Year 2: January 5, 2020
Sam and the Lucky Money by Karen Chinn
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: This collection of stories from Jesus’ early ministry focus on his acts of healing. He heals peoples’ bodies as well as their spirits. In the first several vignettes, this seems like a somewhat involuntary action; it’s not clear why Jesus is healing people, making him seem more like an impersonal superhero. But in verse 41, we finally come to understand his motivation when a leper approaches him, begging to be made well. The Greek word splanchnízomai indicates that Jesus was motivated by compassion – he was literally “feeling it in his guts.” This is something much more relatable, because while we may balk at offering supernatural healing, we can certainly understand what it means to have compassion for our fellow people. China’s story highlights how feelings of empathy can motivate us to help others, even when we are very young. Sam receives lucky money as a gift for Chinese New Year. It’s a small amount – just four dollars. When he sees a man with no shoes, he wonders how the man’s feet must feel in the cold. This concern comes back to him again and again, until he realizes that he can use his lucky money to help the man. This story is a concrete illustration of practicing compassion – one that is relevant even to young children.
Thanks to Union Presbyterian Seminary alumnus Joshua Andrzejewski for writing the Year 2 Narrative Lectionary Links.