Year A: January 22, 2017
First Reading: Isaiah 9:1-4
Happy Pig Day! By Mo Willems
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: Isaiah tells everyone that God promises no more gloom, that their way will be glorious, light will shine on them, and their joy will increase. God’s promises are a source of joy, the things God will do cause rejoicing. People who were troubled and afraid and lost will increase their joy. In Happy Pig Day!, Piggie is rejoicing because it is “Pig Day”—a day to sing pig songs and dance pig dances and celebrate pigs! But Gerald is sad because he feels like he can’t rejoice and celebrate because he isn’t a pig. But his joy increases when Piggie tells him that “Pig Day” is for anyone who loves pigs, and Gerald sees that other animals are celebrating as well. They all join together rejoicing and celebrating. The promises God makes to us increase our joy. The troubles and gloom and yokes we carry are removed by God and replaced with light and joy. This joy isn’t confined to certain kinds of people, it is for all of us—for all of us to walk in the light, to celebrate God’s promises and live with joy.
Second Reading: I Corinthians 1:10-18
Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be In This Book) by Julie Falatko
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: This passage presents an example of how different perceptions impact how something is regarded—that the message about the cross is foolishness to some, but the power of God to others. We also see this difference of perception in Snappsy the Alligator. Snappsy is simply going about his day, but the narrator keeps ascribing sinister intentions, despite Snappsy’s protests. The narrator persists in describing Snappsy as a mean, threatening alligator, implies that he might eat anyone in sight, draws attention to his glinting, sharp teeth. But Snappsy is just trying to throw a party, and it isn’t until Snappsy invites the narrator to join in that the narrator begins to describe Snappsy more favorably—a good host, a good cook – and stops seeing Snappsy as a threat. In I Corinthians, Paul says that the cross serves as a source of power and comfort for us, but we know it may seem like a threat to others. Part of our call is to live and practice our faith in a way that instead of a threat, other people see the comfort and power, too.
Gospel Reading: Matthew 4:12-23
One Dark Night by Lisa Wheeler
(Written for ages 4-7)
Comment: Matthew quotes Isaiah, saying that people in darkness will see light. Jesus is that light in the darkness, and now, in that light, everyone can see his surprising purpose: to call disciples and have them “fish for people”, that is, for them to call more disciples. In One Dark Night, Mole and Mouse nervously travel through a dark forest. The readers know that in this darkness lives a hungry, growling bear, who finds Mole and Mouse in the dark forest. But, surprisingly, for the readers, Mole and Mouse are not afraid of this bear in the darkness because, it turns out, he has arrived for the surprising purpose of helping them to his home so they can have their planned dinner party together. When we are in dark times and situations, the light of Jesus Christ shines, surprising us with a greater purpose: for us to be his disciples, and to call more disciples ourselves.
The Revised Common Lectionary Links are written this week by Union Presbyterian Seminary alumna Sara Anne Berger.