3rd Sunday in Lent
YEAR B: March 4, 2018
First Reading: Exodus 20:1-17
No, David! by David Shannon
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: In No, David, young David causes trouble, damaging objects, breaking rules. Over and over his parents cry, “No, David!”. While we know that David doesn’t see the harm in doing whatever he likes, his parents know that their rules and limits are in his best interest. What we also know is that David’s parents love him no matter what. Even after a day of wild behavior, his mother holds him tight and tells him she loves him. Telling David “no” is designed to help him and comes from love. In Exodus, the Israelites get a lot of “nos”, too. God gives them a list of ten commandments and many of them are “no”. It seems like a lot of rules, but they are rules designed to help the Israelites, to correct them, to be in their best interest. And like David, the rules come from someone who loves them—God, who brought them out of the land of Egypt and cares for them still. We, like David and the Israelites, are bound by limits and commandments, and we may not always keep them well or behave rightly. We may even wonder why we need to be told “No”, so many times. But those limits and commandments are in our best interest, and they come from the God who loves us.
Second Reading: I Corinthians 1:18-25
The Treasure by Uri Shulevitz
(Written for ages 6-9)
Comment: Paul says to the Corinthians not to underestimate what is truly valuable. The message about the cross doesn’t seem like something valuable, but in truth it is the most valuable thing, the best wisdom, the best gift of God. Similarly, in The Treasure, Isaac dreams of a treasure that he thinks is in a far away city under a bridge. After traveling the many miles to get there, he discovers the bridge is guarded and he can’t get to it to look. Finally after one of his trips, a soldier at the bridge asks what he is doing here and Isaac tells him about the treasure. The soldier, instead, tells Isaac that he had a dream that the treasure is under Isaac’s stove. Isaac travels back home, searches, and discovers that, indeed, the treasure was in his house the whole time. The most valuable treasure was in the unexpected and underestimated place. Like that treasure, and like the wisdom presented to the Corinthians, we as Christians ought not underestimate the value of our faith and what we have in Jesus Christ, because no matter how it may be regarded in the world, it is true wisdom and a priceless treasure.
Gospel Reading: John 2:13-22
Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads by Bob Shea
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: The Christmas picture of Jesus being “tender and mild” doesn’t fully encompass who he grew up to be. In our passage from John we see a very different Jesus, a Jesus who is filled with righteous anger—a zeal for God’s house and its holiness. And Jesus knows the way to pursue that holiness is to cleanse God’s house of the people and things who work against it. Jesus enters the temple to see money changers and sales going on, and in his anger and zeal, he drives them out of the temple. In Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads, we have a gentler image of the same principle—the terrible “Toad” boys have been robbing, shoplifting, and causing trouble in town. A new sheriff, Ryan, comes to town and through a trick, gets them to confess to their crimes, and is able to lock them away from the townspeople they once terrorized. Kid Sheriff rids the town of the terrible “Toads”, and Jesus rids the temple of money changers and salespeople, and both places are left better than before. As people following Jesus Christ, sometimes we will have to do the hard work of clearing out what is keeping us from zeal and holiness, so we can better glorify God.
Thanks to Union Presbyterian Seminary alumna Sara Ann Berger for writing the Revised Common Lectionary Links this week.