Year B: March 18, 2012
First Reading: Numbers 21:4-9
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst (Written for ages 5-9)
Comment: Perhaps the most likely place to help children connect to this text would be in exploring the feelings being expressed. “The story is the last of five ‘murmuring stories in the book of Numbers. Over and over, the people complain (or rail, or rebel, or speak against) their leaders in the wilderness.” (Feasting on the Word, Year B, Volume 2, p 99) It’s not to hard to imagine we ourselves would be grumbling if we were stuck out in the wilderness feeling lost. Perhaps the most loved grumble story to date is that of Alexander. His day downright stinks. Alexander, like the people in the wilderness, is fed up because it seems like nothing goes right for him. Those days have existed for all people in all times, at some point in time. As Alexander’s mom says, “Some days are like that.”
Second Reading: Ephesians 2:1-10
The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds (Written for ages 5-9)
Comment: “For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.” New life in Christ is a gift from God, planned and prepared for us, a work of God’s, not our own. In response to God’s grace we may choose to live in ways that reflect our understanding of the good works God has created us for. Vashti experiences grace when she comes to see herself through her teacher’s eyes. Her new life as an artist is inspired by the grace-filled actions of her teacher. When her teacher sees her as an artist, Vashti discovers a desire to live as one.
Gospel Reading: John 3:14-21
Comment: Sometime we find ourselves questioning God’s love for us. We are the ones who grumble, who don’t feel worthy of love, we break rules, we are lured by the darkness, we struggle to live in the light. It’s normal to wonder, “Would God love me if…?” A lovely illustration of unconditional love can be found in the stories from Barbara Joosse of the Inuit mama and Maasai papa. In both stories, the parents listens as their child comes up with a list of things that might challenge their parent’s love. Each parent assures their child of their steadfast love, regardless of the the situation. Our own questions may be answered when we reflect on the fact that God sent the light of love into a dark world to save us. Through Christ’s presence we hear God’s answer to our question. “For God so loved the world…”
This week’s Lectionary Links were written by Union Presbyterian Seminary student Rachel Mastin and alumna Noell Rathbun-Cook.