Year A: January 26, 2014
First Reading: Isaiah 9:1-4
Sun Bread by Elisa Keven
(Written for ages 3-5)
Comment: Isaiah tells us: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness— on them light has shined.” We all know the feeling of relief when turning on a light in a dark house, making the unfamiliar and foreboding into a place of comfort. Even more so, the people of Isaiah’s time know this relief—their darkness is one of oppression, violence, and sin–but now, upon them a light of comfort shines. The glow of that light leads to joy and harvest, to the breaking of all burdens that weighed so heavily upon them. So, too, the animals in Sun Bread feel defeated by the gloom and gray weather of winter. In fact, the sun has entirely disappeared, and everyone is downhearted in darkness. That is, until a little dog decides to bake a sun-shaped loaf of bread, so full of love and warmth, that it not only cheers up the other animals, but causes the sun to reappear and shine its light! The animals discover that though the darkness of winter may be oppressive, there is always light to be found, and the people of Israel realize that darkness doesn’t win—the light always overcomes.
How to Lose All Your Friends by Nancy Carlson
(Written for ages 3-5)
Comment: The Corinthian church is a mess. Arguments and cliques have taken over the church, and instead of exhibiting Christ to the world, they are exhibiting hostility and divisiveness. These fights and factions have to stop, or all will be lost for this church, but it takes a stern letter from Paul for them to realize it. “It can happen that we become so accustomed to a divided church that we simply accept the situation” (Harry B. Adam, Feasting on the Word, Year A, Volume 1, pg. 281). In How to Lose All Your Friends, the reader is presented with a tongue-in-cheek way to look at problems between friends. The narrator shows a young girl several options for how to “lose all her friends”: by whining, refusing to share, locking friends out, being grumpy, etc. By presenting the behaviors in such a way, readers realize that these divisive behaviors bring an end to relationships, and so choose to behave differently! Paul’s letter to the Corinthians also points out the Corinthians problems, in the hope that they will change and: “be in agreement and…that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose.”
Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: The four disciples in our passage “are said to have responded to this call straightaway” (Greg Garrett, Feasting on the Word, Year A, Volume 1, pg. 289). Jesus calls them, and they leave everything, and follow him. And while we know the important ministry they are joining, it is interesting to think about how these disciples “break the rules”—they were supposed to be fishing, mending their nets, helping their father—and yet they drop what they’re supposed to be doing to pursue something greater. In Library Lion, Miss Merriweather welcomes an unexpected lion into her library, but with the strict rule that there is no roaring in the library. The lion is eager to keep this rule, especially because he has already been reprimanded once. However, when Miss Merriweather falls and needs help, the lion decides to break the rule, and roars to call for help. But no one at the library is angry with him, because sometimes, the lion realizes, it’s okay to break the rules in the service of something more important. As we respond to Jesus’ call on our own lives, it’s worth pondering, like the lion in the library and the disciples dropping their nets, which rules we would be willing to break in order to pursue the kingdom of God.
The Lectionary Links this week are written by Union Presbyterian Seminary alumna Sara Anne Berger, pastor of the Whitmire Presbyterian Church, Whitmire, SC.