Year A: May 31, 2020
First Reading: Acts 2:1-21
Drawn Together by Minh Lê
(Written for ages 4 -7 years)
Comment: Pentecost was one of the three festivals each year that Jews celebrated, in Jerusalem if possible. So five weeks after the resurrection, there were many Jews in the city from all over the Roman empire speaking many different languages. Amid all this crowd and bustle, the little band of Jesus’ followers were waiting as he had told them to for the Holy Spirit. The Spirit came with wind and tongues of fire resting on each person. They began to speak in different languages-languages that were being spoken in Jerusalem during the festival. People recognized their own language and wondered how these Galileans could speak their native tongues. As those present heard the story of God’s work in Christ in their language, many came to know Jesus and join in the work of Christ’s kingdom.
A mother drops her son off at his grandfather’s house. This time together is hard for both the boy and his grandfather because they do not speak the same language. They do not watch the same TV programs. They do not eat the same food. They have no way to communicate with each other and the loneliness and discomfort between them is palpable. Then the boy gets out his sketch pad and begins to draw. His grandfather’s eyes light up, he gets his sketchbook, and they begin to draw a story together. The amazing artwork in the book testifies to their growing ability to share a different kind of language and to see and understand each other in real ways as they ‘speak’ to each other for the first time.
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 12: 3b-13
Knit Together by Angela Dominguez
(Written for ages 3-5)
Comment: The Spirit that Jesus promised us has given each one of us a gift. The first gift that we have all received is the faith to say that Jesus is Lord. Then Paul, who is writing to Christians in Corinth, lists some of these gifts-wisdom, knowledge, hearing, working miracles, prophecy, speaking in tongues and the ability to interpret tongues. He is very clear that though the gifts may differ it is the same Spirit that gives them all. He calls us the Body of Christ and says that each gift is for the good of the Body. We have all been baptized into one Body and have all received one Spirit. Can you think of a gift the Spirit has given you? A voice to sing praise, a spirit of friendship, a willingness to pray, a mind to read and understand the Bible? Your gifts may be different from your best friend, from your parents. Even though you are different, there are some ways in which each member of the Body of Christ is the same. What are some ways we might be similar?
A young girl loves to draw and her mother loves to knit. The girl thinks her mother’s gift is better than hers because you can wear things you knit. There are so many things the girl would make if only she could learn to knit, but she struggles with it. They decide to work together using both of their gifts. The girl produces a wonderful drawing. Then she and her mother gather supplies for her mother to knit – a drawing they can wear together. The last image in the book shows the girl and her mother wrapped in a knitted blanket knit with the girl’s boat drawing as a central piece of it. The gifts they each have are used to make some greater than the two of them can make by themselves.
Gospel Reading: John 7:37-39
Rain School by James Rumford
(Written for ages 5-8)
Comment: In today’s Gospel passage, we see the waters of life linked with the promised gift of the Holy Spirit. Although Jesus spoke these words at the Feast of the Tabernacles and not at Pentecost, he foretells the promise that he is both water for our deep thirst and that we will ourselves be water to others through the Holy Spirit. As Tom Long says, “Through the Spirit, believers participate in the unending life of God , and the water of abundant life flows through them….Through the gift of the Spirit, the lives of believers have become like Christ’s – large and life giving.” (Feasting on the Word: Year A, Vol. 3, pg. 25). The Spirit makes the life of Christ real and ongoing in our lives.
Thomas is going to school for the first time. When he arrives at school, there is no building but there is a teacher. The first lesson, she says, is to build a school and the children build the walls and roof together. Throughout the dry season, they learn together and leave just as the rains begin. The next year, they come back, ready to rebuild their school and learn more. The waters that wash away the school each year are necessary for their country, and the learning, building and growing that the teacher and students share together is also life-giving.
The Revised Common Lectionary Links this week are co-written by Union Presbyterian Seminary alumnae Virginia C. Thomas and Ann Thomas Knox.