Year B: May 27, 2018
First Reading: Isaiah 6:1-8
Martin Luther King Jr.: The Peaceful Warrior by Ed Clayton
(Written for ages 8 and up)
Comment: Ed Clayton was a speechwriter for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He wrote this biography of the minister for children in 1964. It has recently been updated and re-released in 2017 by Candlewick Press. Dr. King is introduced first as a child who did not understand why things were the way they were. This prompted the asking of lots of questions. Young readers meet a boy who wanted to use big words with purpose. A boy who started using his words at home and at church, speaking up and singing, sharing his thoughts. This is young Martin’s “Here I am, Lord,” moment. Isaiah’s call is twofold. First a personal call to repentance. Secondly, a social call to accept his social responsibility as an agent of God. There is no better 20th century example of this than Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In telling King’s story this way, Clayton encourages young readers to listen for the God’s call, to use their big words, and to be the change they wish to see.
Second Reading: Romans 8:12-17
God’s Dream by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Douglas Carlton Abrams
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: In these verses to the Roman church, Paul encourages new life in the Spirit. Personal and social transformation cannot truly happen without the Holy Spirit. It’s a new life and leads us to ask God, “What’s next?” New life in the Spirit means a new, beloved community. A glimpse of this beloved community is seen in Tutu and Abrams’ book. It is a community where we share and care. It is a place where we hold one another’s hands. Most of all, it is a place where the color of your skin, the size of your nose, or place you are born do not matter. You are beloved, and together we make a beloved community.
Third Reading: John 3:1-17
When God Made You by Matthew Paul Turner
(Written for ages 3-8)
Comment: In Turner’s book, the main character is a little African-American girl. As she rides her bicycle through town, she spreads her joy and art to others. She meets a sad artist and begins to paint. Just as Nicodemus is transformed by his encounter with the loving Savior, the artist is transformed thanks to his encounter with the little girl. It is a reminder that our relationship with the Divine transforms how we view ourselves and our community. Turner’s text encourages each young child be a “builder of bridges” and “peacemakers” as they live into the image of God within each of them.
We welcome Union Presbyterian Seminary alumnus Jason C. Stanley as our Revised Common Lectionary Links writer for the next few weeks. Jason is an ordained deacon in the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church.