Year A: February 13
First Reading: Deuteronomy 30:15-20
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (Written for Grades 4-6)
Comment: In today’s text, we hear that following God’s commandments leads to prosperity and life in the promised land; The outcome is not so hopeful for those who disobey. “But if your heart turns away and you do not hear… you shall not live long in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.” For the children with golden tickets, Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory might just be the promised land. They too make choices that carry consequences. Augustus Gloop, Violet Beauregarde, Veruca Salt, and Mike Teavee find their time in the factory cut short because of their greed and unwillingness to follow Mr. Wonka’s instructions. Soon, only the timid, loving, obedient Charlie Bucket and his grandpa remain; because of Charlie’s actions, he is given the chocolate factory, where he and his family are invited to live for the rest of their lives.
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 3:1-9
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (Written for Grades 4-6)
Comment: “The one who plants and the one who waters have a common purpose… we are God’s servants, working together.” Paul is explaining to the Corinthians that his work is not in competition with Apollo’s, but that each person’s task is part of what it takes to serve God. In the church people may have different jobs—teaching, cooking, cleaning, counting money, etc.—yet everyone is working together for God’s purposes. In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry and his friends work together to keep the Sorcerer’s Stone from the Dark Side. It takes Ron’s skills at chess, Hermione’s logic, and Harry’s nerve and courage to help them accomplish their purpose.
Third Reading: Matthew 5:21-37
Julius: The Baby of the World by Kevin Henkes (Written for Grades K-3)
Comment: “…be reconciled to your brother or sister…” Just about everyone has experienced anger and (hopefully) reconciliation within their family unit. These feelings carry over to our church family as well. Julius: The Baby of the World is an amusing story of anger and reconciliation for young children. Lilly is angry with her baby brother for existing and she acts out on her anger. She is finally reconciled to Julius after their cousin insults him. Once Lilly recognizes Julius worth as a human—err—mouse being, the two become inseparable. This story is a good jumping point for discussion with children about the people and situations that make them angry and the ways they can work through that anger towards reconciliation.
The Lectionary Links post this week was written by Union Presbyterian Seminary graduate Noell Rathbun.