Year A: April 3, 2011
First Reading: 1 Samuel 16: 1-13
How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell (Written for Ages 9-11)
Comment: When we think of leaders we often associate wisdom with age, strength with size, and popularity with good looks. Like Samuel, we need the reminder that God looks not on outward appearances, but on the heart. In How to Train Your Dragon, Hiccup the Viking is described as anything but a natural leader. “For a start he didn’t look like a Hero. Snotlout, for instance, was tall, muscley, covered in skeleton tattoos… Hiccup was on the small side and had the kind of face that was almost entirely unmemorable. (Chapter 2)” As we continue the story, we are given a glimpse into Hiccup’s heart. Though he is a social outcast, in the end, he is the true hero of the story. After he saves his people from certain death, they cheer for Hiccup and celebrate his status as a hero. James McTyre expresses that acting out today’s scripture would lead us to cheer, “Hooray for the little guy! Hooray for the ostracized, the outcast, the dismissed, the forgotten, the missing. (Feasting on the Word, Year A, Volume 2, p. 101)” This text reminds us to pause before we make assumptions, and to consider the possibility that our future leaders might be those we least expect!
Second Reading: Ephesians 5: 8-14
Let It Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters by Andrea Davis Pinkey (Written for Ages 9-11)
Comment: “For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light— for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true.”Andrea Davis Pinkey paints the portraits of people transformed by God’s light as she tells the stories of “sheroes” in Let it Shine. “The real accomplishment of the amazing women is that they spoke out fearlessly. No matter what, these freedom fighters let their lights shine on the darkness of inequality… And I hope their lives reflect something in each of us… the fortitude to keep one’s eyes on those prizes that will lead to a better world.” This text provides a wonderful opportunity for a preacher to explore the examples of the heroes and sheroes of our world who have lived as children of the light.
Gospel Reading: John 9: 1-41
Hannah by Gloria Whelan (Written for Ages 9-11)
Comment: Hannah’s family feels sorry for her because she is blind. Hannah’s teacher, Miss Robbin, tells her, “all of us have things we don’t see. I would guess, Hannah, that you see some things people with perfectly good eyes don’t.” The story from today’s gospel reading is much like Miss Robbin’s explanation of sight. After being healed by Jesus, the blind man shares his experience, telling others that Jesus is from God. They drive him away, refusing to believe, because these people, with perfectly good eyes, don’t see what he sees. Anna Carter Florence suggests that the blind man’s transformation cannot be explained, but only described. She says, “this passage is about time: before and after, then and now, who we were for years and years and who we are today. The moment of conversion itself is not as important as the difference it made (Feasting on the Word, Year A, Volume 2, pp. 117-119).” The difference between the “before and after” for Hannah and the man born blind, was having someone who believed in and encouraged their ability to see.
The Lectionary Links this week were written by Union Presbyterian Seminary graduate Noell Rathbun.