John 5th Sunday of Easter
Year C: April 28, 2013
First Reading: Acts 11:1-18
The Duchess of Whimsy by Randall de Sève
(Written for ages 5-9)
Comment: Peter’s story is one of a change of heart. Through his dream, and his experience following the Spirit’s guidance, he overcomes the prejudices he held for Gentiles. It seems that prejudices are most often overcome through the power of relationships and a willingness to step outside of oneself. The Duchess of Whimsy, discovers this to be true when she is finally able to accept that ordinary might not always be bad. In opening herself up to a friendship with the Earl of Norm, she see how her prejudices kept her from actually knowing or understanding him. This text and story invite us to consider which people we call unclean or hold prejudices against and challenge us to ask how might we open ourselves to new relationships.
Second Reading: Revelation 21:1-6
Next Year I’ll Be Special by Patricia Reilly Giff
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: In this text we see a world that is just and filled with right relationships. “In the context of Easter season, this passage may be understood as providing strength and hope in desperate times.” (Feasting on the Word, Year C, Volume 2, p 464) In her commentary, Dana Ferguson goes on to explain that John’s vision helps us move forward from the devastating places by strengthening us with the awareness of the new life that lies ahead. Children and adults alike struggle with painful life experiences. In difficult times, sometimes the only thing keeping us on the journey is the belief in the goodness that lies ahead. Next Year I’ll Be Special is a little girl’s vision of a better future that lies ahead. Marilyn is able to journey through the difficulties of first grade by holding hope for what the second grade will bring.
Gospel Reading: John 13:31-35
(Written for ages 5-9)
Comment: “Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.” This text is central to our understanding of what it is to be a Christian. With Jesus as our teacher and example, we strive to live lives centered of love. This love is not the rosy valentine variety, but of the deep-rooted kind that Jesus displayed in serving strangers, outcasts, and friends. It is a love exemplified to the point of Jesus denying his own comfort and safety. Willoughby learns something of this love when he encounters a golden lion in his back yard. The lion will remain imprisoned in the yard unless Willoughby wishes for the most wonderful thing of all. At first Willoughby is only focused on what the lion can do for him, but with his final wish, Willoughby trades all he’s gained for the lion’s freedom. As the story ends, readers discover that the most wonderful thing of all is a selfless act of love. In reflecting on this text and story, wonder together with your congregation about what lives centered on love might look like.
The Lectionary Links this week were written by regular contributor Noell Rathbun-Cook.