Year 1: November 25, 2018
Preaching Text: Jeremiah 1:4-10; 7:1-11
Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: Jeremiah is commissioned by God to go and speak to God’s people, and he speaks to those entering the Lord’s house for worship. The people believe they are doing everything right, showing up at the temple, recognizing it as a place of worship. In reality, they have missed the point of the temple by continuing to do things that hurt other people, and relying only on deceptively comforting words to assuage their consciences. Jeremiah says that they have missed the point of the temple and of the Lord who dwells in it. If they are going to worship God, then they need to change their lives to live like God and treat other people the way God does, and not be deceived that simply checking a few religious boxes is enough. In Library Lion, a lion loves being at the library, and Miss Merriweather and Mr. McBee, the librarians, are wiling to accept him as long as he abides by their strict rules, including no roaring. One day, Miss Merriweather is hurt, and the lion tries to get help the only way he can: by roaring. But instead of being grateful for the lion’s assistance, Mr. McBee is mad that the lion broke the rules, and sends the lion away from the library. After that, everyone misses the lion, and Mr. McBee realizes he made a mistake. He invites the lion back to the library, realizing that he had missed the point of the library as a place for all creatures to enjoy. Like the people Jeremiah speaks to, Mr. McBee was focused on fulfilling certain requirements while missing the larger meaning. Jeremiah and the library lion show them what is really important. As people of faith, we have to be careful not to miss the point of what God wants us to do, and make sure we don’t use God as an excuse to treat others badly. God, indeed, calls us to worship, but that worship should transform us, so that we treat other people as God would treat them.
Thanks to Union Presbyterian Seminary alumna Sara Ann Berger for writing the Year 1 Narrative Lectionary Links.