Year A: April 19, 2020
First Reading: Acts 2:14a, 22-32
Ralph Tells a Story by Abby Hanlon
(Written for ages 6-9)
Comment: Do you know what a witness is? It is a person who has seen an event and can tell what has happened. The sermon that Peter preaches in this passage reminds the listeners that they had seen the wonderful things Jesus had done, and they had seen that Jesus had been put to death. Everyone had witnessed the life and death of Jesus, but only the disciples were witnesses that God had raised Jesus. They had seen and talked with him.
When Ralph’s class writes stories, he thinks he has nothing to say. He gets bathroom passes and suggests that he could go help the lunchroom ladies – anything to get out of writing a story. One day, he remembers a time he found an inchworm but he can’t seem to figure out how to turn it into a story. When the teacher calls on him to read his story, he walks slowly to the front of the room and reads his one sentence. But his fellow students’ eager questions remind him that he has something to say about the experience he shared with that inchworm. He begins to tell his story (and it’s a good one!) At the end of the book, you see pages from all the stories that Ralph has now been able to write about things that he has seen, done and experienced. Ralph becomes a good witness for what he has experienced. Suppose the disciples had failed to be witnesses? How would we know Jesus today? What story about Jesus could you share?
Second Reading: 1 Peter 1:3-9
All My Treasures: A Book of Joy by Jo Witek
(Written for ages 2-5)
Comment: First Peter was written to people of the church who were being persecuted. It was a crime to be a Christian. If your name was given to the authorities, you either had to sacrifice to a Roman god and renounce Jesus or be killed. In spite of this, says Peter, you rejoice and your faith will result in praise and glory. Peter lists some of the reasons that Christians rejoice in these hard times: we have a living hope, a new birth through the resurrection, an unfading inheritance, salvation of our souls. In a way these all mean the same thing. We have a glorious life in Christ. Some people think that this was a sermon preached at a baptism. Would these be good things to know as you begin your life in Christ?
A little girls receives a beautiful porcelain treasure box from her grandmother. and she begins to look for the best treasures she has to put in it. At first, she thinks of coins, candy and her teddy bear.r gives her granddaughter a beautiful porcelain box to hold the girl’s best treasures. At first, the girl thinks of the things she owns that might go there – coins, candies, her teddy bear. Then she decides that her greatest treasures are the things that bring her joy and which are found in things like the memory of the first time she saw her baby sister walk, or her friendship with Lili. Christians have a very, very rich inheritance and the new life that we are given through Christ is cause for rejoicing. What are the treasures that we have inherited that bring us joy by being children of God?
Gospel Reading: John 20:19-31
Truman by Jean Reidy
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: Truman is a very small turtle who spends his days with his human friend Sarah in her downtown city home. But one day, something happens that makes Truman a little afraid. Sarah heads out the door with a very large backpack and leaves Truman some extra beans. He sees Sarah get on the No. 11 bus which is a new occurence. Filled with anxiety, Truman determines that he must find her but has no idea how he will do that. But he works hard to climb out of his cage and make his way across the long room to get to Sarah. The house seems unsettled without Sarah present, but as the sun sinks in the sky, Truman hears the No. 11 bus and he knows he will get on it and find Sarah. And standing in that waning sunlight, he feels brave! As he begins to make his way under the door, Sarah returns. At the end of the story, Truman realizes that Sarah will not leave him and that some day soon,they will get on the No. 11 bus and meet new people, think new thoughts and do new things – together.
The disciples are afraid. They have seen their teacher killed by Jewish authorities and they are worried and hiding out behind closed doors. They have seen the signs that John describes throughout Christ’s ministry, but those seem to be forgotten now and fear is at the forefront. Into this fearful setting, Jesus comes. He offers his disciples his peace and the gift of the Spirit to be with them and his presence in front of Thomas moves Thomas to faith. While many of us are not physically unsafe as a result of our following Jesus, we know what it is like to hide our faith in the face of the powers of governments, of greed, of selfishness,of despair. To the disciples then and now, Jesus offers peace and life and the gift of the Spirit .Just like Truman understood that Sarah was not leaving him for good, disciples then and now have Christ’s presence with us and are called to follow him in faith.
The Revised Common Lectionary Links this week were co-written by Union Presbyterian Seminary alumnae Virginia C. Thomas and Ann Thomas Knox.