Elijah and Elisha

Last Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B, Old Testament

Scripture: 2 Kings 2:1-12

This is a story of the passing of leadership – from the great prophet Elijah to his disciple, Elisha. It has all the drama a prophet of God story needs, plus a heart-warming friendship. These men of God have become friends as well as teacher and disciple. Elijah is to be carried up to God and Elisha is to continue the work. Elisha asks for a double portion of the Spirit – something felt he needed to continue the ministry. The story, both the fiery drama of a chosen one, and the tender friendship of two faithful servants of God, can inspire our own relationships and ministry.

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LPTW Last Epiphany, Year B, Younger Children, Old Testament
LPTW Last Epiphany, Year B, Older Children, Old Testament

The Lord is Everlasting

Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B, Old Testament

Scripture: Isaiah 40:21-31

The reading for today offers a poetic reminder of the glory of God, and of God’s constant presence and mercy. Even when life is challenging, God is already present with us, more powerful than we can imagine, and gathering us ever closer. We have as much need of this reminder as the people who first heard Isaiah’s words. It rights our perspective and cheers us on.

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LPTW Epiphany 5, Year B, Younger Children, Old Testament
LPTW Epiphany 5, Year B, Older Children, Old Testament

The Prophet of God

Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B, Old Testament

Scripture: Deuteronomy 18:15-20

 

The relationship between God and the prophets of God is very close. The prophet is the key to the people getting back into right relationship with God. Prophets bring messages of doom and of redemption. They tell of the need to repent and the bring the hope of God’s love.

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LPTW Epiphany 4, Year B, Younger Children, Old Testament
LPTW Epiphany 4, Year B, Older Children, Old Testament

Jonah Brings the Word of God

Third Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B, Old Testament

Scripture: Jonah 3:1-5

Whether you tell the entire story of Jonah (whale and all) or just the verses assigned for today, the message of repentance and forgiveness are clear. God has sent his prophet, Jonah, to preach a message of warning to the people of Ninevah. Surprisingly, they listen to his message and repent. God changes his mind and chooses to spare the people from destruction. If only we were as quick to repent!

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LPTW Epiphany 3, Year B, Younger Children, Old Testament
LPTW Epiphany 3, Year B, Older Children, Old Testament

The Call of Samuel

Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B, Old Testament

Scripture: 1 Samuel 3:1-10

The story of the call of Samuel is both amusing and instructive. It reminds us to open our ears and be ready to hear God’s call. And it also reminds us that sometimes we mistake the voices we hear. Samuel went on to be a great leader. It is fun to see him as a little boy, still in need of guidance. We can learn much from him and his relationship with Eli. We can be challenged to listen more, to those around us who guide and teach us, and to listen for God to speak to us.

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LPTW Epiphany 2, Year B, Younger Children, Old Testament
LPTW Epiphany 2, Year B, Older Children, Old Testament

Light and Dark

First Sunday After the Epiphany, Year B, Old Testament

Scripture: Genesis 1:1-5

The story of the first day of creation is powerful and creative. We consider what the world was like before God called forth the light. We explore the difference that light makes in our world. We give thanks to God for the gift of light.

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LPTW Epiphany 1, Year B, Younger Children, Old Testament
LPTW Epiphany 1, Year B, Older Children, Old Testament

Coming Home

Second Sunday after Christmas, Year B, Old Testament

Scripture: Jeremiah 31:7-14

This week, the passage from Jeremiah has a similar theme to last week’s Isaiah reading: that of the people returning home after their exile. This theme of exile and returning is prevalent in scripture – especially in the books of the Old Testament. Exile and returning is a theme to which many people can relate. Whether it is a memory of a physical exile (returning home after evacuation for a storm) or metaphorical exile (where we return to the person we know ourselves to be; as the lyrics of Amazing Grace remind us, “I once was lost but now am found”) exile is an experience that many have in their walk with God. In this passage from the prophet Jeremiah we hear promises from God of the way things are promised to be now that the people are coming home. Sorrows turning to joy, emptiness turning to bounty, weeping met with consolation – God promises to redeem the experience of God’s people. This passage relates to our celebration of Christmas because we are receiving the promised savior, just as the people Israel have received their promised homecoming. This passage allows us to be honest with ourselves about who and what we are at Christmas – rather than the Rockwell-esk perfection, we can have our messy whole lives and trust that God is redeeming all of it in the person of Christ. The people of Israel were not perfect, yet they were restored to their homeland. Modern children are pushed harder than ever towards performance and perfection – this redemptive text breaks into that push towards glory and tells them they are already received and redeemed by God – just as they are.

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LPTW Christmas 2, Year B, Younger Children, Old Testament
LPTW Christmas 2, Year B, Older Children, Old Testament

Praise Will Spring Up Like Flowers

First Sunday after Christmas, Year B, Old Testament

Scripture: Isaiah 61:10 – 62:3

Much of Isaiah focuses on a people who have been banished from their homeland and lived in exile for decades. We hear in earlier sections of the book of the prophet Isaiah as the people long for the sweet deliverance of God allowing them to return home. In the section of Isaiah we read today, we hear part of a song of praise sung to God in thanksgiving for their long-awaited homecoming. The first half of the passage (verses 61:10-11) is delivered from the perspective of the community singing to God while the second half (verses 62:1-3) is turned around as God sings to the people. In the first half, the people use imagery of both a wedding and a garden being prepared for fruit to spring forth. In the second half of the passage, God is promising the people that although they have returned to a land that is damaged after their time in exile, God’s will is that the land will be redeemed along with the people. God is promising to restore Judah to its former glory.

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LPTW Christmas 1, Year B, Younger Children, Old Testament
LPTW Christmas 1, Year B, Older Children, Old Testament

God Fulfills God’s Promises

Fourth Sunday in Advent, Year B, Old Testament

Scripture: 2 Samuel 7:1-11; 16

Today’s Scripture comes once from the Old Testament book of 2 Samuel. In today’s story, God makes a covenant with David, promising that David’s offspring would continue to lead and rule Israel long after his death. The line of David would last for many, many years. We see this covenant fulfilled in the birth and life of Jesus, who comes from the house and the line of King David. This story reminds us that when God makes a covenant with us, God lives up to it. God always fulfills God’s promises.

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LPTW Advent 4, Year B, Younger Children, Old Testament
LPTW Advent 4, Year B, Older Children, Old Testament

The Good News of Deliverance

Third Sunday in Advent, Year B, Old Testament

Scripture: Isaiah 61:1-4; 8-11

Our scripture comes once again from the book of Isaiah. Today’s passage calls for preaching the good news of deliverance; the prophet states in verse one that they have been sent by God to bring good news to the oppressed and to proclaim the year of God’s favor. In Israel, this year was called the jubilee year. Every fifty years, debts were cancelled and slaves were set free. The prophet preaches this message of peace and justice so that those who feel captive can be set free. During Advent, we prepare for the coming of Jesus, who brings us deliverance through his crucifixion and resurrection.

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LPTW Advent 3, Year B, Younger Children, Old Testament
LPTW Advent 3, Year B, Older Children, Old Testament