Year 2: April 26, 2020
The Man with the Violin by Kathy Stinson
(Written for ages 5-8)
Comment: Peter and John encounter a person with a condition that has affected his mobility since birth. Depending on the translation you read from, you may need to use more appropriate terms than “lame” or “crippled” (a good resource is Presbyterians for Disability Concerns). It may also be helpful to highlight what this man can do, rather than focusing on his disability: it’s clear he can speak, think, and has a faith that helps him to see that his healing comes from God. What is unique in this healing miracle is the focus placed on paying attention. The Greek word used is atenizō, which appears 15 times in the New Testament, 13 of which are in the Luke-Acts narrative. When Peter and John pay attention to the man, they make a true connection with him. In Stinson’s book (based on a real-life story), Dylan notices the man playing a violin in the subway station. His mother – and many of the other adults – are too busy to notice the beautiful music, played on a priceless instrument. When we pay attention to the people around us, we can see the gifts they bring to our lives. It can be all to easy to picture ourselves as Peter and John, giving a gift to this man; can we see ourselves as the ones who are transformed? It may be helpful to invite children to put themselves in the shoes of both characters, recognizing that they all have gifts to give and receive. If we can pay attention and see people for who they truly are, we can make a powerful connection in which there is much healing.
Thanks to Joshua Andrzejewski, Union Presbyterian Seminary alumnus and chaplain for the pediatric and women’s health units in the VCU Medical Center, for writing the Year 2 Narrative Lectionary Links.