1st Sunday In Advent
Year B: December 3, 2017
First Reading: Isaiah 64:1-9
Are We Still Friends? by Ruth Horowitz
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: Beatrice and Abel are the best of friends. They live next door to each other and share the fruits of their labor with each other, until one day, when mishearing leads to name calling and a fight. They try to block each other out, but they miss each other They continue to live this way until Beatrice becomes hurt. Able quickly runs to her side and helps her out of the situation. This moment causes them to mend their friendship through forgiveness. The words from Isaiah are calling out to God for forgiveness. The prophet writes “do not be exceedingly angry, O Lord, and do not remember iniquity forever. Now consider, we are all your people” (64:9). We all mess up. We all turn away from God and make poor choices. When we remember that we are God’s people, we can ask for forgiveness and allow God to mold us and shape us a potter molds and shapes clay. God will run to us when we cry out for help, just as able runs to Beatrice in her moment of need.
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Pebble: A Story about Belonging By Susan Milord
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: These words from 1 Corinthians remind us that we are part of a community anchored by Jesus Christ. It is through him that we are called into the community. It is not our doing, but rather God’s doing that we have found a place to belong, a place to grow, and a place to be blessed. Pebble: A Story of Belonging captures the moment a pebble is given a place to belong. Throughout the story, the pebble wants to be a part of something bigger than itself, but nothing seems to be the right fit. A little boy comes along looking for the perfect thing to remind him of the day at the beach. The boy finds the pebble and this is the moment of perfection for the pebble. We spend countless hours and energy trying to fit in and belong to a particular group when what we should be doing is letting God call us into the community of Christ. It is only then that we are able to fully belong to something bigger than ourselves.
Gospel Reading: Mark 13:24-37
The Little Raindrop By Joanna Gray
(Written for ages 3-6)
Comment: Jesus uses nature to help his disciples understand what is coming next. The fig tree has a predictable cycle, as does all of nature. And because we can expect the fig tree to produce fruit each year, we can expect Jesus to return. We do not know when to expect Jesus, but he will come. Nature works this way too. We know plants will bloom, but we do not know exactly when. We know the rains will come, but we do not always know when. In The Little Raindrop, we follow a raindrop as he makes his way through the water cycle. The raindrop’s journey begins as he falls from the sky. We follow the journey all the way back to the sky and wait for a new journey to begin. In this story, Joanna Gray is able to balance the unexpected and the expected in the little raindrop’s journey. With both plants and the rain, we are able to predict when the blooms will come, or the rains will fall, but ultimately, we do not know the exact moment. Jesus urges us to be ready for the moment that we know is coming, but do not know when.
Thanks to Union Presbyterian Seminary alumna Elizabeth Boulware Landes for writing the Revised Common Lectionary Links this week.