Would you, could you, in a church?
Might you, might you, in a lurch?
I would, I could, Sid-I-am. In a church and in a lurch.
Theodor Seuss Geisel—Dr. Seuss—has left an indelible mark on the lives of at least three generations of children. His creative stories—many with deep underlying messages—will, no doubt, weave its mythological web into the minds of children for generations to come. In early 2006 I visited the Austin Museum of Art’s special show commissioned by Geisel’s wife Audrey called “The Art of Dr. Seuss.” It was exciting to see first proofs of our most beloved books from childhood. I was also struck by the depth of his commitment to progressive politics, his life-long passion to interrupt xenophobia and isolationism, and his desire to instill openness and playfulness in the lives of children. I also learned that he was a committed Christian who believed that aligning oneself to Jesus meant living a life of radical love, compassion, and engaging in acts of social justice. I remember walking out the door and saying to myself, “I need to do a sermon series on Dr. Seuss.” Now, five years later, I’m finally getting around to it.
For the next seven weeks—the season of Epiphany—I will be discussing some of Dr. Seuss’ best-known children’s books and exploring their deeper spiritual relevance for our own times. I will be pairing each book with a particular scripture and other pertinent readings. These reflections will be my own and not Geisel’s. He didn’t comment much on the particular morals of his books. (One major exception to this, was newspaper column by Geisel in 1974 where he renamed one of his beloved children’s books as, “Richard M. Nixon, Will You Please Go Now!). I hope that this sermon series will be fun and playful, but also an opportunity for us to revisit these gems of literature in a way that enhances our spiritual growth. Here is the list of the books and my scriptural pairings for the Sundays after Epiphany. Oh, the places we’ll go!
- Jan 8 Horton Hears A Who! (1954); Romans 12:3-8
- Jan 15 (MLK Sun) The Sneetches (1961); Luke 4:14-21
- Jan 22 Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? (1973); John 5:1-9a
- Jan 29 The Cat in the Hat (1957); Genesis 27:5-17
- Feb 5 (Candlemas Sun) The Lorax (1971); Isaiah 65:17-19, 23-25
- Feb 12 (Evolution Sun) Green Eggs and Ham (1960); Acts 10:9-16
- Feb 19 Oh, the Places You’ll Go (1990); Philippians 4:10-14