24h Sunday after Pentecost
Year C: November 24, 2019
First Reading: Jeremiah 23:1-6
The Yellow Star by Carmen Agra Deedy
(Written for ages 8-12)
Comment: Jeremiah preaches in the years before the fall of Jerusalem. He has special words of judgment against bad leaders or shepherds who have not cared for God’s flock. But this judgement includes a wonderful promise from God: I myself will gather, will bring them back, will raise us good shepherds. My flock will no longer be afraid, nor shall any be missing. The story told in The Yellow Star begins with the King Christian X riding through town on a horse each morning in Copenhagen without a bodyguard – something he can do because he loves all his people and they love him. When the Nazis arrive in Denmark in 1940 and demand that the Jewish Danes wear yellow stars to identify themselves, the story is told that King Christian rides through the streets again, this time wearing a yellow star himself. Seeing the king, his people realize that they, too, would all wear yellow stars so that all in their community will be safe. As King Christian X provided the kind of leadership in Denmark that cared for all, so God has raised up leaders throughout history to lead God’s people. (Although this story is a legend, it arises out of what we do know about King Christian X and the Danish people who saved more than 7,000 Jewish people from the Nazis. The Danish resistance to the Nazi hatred and bigotry is well documented, even if there is no historical proof of this particular story.)
Second Reading: Colossians 1:11-20
Jesus by B&H Kids Editorial Staff
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: Paul is in prison, writing to the church in Colossae, people that he has never met. Probably his friend Epaphras has brought Paul news of the Colossians and also news of some wrong ideas about Christ that were being taught. Colossians is Paul’s answer to these wrong ideas. As always, Paul gives thanks and then asks that the church in Colossae will be made strong by God’s power. He suggests some bad times are coming but prays that they will have joy because God has brought them into the Kingdom of his Son. Then he tries to describe Jesus. He uses words like image of God, firstborn of all creation, head of the church, “for in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.” This is the most exalted description of Jesus in the New Testament. These words may not connect with children, but other words might. This simple book suggested for today uses only 12 words to tell the story of Jesus – words such as baby and temple and healer. They aren’t the same exalted words that Paul uses, but you can use this book and perhaps add some other words – good shepherd, the vine, light – that help us know something about Jesus. Wonder with your congregation about the word pictures that best describe Jesus to them.
Gospel Reading: Luke 23:33-43
Come with Me by Holly M. McGhee
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: On this Christ the King Sunday, we read a passage that we might normally expect to read on Good Friday. The story of Christ being crucified by the powerful rulers while being recognized for who he really is by a common criminal tells us something about the kind of Kingdom we can expect in God’s realm. Richard Swanson’s commentary on this passage suggests that one of the messages in this passage is that expecting the Reign of Christ means showing up. Of course Luke (and Luke’s Jesus) expect the aeon of resurrection and restitution, but until that ultimate event actually takes place, it’s crucial that the people of the kingdom show up. They can show up to help, to repent, to wait, and to watch. They can show up to argue, to learn, to support, or to challenge. Sometimes they can only show up to beat their breasts and mourn. But they show up. We show up because we follow one who showed us what God’s Kingdom is like and who calls us to follow. A young girl listens to the news and is frightened by the hatred and anger that she hears and sees. She wonders aloud to her parents what she can do to make the world a better place. “Come with me,” they say, and show her the small kindnesses that hold fear at bay. When she asks to walk her dog by herself, her parents choose not to live in fear and let her go. On seeing a boy who asks where she is going, she holds out her hand and says, “Come with me.” The last pages show how important their small acts of showing up are to each other and their community. Jesus is one who says to us, “Come with me”, and in following him, we are led to a love that overcomes fear and hatred.
This week’s Revised Common Lectionary Links are cowritten by Virginia C. Thomas, a frequent book reviewer for Storypath, and Ann Thomas Knox.