Year C, June 23, 2019
First Reading: 1 Kings 19:1-4 (5-7) 8-15a
The Koala Who Could by Rachel Bright
(Written for ages 3-5)
Comment: Kevin the Koala is afraid of life. He is afraid to try new things. He is afraid of leaving the comfort of his tree. In The Koala Who Could, Kevin the Koala is invited time and time again to join his neighbors in their celebrations, adventures, and lives in general, but he is too scared until something happens that forces him to try. A woodpecker takes up residence in the tree. This little incident is exactly what Kevin needs to try something new, despite being scared. In the Old Testament reading for this morning, we find Elijah terrified and running away. Elijah wants to give up on serving the Lord and begins longing for his death. Elijah still has work to do for God and God gives him the nudge he needs to go back to work. Sometimes we are scared and unable to make the next step that is needed, but with a little nudge we are able to slowly let go of our fear and answer the call to go on new adventures, knowing God is on our side.
Second Reading: Galatians 3:23-29
Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: These words from Galatians remind us that we are one community. We are reminded that despite our differences, we share in common our faith in Christ Jesus. In Strictly No Elephants, a young boy learns he is not welcome to join the pet club because he has an outside the box pet. We see the relationship between the boy and his pet elephant and it looks no different than any other pet relationship. The young boy meets a young girl who has also been kept out of the pet club because she has a pet skunk. They decided to start a new pet club where all are welcome. No one is excluded. They all come together as pet owners. The church community comes together to welcome all who seek to live out their faith in Jesus Christ, no matter the age, or gender, or intertest. All are welcome in the church of Jesus Christ.
Gospel Reading: Luke 8:26-39
Miles of Smiles by Karen Kaufman Orloff
(Written for ages 3-7)
Comment: In Miles of Smiles, a smile begins with a baby and travels miles and miles as it passes from one person to another. Such a simple act spreads far and changes the mood of so many people. It is hard not to smile when someone offers you a touch of kindness. The characters share the kindness they received through the smiles with others through small interactions. The Gospel story for this morning is a healing story filled with joy and smiles. A man named Legion who is filled with demons comes to Jesus for healing. He is healed and full of joy. Legion stays at Jesus’ feet learning until Jesus begins to leave. Legion begs to be able to follow, but Jesus tells him he needs to stay and share with others what God has done for him. This is not what he wants, but he obliges. As he is traveling throughout his city proclaiming the healing and power of Jesus, I picture a smile passing from person to person and the joy Jesus brings to people spreading. This healing story also demonstrates that what we receive from Jesus is to be shared with others, as Legion is told to stay put and tell others what has happened. This is a reminder we all need from time to time.
Thanks to Union Presbyterian Seminary alumna Elizabeth Boulware Landes for writing the Revised Common Lectionary Links this week. Elizabeth serves as Associate Pastor of Children and Youth Ministry at Faith Presbyterian Church, Aledo, TX.