Year C: March 24, 2019
First Reading: Isaiah 55:1-9
The World is Awake: A Celebration of Everyday Blessings by Linsey Davis
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: “Come…come…come” in verse one is a beckon to chose well rather than taking things that have value and wasting them on things of no value. It’s clear that Isaiah is telling us that God’s value is different from our value, meaning also that God’s ways are different from our ways. Because of the differences between God and humanity, the only way we’ll experience God-like things and thoughts are on a Godward journey, says Dr. Patricia Tull. Isaiah utilizes the food metaphors to speak toward the richness of God’s bounty, both physical and spiritual. We just need to position ourselves to receive such bounty. A book about celebrating the little things of every day is a fantastic way to help us position ourselves Godward. Author Linsey Davis uses rainbows and flowers to help us imagine God being dressed up, too. At the zoo we experience a parade of “the wonderful creatures the good Lord has made.” Oh, and back at home we realize that we can choose to thank God for the bounty of food, even the brussels sprouts and peas! Isaiah imagines the return of those exiled as a welcome to a bountiful feast hosted by God. Davis imagines a never-ending recognition of and thanksgiving for the plethora of God’s bounty that is every day of our lives.
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 10:1-13
Dear Girl, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
(Written for ages 4-11)
Comment: Carla Works says that Paul offers “a retelling of Israel’s exodus to illustrate for the Corinthians their own precarious position as a church living in a wilderness time — a limbo of sorts between their newfound freedom in Christ and the waited fruition of God’s kingdom.” We hear a lot about the Corinthian ancestors and the poor choices that were made, and if we draw a line back to last week we remember that Paul lifted himself as the example to follow because he followed the exemplar, Jesus Christ. Somewhere in the middle of these two examples is us. God is there too, in the midst of and against all forms of temptation and idolatry. Ultimately, Paul is reminding the Corinthians that temptations are real and the ability to harm another by making them return to idolatrous ways still very much exists. If we stay away from the ways of our ancestors and strive to be like Christ, we’ll meet God in the middle and be people who stray from temptation and idolatry. Dear Girl is a letter to every girl celebrating all that makes them who they are. It’s a story that reminds them to give thanks to themselves, to give into bravery, to ask all the questions, to rest from party invitations, and even to make their beds. At the very end of the book, Dear Girl receives a few special messages including, “…know that you can always always always…turn to me.” The reader doesn’t know who is “me” and the assumption perhaps is that “me” is the person who gifted the book to the reader. I see “me” here as God, the one who reminds us of just how wonderful we are, who stands in the middle with us while we decide, and who nudges us to remember that we can always count on God when we need a little extra.
Gospel Reading: Luke 13:1-9
Making the Moose Out of Life by Nicholas Oldland
(Written for ages 3-7)
Comment: In the midst of a scripture lesson about repentance and perishing, we discover a theme of patience from God, but to a limit. It’s almost as if Jesus’s hearers are being told, “Quickly! There’s still time to repent if you do it now before God notices.” Jesus utilizes the story about the fig tree to show us that grace is there and it abounds, but God’s judgment also exists. As a disciple of Christ, each day we have is a chance to repent and a chance to receive grace. Oldland tells the story of Moose who just wouldn’t do things that others were doing. He’d always find an excuse: too wet, too windy, too cold. But Moose began to realize that he might be missing out on some things, so when Moose is shipwrecked he learns to do. Moose even enjoys! Eventually Moose is reunited with his friends and they are delighted to see that the old Moose is gone and a new, more fun and adventurous Moose has come home. In a way, we are like Moose if we chose to delay our repentance, or even if we decided to judge too quickly. Not making a choice means that ultimately we’ll lose out.
Thanks to Union Presbyterian Seminary alumna Katie Barrett Todd for writing the Revised Common Lectionary Links this week.