5th Sunday in Lent
Year B: March 18, 2018
First Reading: Jeremiah 31:31-34
Herman and Rosie by Gus Gordon
(Written for ages 7-10)
Comment: In Jeremiah, the people have broken the covenant with God and so their relationship with God is damaged and they are suffering as a result. But God does not leave them in that situation. God promises that they will have a new covenant, a new connection, a new relationship. God will be their God, and they will be God’s people once again. In Herman and Rosie, Herman the crocodile and Rosie the deer love their city, their jobs, their hobbies, but still, they are both lonely. They go through their workdays and travel through the city just barely missing each other. Finally, they meet up through a shared love of music and they aren’t lonely anymore. God didn’t leave the people of Israel lonely and alone, God made a new covenant to be their God and they to be God’s people. Herman and Rosie found a connection which meant they didn’t have to be alone anymore. Even though we are imperfect humans and so different from our God, God does not leave us alone, either. God has promised us and made a covenant with us to be our God, and for us to be God’s people.
Second Reading: Hebrews 5:5-10
We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: Hebrews describes Jesus as having such exalted titles and positions as the Son of God, the begotten one of God, and a high priest in the order of Melchizedek. It says Jesus is the source of eternal salvation for us, whose prayers are definitely heard by God. It says all of these things are true because of Jesus’ obedience and reverent submission to God. In We Found a Hat, two turtles are good friends, but both also want the nice hat they have found. They recognize that only having one hat, and there being two of them, is a recipe for trouble in their friendship. And while both of them continue to look at the hat, want the hat, even dream of the hat, they both choose to let it go and neither one gets to have it. This is submission, choosing not to have something that you could rightly have, for a larger and better purpose. The turtles submit their desire for the hat to the larger purpose of staying friends. Jesus submits his rightful glory as Son and high priest in order to be obedient to God and be a source of salvation for all of us. From him we can learn, like the turtles in the story, to submit what may only benefit us, in order to obey God and seek a larger benefit for all God’s people.
Gospel Reading: John 12:20-33
Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
(Written for ages 5-8)
Comment: Jesus compares a life of following him, and the kind of death he will die, to a a seed breaking open in the soil to bear much fruit. Jesus understood that beauty could come from the end of a seed, and in the same way to let go of things, and for him to give up his life, would give a kind of beauty, too—drawing all people to himself. In Miss Rumphius ,young Alice Rumphius is encouraged by her grandfather to do something to make the world beautiful. As she grows, she discovers the beauty of lupine flowers, and sees how their spreading seeds make the countryside around her more beautiful. The seeds she plants and spreads make the world beautiful. A life of following Jesus is a life like a seed—where we may need to change, to crack open, in order for the beauty of our discipleship and the good news of Jesus Christ to show up in the world and bear much fruit.
Thanks to regular contributor Sara Anne Berger for writing the Revised Common Lectionary Links this week.