Year B: November 8, 2015
First Reading: Ruth 3:1-5; 4:13-17
Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox
(Written for ages 3 and up)
Comment: “He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age.” (4:15) These are the words from Naomi to Ruth at the birth of her and Boaz’s son, Obed. It is amazing to think a newborn baby, someone who needs you for everything and demands your attention at all times, can be a restorer of life. As I write the Links this week, I am home with my newborn son and 2 year old, and despite the physical and emotional energy drain I feel throughout the day, I find myself agreeing with Naomi’s words. Young children experiencing the world for the first time, and the curiosity they bring to the world, can bring new eyes to the old. Wilfrid Gordon has befriended the residents of retirement home he lives next door to. One day he learns his favorite resident is struggling with dementia. Wilfrid Gordon seeks to learn the meaning of memory, and then seeks out things he can bring to his favorite resident to help her find her memory. Like in Ruth, it is the youngest generation that restorers the life and nourishes the older generation.
Second Reading: Hebrews 9:24-28
The Promise By Nicola Davies
(Written for ages 5-9)
Comment: The Promise explores the experience of a young girl who had a life changing encounter. The girl tries to steal a handbag and the women from whom she is stealing says “If you promise to plant them, I’ll let go.” The girl makes the promise, only to find a bag full of acorns. The net day, she begins to plant them around the dark and gray city. New life begins to emerge and the people begin to change. The young girl continues to plant the acorns in city after city and watches the transformation happen, until she finds herself in a struggle and lets the bag go to a stranger with the same promise. The young girl who was looking for her next meal is transformed by the experience and transforms others. Hope still exists for all of humanity. The author of Hebrews brings to our attention the intercessory nature of Jesus. He is standing before God, rooting for each of us. It doesn’t matter if we are the young girl worried about her next meal, the lady with the handbag full of acorns, or the people who experience the transformation of the new life brought by the trees, Jesus “appears in the presence of God on our behalf. “ (9:24) Jesus has not given up on humanity, and hopes for our transformation before he comes again. The young girl and Jesus, both choose to act in a way that allows them to intercede on behalf of others.
Gospel Reading: Mark 12:38-44
Giving Thanks by Jonathon London
(Written for ages 3-7)
Comment: It seems the time between Halloween and Christmas is marked with increased discussions about giving. Everywhere you look there is a food drive, a toy drive, or a request for donations. These are all good things, but as the time moves on, people begin to give out of obligation or guilt. The Gospel reading for this week is likely a familiar text for many in your congregation. As Jesus watches the crowd giving money in the Synagogue, he notices that some people put in large sums without blinking an eye, but a widow gives everything she has. The first group gives out of obligation and guilt, but the widow gives out of faith, love, and devotion. Emile Townes writes “Those coins represent more than money. They represent faith and belief and how these must be live out in our lives in concrete acts.” (Feasting on the Word: Year B, Volume 4, p 286). Giving is to become a part of who we are. This is a lesson being learned by a young boy in Giving Thanks. Each day he watches his father take the time to give thanks for the world around him. The boy finds it awkward to say thanks to trees and the sun, but his father reminds him that it becomes a habit. This is the type of giving Jesus is calling us to. A giving that is a part of who we are. A giving that is engrained in our every move and breath. This is the type of giving the widow showed. In giving everything she had, she found life.
We welcome back Union Presbyterian Seminary alumna Elizabeth Boulware Landes as our Lectionary Links writer for the next four weeks.