, I heard about What is God Like? and something told me this was a book that needed a permanent spot on my shelf and not just borrowed from the library, so I put my name on the pre-orders list and waited. I was right.

I love this book. It answers a child’s question about God, but it does something else even more important—it teaches children that there is more than one way to think about God. On the very first page, this book acknowledges that no one has ever seen all of God, since God’s just too big for any of us to see fully. Instead, every colourful page points to something familiar to children, like a candle, an artist, or the wind, and helps children know God through metaphors.

And then Psalm 48 appeared in the lectionary! Coincidence? I think not! Many of the Psalms try to answer the same question as this book. Psalm 48 compares God to a mountain, a city, a defense, a temple, and a wind. The psalmist wants us to understand the power and might of God through these heavy comparisons, but something beautiful happens in the very last verse. The psalmist reassures us that, despite the militant metaphors of the psalm, God is our guide. God is our guide forever!

The psalm commands us to tell future generations about God, but when God hides behind the cloud of unknowing, it’s difficult to answer a question like “what is God like?” This book, by Rachel Held Evans and Matthew Paul Turner, gives you page after page of beautiful comparisons and metaphors with which to talk about God with your children. This isn’t a book you’ll read once every three years when Psalm 48 comes around in the lectionary; this is a book your children will turn to over and over again.

Questions to ask before you read:

  • What does God look like? How do you know?
  • What does God sound like? How do you know?
  • Does anyone know these things for sure?

Questions to ask before you read:

  • Which comparison did you like the best? Why?
  • Were there some comparisons that made you uncomfortable?
  • What other comparisons might describe what God is like?

Thanks for visiting Storybook Ministry! Please share these posts with your friends and colleagues in children’s ministry so we can make Sunday mornings a little easier for more faith communities.

Storybook Ministry is reader supported. Please consider supporting the ministry at Patreon so I can keep this site ad-free (and buy the occasional book like I did for this post)!

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