YEAR B: November 30, 2014
First Reading: Isaiah 64:1-9
Taming Horrible Harry by Lili Chartrand
(Written for ages 4-8)
Comment: Isaiah describes a majestic and powerful God, a God who does amazing things. Consequently, the people’s decision to live in sin and transgression is all the more discouraging when they have such a wonderful God whom they could worship instead. But the prophet does not leave them in the hopeless situation of having sinned against a holy and mighty God. “Yet, O Lord, you are our Father, we are the clay, and you are our potter…do not remember iniquity forever.” The people are beloved children of this powerful God who will forget their iniquity and change them, like a potter with clay, into faithful people. In Taming Horrible Harry, Harry is a monster who is changed for the better, too. At first, he is bent on terrorizing everyone he meets—until one day, he scares off a little girl, who leaves behind a book. At first perplexed by it, Harry soon learns to read the book and discovers a deep love of reading! He decides to tell everyone about this amazing new ability and the story he’s found, and Harry and his monster friends give up their terrorizing ways in order to read! Just as Harry was changed by reading, God changes the people from their sinful ways into ways of faithfulness.
Second Reading: I Corinthians 1:3-9
The Patchwork Path: A Quilt Map to Freedom by Bettye Stroud
(Written for ages 5-8)
Comment: In The Patchwork Path, Hannah and her father realize the quilt Hannah helped her mother create before she died is actually a series of symbols directing them on the Underground Railroad. Using the quilt’s symbols and directions, Hannah and her father escape from slavery in Georgia to eventual freedom in Canada. The quilt Hannah’s mother created provides them with everything they need to navigate the perilous journey to freedom. In the same way, Paul tells the Corinthian church that they “are not lacking in any spiritual gift” and that they are strengthened by God as they live by faith here on earth. Hannah and her father realized they had everything they needed for the path to freedom, and faith that they would arrive there one day. Paul assures the people of Corinth that they, too, have everything they need, so they can continue to have faith in God’s presence and hope for Jesus Christ’s coming.
Gospel Reading: Mark 13:24-37
The Boy Who Held Back the Sea by Lenny Hort
(Written for ages 3-5)
Comment: “Beware, keep alert”, Jesus warns the disciples. Just as we can watch a fig tree and know from the details of its branches that summer is coming, so, too, we must attentively watch for details of the Lord’s reign. We must be alert. In The Boy Who Held Back the Sea, Jan is a mischievous little boy, but he is also attentive to details. The guards along the dyke in his town don’t pay him any attention because of his previous troublemaking, but Jan notices a small crack in the dyke, allowing water to flow through and eventually become a flood. Jan acts to prevent this, plugging the hole with his hand, and stays there, guarding it, through the stormy night, until more help arrives. Just as Jan paid attention to the details, and stayed awake through the night, so, too, we must pay attention the details of Jesus’ kingdom, and remain awake and alert to his coming.
We are so happy to welcome back Sara Anne Berger, Union Presbyterian Seminary alumna and pastor of the Whitmire Presbyterian Church in Whitmire, SC, as our Lectionary Links writer for the next thirteen weeks. Sara Anne wrote for us during Advent last year as well and we’re excited to see the connections she makes this season.