YEAR B: September 6, 2015
First Reading: Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23
How to Heal A Broken Wing by Bob Graham
(Written for ages 3-7)
Comment: In How to Heal a Broken Wing, an injured bird lays on the sidewalk while everyone steps around it. They don’t notice it at all. But one little boy, Will, does notice it. He convinces his mother to let him bring the bird home, so he can repair its wing. The bird is just a little pigeon, but Will takes notice of it, spends time with it, and cares for it gently and consistently, until the bird’s wing heals. Eventually the bird is set free and flies off once again, all thanks to Will taking notice of it. In our passage from Proverbs, our attention is directed to those people who are poor. They, too, are often overlooked and ignored. But our passage tells us that we share a common story, we are all made by the Lord. Therefore, being children of the same creator, we ought to regard people who are poor as brothers and sisters, and respond to their plight in a Godly manner. This scripture reminds us that those who are generous will, of course, bless those who are poor with their generosity, but adds that they will themselves be blessed by being generous. Just as Will took notice of an injured bird, and opened his heart to it, so, we, too, in our positions of privilege, if we wish to serve the Lord, must plead the cause of, and be generous to, those people in our midst who are poor.
Second Reading: James 2:1-10, 14-17
Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen by Diane Disalvo-Ryan
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: This New Testament letter exhorts Christian congregations to live their faith both in words and in actions—but most especially in actions. Words are easily spoken, but sometimes aren’t enough. This congregation is urged to stop divisive behavior between people who are rich and people who are poor, and instead to eliminate all distinctions among themselves. In fact, not only eliminate those worldly distinctions, but actively work against them by honoring the poor in word and in action. In Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen, the narrator’s uncle invites him to visit. As they walk down the streets of his uncle’s city, the narrator notices that his uncle speaks to and knows many of the people who live on the streets of the city. The narrator learns that his Uncle Willie spends many hours serving in a local soup kitchen which is where he met these people. He helps serve them a meal and gets to know them, too. Uncle Willie doesn’t merely speak to them and wish them well; he also supplies their bodily needs. For Uncle Willie and the people he serves and for the Christians in our passage, words are not enough. Our good words mean nothing if they are not accompanied by true faith, the fruit of which is shown in loving, caring acts.
Gospel Reading: Mark 7:24-37
Julia’s House for Lost Creatures by Ben Hatke
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: Initially, Jesus rejects the Syrophoenician woman’s plea but then changes his mind. Like the ears of the man who was deaf, Jesus displays a new openness after his first response. Her argument that even the crumbs are good enough, that even the smallest part of his mercy would change things, in fact, changes him, and through him, her daughter is freed from demons and then the deaf man’s ears are opened. The lost and seeking come to find Jesus, to beg for his help, to be changed, and have their spirits freed and their ears opened. The lost and seeking find in him power which gives them new, free lives. In Julia’s House for Lost Creatures, Julia moves to a brand new neighborhood. But the neighborhood is too quiet, so she invites all lost creatures to come and stay. And they do! Trolls who have lost their bridges and dragons who have lost their forests and other lost creatures come to stay with her and make a home there. Just as the lost creatures came to Julia and found a new life and a new home, so, too, the lost and the seeking come to Jesus and find their lives transformed.
We welcome Sara Anne Berger back as our Lectionary Links writer for the next four weeks. Sara Anne is a Union Presbyterian Seminary alumna and pastor of the Whitmire Presbyterian Church in Whitmire, SC.