Year A: February 19, 2017
First Reading: Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18
The Little Tree That Would Not Share by Nicoletta Costa
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: “You shall be holy… you shall love your neighbor as yourself…” Each command in this text is wrapped up in what it means to love your neighbor as yourself. When we act in these ways of love, we experience the transforming power of God’s holiness and we experience glimpses of God’s kingdom breaking into our daily lives. The little Tree is not a very good neighbor in his daily life. He thinks only of himself until he experiences transformation and becomes a great neighbor. As you explore this text and story with young children, wonder together about the ways we can love our neighbors as ourselves.
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23
The Mixed Up Truck by Stephen Savage
(Written for ages 2-6)
Comment: Paul introduces this text by describing the church as a building with Christ as the foundation. He goes on to tell us that “each person needs to pay attention to the way they build on it.” In the concrete mixer’s first day on the job, he gets mixed up several times before mixing the correct white powder needed to make the building. The mixer’s mistakes affect the whole construction community. When he is able to pay attention, their building is a success and they experience great joy. Through this text and story we are invited to pay attention to the way we build onto Christ’s foundation as we work and live as the Church in the world.
Gospel Reading: Matthew 5:38-48
The Enemy by Davide Cali
(Written for ages 9+)
Comment: In this text Jesus expands the language of the Leviticus text to include the love of enemies. With this instruction we might find ourselves stopping to consider who our enemies are and what it might look like to try and love them. In a tale that is simply written and illustrated, but probably best for an older audience, Cali explores the idea of enemies and how we view them. His story ends with a soldier realizing the enemy may not be the monster he feared, but a person not unlike himself. This text and story call us to shift our perspectives, question our motives, and live a life guided by God’s vision of love.
Noell Rathbun-Cook, Union Presbyterian Seminary alumna, is the writer of this week’s Revised Common Lectionary Links.