Year C: November 13, 2016
First Reading: Isaiah 65:17-25
Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood by Isabel Campoy & Theresa Howell
(Written for ages 5-9)
Comment: In his commentary on this text, Nelson Rivera speaks of the prophet as drawing “a vision about the possibilities of the present…[and] the hopes for the future” and inviting involvement from the people to act upon that vision. (Feasting on the Word, Year C, Volume 4, p294) In a similar way, Mira and the muralist invite their neighbors to paint a new vision of their neighborhood. When a policeman approaches Mira, all activity stops as they prepare to be in trouble, but he just asks for a paintbrush. In this moment, we discover a poignant connection to the notion of wolf and lamb coexisting in peace. As you reflect upon this text and story, wonder with your congregation about the way God might be inviting you to paint possibilities for the present through your hopes for the future.
Second Reading: 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13
Terrible, Awful, Horrible Manners by Beth Bracken
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: “Brothers and sisters, do no be weary in doing what is right.” The value for folks reflecting on this passage today is less about work ethic, and more about considering what it means to be part of a community. Whether in our families, churches, or nations, the misbehavior of one person can affect the lives of many. Pete’s terrible manners effect everyone around him and make it very difficult to be with him. In imitating his terrible behavior, Pete’s family helps him to understand why he might want to change his behavior. Doing what is right might not always be the fun option, but it is the option that keeps the care and needs of the larger community in mind. This text and story invite us to consider the types of misbehavior that have plagued our own communities and how have we might work to address them.
Gospel Reading: Luke 21:5-19
Silly Billy by Anthony Browne
(Written for ages 5-9)
Comment: Even as terrible things have happened, Jesus encourages us to not be terrified. Children and adults alike can be prone to worry, particularly when there seems to be much that is terrifying. When life feels like it’s falling apart, kids can begin to worry about everything, even things that seem ridiculous. Billy’s worries are like this, they seem so unrealistic to others, yet they deeply trouble him and disturb his sleep. When he’s given a community of worry dolls to help carry his anxiety, he’s able to endure. God’s presence, like Billy’s worry dolls, helps carry our anxieties, worries, and fears. In his reflections, Gilberto Ruiz encourages readers to see this text as “a passage grounded in hope — in the hope that God remains present in the world and in one’s life even when things have gotten so bad that it feels like the world is closing in on us.” Invite your congregation to share stories of the way they experienced the presence of God in times such as these.
The Revised Common Lectionary Links this week are written by Union Presbyterian Seminary alumna Noell Rathbun-Cook.