YEAR C: January 20, 2019
First Reading: Isaiah 62:1-5
She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World by Chelsea Clinton
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: One can practically hear the prophet boldly proclaiming “I will not keep silent” and “I will not rest” when reading this text. The prophet’s tenacity and perseverance in these powerful words almost comes to life off the pages of Scripture. Perhaps such boldness will rub off on us readers? At times when the weight of the brokenness of the world is heavy upon us, when compassion is fatigued, and when we are overwhelmed with just how much work there is left to do to make the world are more just and more loving place, Isaiah’s words can awaken us to action. In She Persisted, author Chelsea Clinton introduces readers to thirteen American women who persisted in speaking out for what is right, even amidst the weight of the brokenness they witnessed. Obstacles were in the way of Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, Ruby Bridges, Sonia Sotomayor, and others, but these woman did not keep silent or rest from the important work before them. Communities reading these texts may ask themselves what compels them to say “I will not keep silent,” and “I will not rest” too.
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 12: 1-11
Mixed: A Colorful Story by Arree Chung
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: Paul reminds readers that their diversity in talent and skill is a gift from God, for God creates a variety of gifts within the community of God’s kingdom. From wisdom to healing, from prophecy to discernment, God bestows spiritual gifts on each person. The differences between such gifts are transcended by the fact that they are of the same Spirit, that God’s Spirit is with everyone. Readers are reminded of the unity of the Spirit when they read Arree Chung’s Mixed. Three colors, Red, Blue, and Yellow were all living together in harmony until one day Red announces, “Reds are the best!” This set off trouble between the cast of colors. Then, a Yellow and a Blue started to talk and realized how each other’s unique gifts benefit them. Pretty soon, they created a new color together, Green, who showed the entire community what new possibilities lie ahead. The colors came to celebrate their diversity and the unique contributions each of them made to their larger community. What unique gifts do you offer to your community? What gifts do you appreciate in others?
Third Reading: John 2: 1-11
Wilma Jean the Worry Machine by Julia Cook
(Written for ages 5-8)
Comment: Weddings are big occasions, with a number of details to be worked out. However, those details can also be sources of worry and stress. In this week’s text, Jesus’ mother, Mary, was worrying about one of those details- there wasn’t any wine! Mary’s worry did not paralyze her from acting, though, as she voiced her worry to Jesus, seeking to find a solution. While children probably don’t worry about the absence of wine at a wedding, the feeling of worry is familiar. Julia Cook introduces readers to one little girl, Wilma Jean the Worry Machine, for whom worry is a frequent and overwhelming feeling. Wilma Jean worries about social dynamics, difficult tasks at school, and not having what she needs at school and other events. Perhaps children in your community have similar worries to Wilma Jean? She describes how her worries make her feel: “My tongue gets salty, my throat gets tight, I grit my teeth ‘cause nothin’ feels right.” Like Mary, Wilma Jean doesn’t keep her worries a secret. She voices her worries to her mom and to others who are looking out for her. Together they calm Wilma Jean’s worries and help find solutions to them. Both of these texts can help children explore what worry is and how they might deal with worry amidst a loving community.
Thanks to Rosy Robson, associate pastor at First Presbyterian Church, Richardson, TX, for writing the Revised Common Lectionary Links this week.