Year A: March 1, 2020
First Reading: Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7
The Poky Little Puppy by Janette Sebring Lowrey
(Written for ages 3 and up)
Comment: The story of God creating the world is so wonderful that it is told by at least two different authors in our Bible. The first writer tells how God created everything -sun, moon, stars, sea, land, everything-with just a word and it was good. The second writer tells how God created a garden that was beautiful and good. This is the story that we read today. God put the man and woman that God had created in the garden to work the soil it and care for it. What was God’s wonderful garden like? We know that there were fruit trees for God said that Adam and Eve could eat freely of every tree but one. There was just one small limit. The fruit of one tree was forbidden for them to eat. Eve listened to the Serpent suggest that God was wrong, that eating the tree’s fruit would make them like God. The fruit would make them wise. So Adam believed the Serpent rather than God, and Eve and Adam ate the fruit. It was a way of saying, “We know better than God does what we should do. Disobeying God introduced something new in the beautiful garden that changed everything-Sin.
Five little puppies disobey their mother’s rule to not dig a hole under the fence. But they do it anyway and go off into the world exploring. The pokiest little puppy is always going off somewhere without them, but when they find him, he always smells or hears something that sends them running back home to eat the good things but they get in trouble every time, normally by not being able to have dessert. In the end, the poky little puppy bears the consequences of his bad choices as well. This story helps us think about the ways in which we encourage others to make choices that hurt themselves and others, and how often we try to seek what we want rather than follow that which is best for us.
Second Reading: Romans 5:12-19
Pandora by Victoria Turnbull
(Written for ages 4-7)
Comment: Paul is explaining to the Romans how God through Jesus Christ has reversed the course of sin that began with Adam and Eve in the garden. God’s free gift that changed everything came through Jesus Christ. Through God in Christ, we receive grace . Adam and Eve thought they knew what was best for them and disobeyed God; Jesus Christ obeyed God perfectly and brought grace and abundant life to everyone. God’s free gift that we don’t earn but is ours is Paul’s good news. Instead of receiving Adam’s sin, God gives us life in Christ.
Pandora is a small fox who lives alone in a land of broken things. She tries to take the broken things and make herself a nice home, but she is very lonely. One day, a blue bird falls from the sky and Pandora doesn’t know how to fix the bird. She puts it in a box and tries to nurture it back to health and each day the bird gets stronger, leaving the box to fly out into the world, always returning with small things such as seeds. One day, the bird leaves for good and Pandora is bereft. She crawls into bed, overcome with sadness, and while she sleeps, the seeds begin to grow. Pandora wakes up to see the growth that has happened ‘in a land of living things’. God’s gift to us in Christ brings life to our broken lives. How do you accept a free gift?
Gospel Reading: Matthew 4:1-11
Oh No, George! by Chris Haughton
(Written for 2-5)
Comment: In chapter 3 of Matthew, Jesus has just been baptized by John and been claimed as God’s own beloved child. Almost immediately, Jesus is alone in the wilderness, being encouraged – even urged – to trust in something other than God’s love and intention for his life Jesus is offered earthly power, encouraged to use his own power for selfish means, and to trust in the way the world works instead of the way God works. Despite his fatigue and hunger, Jesus remains focused on the One who loves him. Children know what it is like to want something that runs counter to that which those who love them want for them and that may be a way to introduce this passage to them. Harris needs to leave the house, so he says goodbye to his dog, George, admonishing him to be good. George wants to be good. He hopes he will be good. But each temptation – the cake, the cat, a little soil – breaks down his resolve to do what Harris would want him to do and choose instead that which he wants to do! When Harris arrives back home, he is dismayed to find the mess George has made as a result of his decisions. George asks for forgiveness, and as they take a walk, he manages this time to ignore another cake, the cat in the tree and a new patch of dirt. But then they come to a pile of rubbish and there is nothing more George likes than rubbish. What will George do? (The book doesn’t say!) Wonder together about how hard it must have been for Jesus, hungry and tired, to choose the life to which God had called him and how it is sometimes hard for us to choose what God desires for us.
This week’s Revised Common Lectionary Links are co-written by Virginia C. Thomas and Ann Thomas Knox.