Year C: May 26, 2019
First Reading: Acts 16:9-15
But Not the Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton
(written for ages 2-6)
Comment: In a similar narrative to that of Peter’s from last week’s lectionary, Paul has a vision that challenges popular thought considering God’s wide welcome. Paul and his companions respond by immediately crossing over. In doing so they meet Lydia, the businesswoman selling purple cloth. The Lord opens her heart as she accepts the good news. In Boynton’s fun, little book, animals engage in and enjoy different activities. But not the hippopotamus. This continues, until the animal pack calls out, “Hey! Come join the lot of us!” extending a wide welcome to the hippopotamus. Sometimes we have to cross boundaries that are uncomfortable to follow God’s call to welcome and love all. Yet, as Boynton’s book reminds us, the cycle is doomed to repeat itself. After the group welcomes the hippopotamus, the refrain becomes, “But not the armadillo.” For every hippopotamus that is welcomed, there is an armadillo that is not. For every Lydia that finds a place at the wide table of grace, there are others who are still waiting.
Second Reading: Revelation 21:10, 22-22:5
One Love: Based on the Song by Bob Marley adapted by Cedella Marley
(written for ages 3-7)
Comment: The command from the Revelation text is, “Worship God!” In addition to the more traditional ways we worship God during a worship service, such as singing, praying, and listening to a sermon, there are other ways that we worship God. Worship becomes a lifestyle when all that we do is to the glory of God. Bob Marley’s familiar song, “One Love,” coupled with excellent illustrations from Vanessa Brantley-Newton, shows us what happens when we show love to each other, for our community, and all of creation. When this happens, as the book (and Revelation) say, “a new world we’ll see.”
Third Reading: John 14:23-29
Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney
(written for ages 3-8)
Comment: I imagine when the disciples heard Jesus’ teachings from John 14, they may have felt much like Llama Llama did on his first day of school. In this teaching, Jesus tells the disciples that he is going away, and he will be coming back. As such he tells the disciples, “Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” Easier said than done. Llama Llama’s first day at school is met with some anxiety and fear. His heart is troubled because he misses Mama. Teacher tells Llama Llama, “when day is through, she will come right back to you.” This reminder and assurance is just what Llama Llama needs to enjoy the rest of his day. When Mama returns, as promised, there is much rejoicing! A reminder, two weeks away from Pentecost, that there will be much joy when the Holy Spirit breezes in.
Thanks to Union Presbyterian Semnary alumnus Jason C. Stanley for writing the Revised Common Lectionaary Links this week. Jason serves as Coordinator for Church Revitalization on the Elizabeth River District of the Virginia United Methodist Conference.