Tag: sarah raymond cunningham (page 1 of 1)

3 Books About the Church

I haven’t always gone to church. It wasn’t until middle school that I started going at all and not until late high school that I started attending regularly and with gusto. So I can only sympathize in a sort of theoretical way with my daughters as they slide down their seats and stage whisper, “Is the sermon almost doooone?” Their experience with the church is already different from mine, and I know there will be both joy and challenge that comes with that. So I love a good picture book that zooms us out from our weekly routine and reminds us that we’re a part of something bigger on Sunday mornings—something living and wild, complex and beautiful.

This is the Church, by Sarah Raymond Cunningham

This is the Church, by Sarah Raymond Cunningham | Little Book, Big Story

Church isn’t about the building—it’s the people. That’s the idea behind this book, which takes the childhood rhyme “This is the church, this is the steeple, open it up and see all the people” and deepens it, reminding us sweetly that the church isn’t just full of people—it is the people. God’s family.

The Celebration Place, by Dorena Williamson

This book also focuses on the people of God (rather than on the place where they meet) and celebrates the many different people that gather under the church roof. The Celebration Place portrays a multi-cultural church that points toward the day that all tribes and nations will worship the Lord together.

God Made Me for Worship, by Jared Kennedy

God Made Me for Worship, by Jared Kennedy | Little Book, Big Story

While the first two focus on the people of the church, God Made Me to Worship explores the rhythms of it. In that way, I suppose, this one isn’t just about the church but about worship: why is the church service structured the way it is? What do the different parts of the service mean? Because of that, this one won’t be directly applicable to all readers, as many church services flow differently from the one portrayed here. But still, it serves as an interesting introduction to the different way church can look.

May God Bless You & Keep You

For over two years, the only library books we brought home were ones we’d put on hold. We were ridiculous about this, of course, and still managed to bring dozens of books home, one heavy red plastic bin at a time. But still: I missed browsing. I didn’t realize how much I missed it until the first day I took my daughters to the library and wandered up and down the aisles, finding titles I’d never heard of and hadn’t known to look for.

We found books we love but had forgotten about (The World of Little House, for example, or Stephen Biesty’s cross-sections), as well as books that were completely, deliciously new to us (like Phil Bidner’s Martina & Chrissie). Of course, we also encountered the twaddle—lots and lots of it. So much more of it than I remembered. But in between the books we could do without we found plenty of little gems, like Sarah Raymond Cunningham’s sweet picture book, May God Bless You and Keep You.

May God Bless You and Keep You, by Sarah Raymond Cunningham | Little Book, Big Story

This book reads like a series of benedictions spoken over the life of a child. Cunningham gives parents the words to bless children through the many joys and trials our children might face, from the time they wake up to the time they go to sleep, and all of these words point readers back to the Lord. Like a refrain throughout the book, Cunningham writes:

May God bless you.
May God keep you.
May God’s face shine on you today.
May God give you grace
and keep you safe.
May God be with you always.

May God Bless You and Keep You, by Sarah Raymond Cunningham | Little Book, Big Story

For so many children who have wondered, over the past two years, where God has been or why he hasn’t answered their prayers the way they’ve wanted, this short picture book is a balm—a reminder that God is with us always, that his face shines upon us. I’m looking forward to many more trips to the library this summer, but I’m glad our first one began with this book. What a sweet start to a new season.

May God Bless You and Keep You
Sarah Raymond Cunningham; Lorian Tu (2018)