Year B: January 29, 2012
First Reading: Deuteronomy 18:15-20
The Prophet of Yonwood by Jeanne DuPrau (Written for Ages 9-11)
Comment: “But any prophet who speaks in the name of other Gods, or who presumes to speak in my name a word that I have not commanded the prophet to speak—that prophet shall die.” This word from God is a strong warning against false prophecy. A false prophet has the potential to cause much damage. In The Prophet of Yonwood readers witness the changes that come to a small town after a woman has debilitating visions of the future that leave her babbling and semi-conscious. Referred to as the Prophet, a council interprets her words, instructing the town to act in certain ways on God’s orders. When the prophet’s awareness of her surroundings returns she is horrified to learn that her vision of the future has been misinterpreted as a command from God. “The vision—I couldn’t stop seeing it. It was dreadful beyond words… No singing or dancing. No lights. No animals. No dogs, even. All gone! It was what I saw. It wasn’t orders from God.” (Chapter 30)
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 8:1-13
Comment: “For if others see you, who possess knowledge, eating in the temple of an idol, might they not, since their conscience is weak, be encouraged to the point of eating food sacrificed to idols? So by your knowledge those weak believers for whom Christ died are destroyed.” In the Corinthian community we see people learning to live with one another and to care for each other as neighbors. Part of caring for one another includes awareness that others may misinterpret our actions when they do not possess the same knowledge. Gluskabe and the Four Wishes illustrates how dangerous a lack of awareness can be. In the tale, four men seek to have wishes granted by Gluskabe. Three of the men come to be destroyed by their own selfish motives and their failure to understand the wisdom of Gluskabe.
Gospel Reading: Mark 1:21-28
Riding to Washington by Gwenyth Swain (Written for ages 5-9)
Comment: In his commentary, Mike Graves suggests that Jesus’ teaching and ministry is about seeing justice served. “The healing word Jesus speaks, like the words he has spoken in the synagogue, cause things to happen… It is a new teaching, a new preaching. Not just information, but transformation.” (Feasting on the Word, Year B, Volume 1, p313) In Riding to Washington we witness the transformation of a young white girl who learns from experiences centered around justice. Typically a troublemaker, Janie is changed by the message of civil rights. As the story ends, we see her come into a fuller awareness of these teachings. “[I knew] the dream belonged not just to Dr. King and Mrs. Taylor and her husband, but to me and Daddy. And maybe even to that boy at the gas station, too.”
This week’s Lectionary Links post is written by regular contributor Noell Rathbun.