19th Sunday after Pentecost
Year C: October 20, 2019
First Reading: Jeremiah 31:27-34
Melena’s Jubilee by Zetta Elliott
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: “The time is coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with my people.” (v. 31) These hopeful words from the prophet Jeremiah point to a covenant that moves beyond words engraved on a stone tablet into a covenant that writes itself on hearts and enables a new relationship with God. Although Jubilee is an actual practice articulated in Leviticus and adopted in spirit by African Americans when the Emancipation Proclamation was signed by President Lincoln, Melena’s Jubilee can easily be read with this text in Jeremiah. Melena is given many chances during her day to change her approach to the previous bad day. Over and over again, she is provided opportunities to claim forgiveness, act in loving ways toward those around her and see the possibilities for change in her own heart. The new covenant that will be made between God and God’s people will be similar to Melena’s fresh start.
Second Reading: 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5
The Noisy Paintbox: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Art by Barb Rosenstock
(Written for ages)
Comment: Dirk Lange speaks of the importance of tradition that is upheld in 2 Timothy, while also recognizing that “what is to be continued, cared for, watched over is this faith that was given as a gift, through baptism and the community, through the work of the Holy Spirit. This faith alone defines the tradition. This faith makes of tradition, not something carved out in stone, but something living, in hearts, active today — a living word.” As a young boy in Russia, Vasya Kandinksy was brought up to be a “proper Russian boy”, with grounding in math, science, literature, and music. When his aunt gave him a paint box because every proper Russian boy should know how to appreciate art, Kandinsky’s life was transformed. When Kandinsky mixed paint, he heard music and he painted the sounds he heard. When he presented his creations to others, they insisted he needed art lessons to learn the proper way to paint. Kandinsky quit painting to learn to be a lawyer, trying to be a proper Russian boy, but he couldn’t ignore the way that music spoke to him through colors . He quit law and studied with famous artists who didn’t recognize Kandinsky’s gift and tried to teach him more traditional ways of painting. Eventually Kandinsky created an entirely new art form – abstract art. Kandinsky’s life can be a way to think about how “we’ve always done it this way” can keep us from nurturing the gifts that God gives.
Gospel Reading: Luke 18:1-8
Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman
(Written for ages 3-7)
Comment: This parable in some versions of the Bible is called the parable of the persistent widow. There are important concepts of justice, prayer and faith in this parable but persistence will be one that young listeners understand. In the widow’s search for justice, it is her dogged persistence in asking for it that gets her what she needs! A young bird hatches while his mother is out looking for food for the bird. The young bird sets out on a quest for what he desperately wants to find – his mother. He asks a cat, a dog, a car…..on and on and on he goes, asking anyone and anything he can find. His persistence pays off when he asks a power shovel who deposits him in his nest just as his mother arrives with a worm and he recognizes her for who she is. Wonder together how we can be persistent in our work for justice in the world.
The Revised Common Lectionary Links are being written this year by Union Presbyterian Seminary alumna Ann Thomas Knox.