5th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Year A: February 5, 2017
First Reading: Isaiah 58:1-9a
Lion Lessons by Jon Agee
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: Isaiah tells the people God is unhappy with the way they practice their faith because it is fake, only a shell. God is displeased with their fasting, their humility, because underneath they don’t practice righteousness or follow God’s commands. They don’t care at all for other people. Isaiah tells them that God says true faith isn’t just outward appearance. It is truly focused on God’s ways, it seeks to help God’s people. In Lion Lessons, a boy takes lessons on how to be a lion from the best source: a lion himself. He learns to look fierce, to roar, to prowl, to pounce, but the lion tells him there is one more most important lesson: looking out for your friends. The boy is able to use all of his lion skills to help some neighborhood cats, who are very thankful. Just like there was more to being a lion than the outside appearance, there is more to faith than outward show. We don’t want a shell faith. We want to practice a true faith, one that is focused on God’s ways and cares for God’s people.
–Second Reading: I Corinthians 2:1-12
My Teacher is a Monster! (No, I Am Not.) by Peter Brown
(Written for ages 5-8)
Comment: Paul tells the Corinthians that he came to them in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. He must not have been much to see, not very impressive. But then he shares the gospel with them. The Spirit works through him in a demonstration of power and he proves there is more to him than meets the eye. In My Teacher is a Monster! (No, I am Not.), Bobby is frustrated because he sees his teacher as a monster—she always gets onto him, stops him throwing paper airplanes, ruining his fun. But one day he runs into her at the park, and as they get to know each other, he discovers that she is not the monster he thought she was,. She is actually a fun and interesting person. We, like the Corinthians, are people of the Spirit and even though we might not seem impressive, there is more to us. We have the mind of Christ, and knowing that opens our eyes to see that this is true of other people as well – that they are more than they might first appear.
Gospel Reading: Matthew 5:13-20
Bedtime is Canceled! By Cece Meng
(Written for ages 4-7)
Comment: Jesus is teaching on the mountain, surrounded by his disciples who might have thought now that he, the Messiah, has come, that they are freed from God’s law – no requirements anymore, free to do whatever they like. But Jesus tells them that he is not here to abolish the law, he is here to fulfill it. Jesus is here to show them how to live even more fully according to God’s law. Jesus shows them what God’s law really looks like. In Bedtime is Canceled, Maggie and her brother, thinking how wonderful it would be without a bedtime, start a rumor that travels throughout the city, and everyone ignores bedtime and stays up all night. But they discover that not having a bedtime isn’t all it’s cracked up to be—everyone is exhausted and confused, a mess! The next night they all agree that bedtime is not canceled and see how valuable it is to have the bedtime rule so they can live well! It’s the same for us.Jesus doesn’t remove all responsibility for keeping God’s law. Instead he shows us the goodness of it, the fulfillment of it, and how to live it well.
Thank you to Union Presbyterian Seminary alumna Sara Anne Berger for writing the Revised Common Lectionary Links this week.