God Doesn’t Have Favourites!

Year B, Easter; Acts 10:34-43; Lectionary reading for April 4, 2021

The good news is for everyone!

God didn’t choose to save only the Jews. From the very beginning, when God calls Abram, he is told that “all peoples on earth will be blessed through you (Gen 12:3)”, but tribalism is as difficult to shake now as it was in Abram’s time. Even though the resurrected Jesus commissions the disciples to spread the Word around the world, and even though they received the gift of tongues at Pentecost, God knows Peter isn’t quite ready for God’s blessing to be upon non-Jews and Jews. God sends a vision to Peter and an angel to the centurion Cornelius, and finally Peter understands.

Yes, but…

Nope. No buts about it.

No matter who you are, where you’re from, the colour of your skin, what language you speak, your gender, or who you love, if you fear (honour, respect, and revere) God and do what is right, God accepts you into God’s family.

Jamie Lee Curtis’s book, Is There Really a Human Race? helps put this into perspective. The story is told as a child asking a parent questions about this human ‘race’ we seem to be in. Where are we going? Why are we racing? Is the race fair? Eventually the perspective switches to the parent, who reassures their little one that we aren’t actually in a race with other people, and in fact, we experience far more success when we cooperate rather than compete. There’s a lot going on in the illustrations, so plan on leaving this book out in the Sunday school room, or when it’s safe to pass something around during coffee and fellowship (remember those days? Sigh.).

Questions to ask before you read:

  • Do you like being in races and contests?
  • Would they still be fun if EVERYTHING was a race or a contest?
  • Can you win God’s love in a race?

Questions to ask after you read:

  • Can you tell if someone loves God by looking at them?
  • Can you lose God’s love in a race?
  • Why do you think God made so many different kinds of people?

I hope you use this book in your ministry, but be warned: it can be a bit of a tongue-twister, so practice reading it out loud first! If you click on the picture of the book below, Amazon will happily sell you a copy and I will receive a small commission to help support the site. Check your local library for a copy too!

Curtis, Jamie Lee. Is There Really a Human Race? HarperCollins, 2006.

This Easter Book Rocks

Year B: Easter John 20:1-18; Lectionary reading for April 4, 2021

Halleluiah! He is risen!

While many of the books I feature here help children understand the meaning behind the lectionary reading for the week, Easter calls for a book that showcases the story itself. The Easter miracle is foundational to our faith, and we should encourage children to listen to, read, retell, and dramatize it over and over. There are plenty of books about Easter aimed at younger audiences, and your church likely has one or two already, however, it’s difficult to find one book that will appeal to a wide range of ages. 

Patti Rokus’s retelling of the Easter story is simple, direct, and beautiful. Each page features scripture along with a paraphrase of the passage, but what sets this book apart are the illustrations. Rokus used rocks of all shapes and sizes to recreate scenes from Holy Week and through to the Ascencion. While at first this might seem like a gimmick, the resulting images are profoundly moving.

Early-years educators know the value of ‘loose parts’ in imaginative play, and this book is a bridge to similar activities in Sunday School. Bring out a basket of pebbles—smooth and rough, large and small—and see what beautiful scenes your children create. Perhaps start by encouraging them to recreate Easter scenes, but be sure to give them time to create other biblical scenes or scenes from their imaginations.

This book provides its own question to ask after you read it:

  • How will you show your love for Jesus?

If you click on the book images, it will whisk you off to Amazon where you can purchase the book and support this website with a small commission. While not as widely available in Saskatchewan libraries as other books I’ve featured, other regions might have more copies.

Rokus, Patti. He is Risen: Rocks Tell the Story of Easter. Zondervan, 2019.