YEAR B: February 18, 2018
First Reading: Genesis 9:8-17
The Bear and the Piano by David Litchfield
(Written for ages 4-7)
Comment: A bear discovers a piano in the woods, and over time becomes a musical virtuoso and his friends in the woods all enjoy his music. He is offered the chance to come perform in the big city where he acquires fame and fortune, but he misses the woods and his friends. Upon returning, however, he worries that his friends don’t remember him. They are nowhere to be seen, nor is his piano. But, finally, he discovers that they have kept his piano safe in the shade, ready and waiting for him to return, and they remembered him all this time. The bear knows now that they will always remember him and be thinking of him, even when he is away. In Genesis, after the flood, God makes a promises to Noah and his family to always remember them, and that God will not send another flood. God has a sign placed in the clouds, a bow, to remind them and God of this promise. Like Bear, seeing his piano and realizing that his friends had remembered him, the bow is a sign of memory. There are signs all around us that God remembers us and that God keeps promises to us. It may be a rainbow and it may the thoughtfulness of a friend or many other signs in our world, but we can rest assured, like Noah, like the bear, that we are remembered.
Second Reading: 1 Peter 3:18-22
A Big Guy Took My Ball! by Mo Willems
(Written for ages 6-8)
Comment: Piggie’s ball is taken by someone she describes simply as “a big guy”. Her friend, Gerald, decides to go to her defense. But when he goes to appeal to the “big guy” to get Piggie’s ball back, Gerald discovers that this is a really big guy—a whale. But Gerald and Piggie learn that the whale didn’t mean any harm, and they are able to create a new friendship from the encounter. In I Peter, the letter says that Jesus appeals for all people, and appeals on our behalf, too, against powers of sin and suffering. Jesus comes to our defense, and in our baptism into his resurrection, something new and wonderful comes from his defense. God is willing to wait, patiently, while we come to baptism in Jesus’ resurrection, and we know that Jesus appeals for us and comes to our defense.
Gospel Reading: Mark 1:9-15
Henry and Leo by Pamela Zagarenski
(Written for ages 4-7)
Comment: As a result of Jesus’ being declared God’s beloved Son at his baptism, John knows that the kingdom of God has come near and the time is fulfilled. He begins prophesying that to the people, and urges them to repent and believe in the good news. In Henry and Leo, Henry knows that Leo, his toy lion, is real, but his family doesn’t believe him. Every statement Henry makes regarding Leo’s thoughts and preferences and being real, his parents and sister ignore or try to refute. But Henry’s belief is validated, when, one night, Leo is accidentally lost after a walk in the woods, and after an adventure with some of the other toys, Leo finds his way back to Henry and tells Henry he loves him. Henry believes that Leo is real, and his belief is well-founded. John has seen that kingdom of God has come near in Jesus Christ and his belief is well-founded. He urges others to believe as well. Because of Jesus Christ, we have every reason to believe that even now the kingdom of God has come near, and to believe in this very good news.
The Revised Common Lectionary Links are written this week by Union Presbyterian Seminary alumna Sara Anne Berger.