Year B: June 7, 2015
First Reading: 1 Samuel 8:4-11, (12-15), 16-20, 11:14-15
How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: Samuel is discouraged when the elders gather together and demand a king for the people. The people rejected God as their king and demanded an earthly king like the other nations possessed. Despite Samuel’s encouragement for them to not have an earthly king to govern, the people demanded and Samuel warned that they would regret their decisions and cry out to God who would then ignore them. Samuel discouraged their selfish demands, but the people persisted and rejected God. They would be forced to own up to the decisions they made with the king they have chosen for themselves. Jeremy encounters a band of pirates one day on the beach, and having always wanted to be a pirate, decides to join their crew. At first Jeremy enjoys the time with the pirates, but then realizes it’s not all that he thought it would be. He made the decision to join the pirate crew, but ultimately decided that what he’d had at home was better than the life he’d have as a pirate. Luckily for Jeremy, it was only a make-believe adventure and not a permanent decision he was making. Our decisions have consequences and choices should be made carefully, preferably with God’s guidance.
Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1
Henny by Elizabeth Rose Stanton
(Written for 4-8)
Comment: The message in this portion of Paul’s letter is the certainty of God’s power. This passage is also about permanence of the inner versus the temporal outer. In the story of Henny we meet a young chick who is struggling to become comfortable with her differences from everyone. Henny was born not with wings but with arms. One day she realizes that her arms allow her to do things that others can’t do, and she embraces her differences. While she looks different on the outside, she realizes that she’s been created specially and the outside is not as important as what she believes about herself and her abilities. God transforms the ordinary, mortal, temporal bodies through the Holy Spirit for holy purposes. “I believed, and so…”
Gospel Reading: Mark 3:20-35
Harry Potter Series by J.K Rowling
(Written for ages 9 and up)
Comment: Jesus is engaged in an ongoing conflict with religious authorities and he takes it very seriously. In this passage from Mark’s gospel, we hear mention of Beelzebub and Satan in reference to Christ. The religious authorities are now accusing Jesus of being demon possessed, and the accusations become so life threatening that his own family sets out to tame Jesus a bit for the security of all. While Jesus takes seriously the accusations and the existence of demons, he speaks to the crowd of houses being divided and an inability to prosper (stand) in division, including Satan himself being divided and unable to stand. This passage informs us that in our own lives these powers, anything that appears to not be of the Holy Spirit, must be recognized, confronted and if necessary, destroyed in order for us to remain standing (functioning) for God’s ministry. In the Harry Potter series, JK Rowling introduces readers to the horcrux, or a tangible object or living being in which a dark wizard has placed a portion of his/her soul for the purpose of gaining immortality. The idea is that even if the wizard is killed, the soul will remain and thus the wizard will not be completely destroyed. JK Rowling defines a horcrux as, “a receptacle prepared by dark magic in which a Dark wizard has intentionally hidden a fragment of his soul for the purpose of attaining immortality.” Throughout the series of novels, Harry Potter comes upon many pieces of Lord Voldemort’s soul as hidden in horcruxes, and he systematically destroys them so that the Dark Lord will no longer thrive. A person who separates himself from his soul faces deformities and destruction to his being, and Voldemort faces eternal destruction due to the number of times he separates his soul and creates horcruxes. In the middle of this pericope, Mark shares that Christ informs us that houses, kingdoms and even Satan divided against themselves cannot stand and the end has come for those. As Voldemort splits and divides himself for the purpose of immortality, he is systematically destroying himself to the point that he creates his very own end. [For additional information about Harry Potter and the location of horcruxes in the series, please visit: http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Horcrux.]
We thank Union Presbyterian Seminary alumna Katie Barrett Todd for writing the Lectionary Links for the past four weeks and look forward to hearing from her again in the fall.