Year C: December 9, 2012
First Reading: Malachai 3:1-4
Catching the Fire: Philip Simmons, Blacksmith by Mary E. Lyons
(Written for ages 8-12)
Comment: “For he is like a refiner’s fire…” In reflecting upon this text, I was caught up in the image of a refiner’s fire. Fire is so often regarded as something to fear, and rightfully so–it can cause destruction, pain, and even death. This fire, however, is not destructive, but constructive. A refiner takes a lump of metal and turns it into art, releasing the full potential of what it might be. This imagery is explored in the work of Philip Simmons, a blacksmith from Charleston, SC. “Mr. Simmons can hammer life into a dead lump of iron.” (Catching the Fire, Introduction) This is, essentially, what it is to be shaped by the refiner’s fire and changed by our experience of God.
Second Reading: Philippians 1:3-11
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski
(Written for ages 5-9)
Comment: A number of commentators focus on the power of friendship displayed in Paul’s letter to the Philippians. This text stands as an invitation for us to be changed and deepened by friendship, to discover the ways friendship causes our love to overflow more and more. Jonathan Toomey is a man shaped and changed by friendship and love. In his growing friendship with the widow and her son and his experience of the Christmas story through the eyes of the young boy, Toomey’s heart opens to new opportunities for love and joy. May we also seek to nurture deep friendships that change us, and cause us to grow in love.
Gospel Reading: Luke 3:1-6
(Written for ages 5-9)
Comment: “Prepare the way of the Lord…” Advent invites us to a time of reorientation. We are called to prepare our hearts and homes to welcome Jesus. John is calling us to withdraw from our distractions and the hustle-and-bustle of life. John is calling us to turn our focus to the one who is coming. The crooked and rough paths of our lives can sometimes serve to distract us from the true destination. They are like the busy streets described in Krishnaswami’s book: when the people abandon their busy “out of the way” focus, they find they can stop and listen. We, too are called to slow down, to focus on the coming Lord, and to listen.
The Lectionary Links this week were written by regular contributor Noell Rathbun-Cook.