Year B: April 12, 2015
First Reading: Acts 4:32-35
Cold Snap by Eileen Spinelli
(Written for ages )
Comment: Acts paints the picture of the early church possibly picture perfect. We hear in these four verses all the things the individuals do for the community. Everyone puts each other first. The poor are cared for, unity is achieved, and testimonies are being shared. I like to think the community of the early church faced some of the struggles we face in the church today, as we seek to care for the poor, achieve unity, and share testimonies. In Cold Snap the community is facing one cold day after another. As the week progresses the temperature drops, and people begin to have problems with getting warm. The complaining increases as the temperature decrease. The day the thermometer reads zero degrees, the mayor’s wife creates a plan to bring the community together. She invites everyone to a winter surprise. The whole town shows up, but not without complaining all the way there. When they arrive, the community finds a huge bonfire to gather around for warmth. Spirits are lifted and complaints stop. The next day the temperatures begin to warm. It might have just been a coincidence, but Spinelli is illustrating the good things that come to a community that works together. Maybe this is why, when we hear descriptions about the early church in Acts, we hear of the picture perfect community. The community that works together for the good of everyone, brings about a little more of God’s Kingdom.
Second Reading: 1 John 1:1-2:2
The Magic Rabbit by Annette Le Blanc Cate
(Written for ages )
Comment: In the middle of a magic show,rabbit is separated from his beloved magician Ray. Rabbit travels the city in hopes to get back to Ray, but just when he begins to give up hope, he finds his light. Ray had taken the time to lay out gold stars to help Rabbit find his way back home, and it works. Rabbit sees the star and follows it with hope and excitement as he gets closer and closer to Ray. God has provided us a path of light to take us home. Sometimes we get lost along the way as we seek to serve God, but when we come back to God and confess the ways the darkness grabbed a hold of us, we can rejoin the path of light.
Gospel Reading: John 20:19-31
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
(Written for ages )
Comment: Poor Thomas gets a bad reputation because he wanted to have the same experience as the rest of the disciples. The other eleven had the opportunity to see Jesus after the resurrection, but Thomas was absent. It takes a lot of trust to have faith in the truth of a story like this one. I have always wondered if the other disciples would have doubted the truth in this story if they had not been there when Jesus showed up the first time. For some people it takes a lot to believe in Jesus Christ. John recognizes this, and shares that the purpose of his writings is so that others may come to believe. Children come to their faith through hearing the stories, experiencing Christ in the church community, and hearing testimonies of those who came before them. It makes sense for Thomas to need to hear stories and testimonies as well as to experience Christ. As I was preparing to write this week’s links, the first book that came to mind was The Polar Express. In this book the reader follows the journey of a little boy who wants to believe in Santa, but is struggling. He jumps aboard a train that arrives at his house out of nowhere, and travels to the North Pole. While in the North Pole it is not until he sees Santa’s sleigh, reindeer and Santa that he is truly able to claim a belief in Santa. The Church has sought to help the doubting Thomases throughout history, by providing physical symbols and images that can be used to help grab hold of the faith. For the little boy aboard the Polar Express, the bell served as this reminder.
Thanks to Union Presbyterian Seminary alumna Elizabeth Boulware Landes for writing the Lectionary Links for the last four weeks. We will look forward to hearing from her again later this year.