Lection Connection - Spirit Sightings

January 19, 2020: Called

From Ray McGinnis

In the film Little Women, based on the novel by Louisa May Alcott (1832–1888), Jo Marsh lives with her three sisters and her mother in a town in Massachusetts. Their father lost the family fortune and has had to work as a pastor to Union soldiers fighting in the American Civil War. The mother and daughters endure their first Christmas without him.

Jo has work with her great-aunt March, a widow who lives in a mansion in the village of Plumfield.  Another sister, Meg, who is pretty and very traditional, teaches a family with young children. Beth, a very shy girl, plays the piano and does domestic chores with her mother. Amy is a painter who studies at school and aspires to marry rich.

Jo is hasty and abrupt. She finds it difficult to handle her temper, a characteristic her mother has struggled with her whole life. Jo visits a publisher who accepts her stories, giving her a modest income.

Jo confides in her mother that she loves Laurie Lawrence, an aristocratic grandson of a neighbour. But she says she loves him like a brother and that they could never find happiness in romance. She thinks she is too much of a tomboy to ever settle down.

Jo travels to New York City and works for six months as a governess for two children. She takes German lessons with a Professor Bhaer who is visiting his sister, after coming from Berlin. When Jo returns to the March household, Laurie offers a proposal in marriage. Jo declines his offer, explaining that they would argue too much and be the ruin of each other. Heartbroken, Laurie sails to Europe with his grandfather.

Type: Drama
Director: Greta Gerwig
Film company: Sony Pictures
Release date: December 25, 2019
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Timothée Chalamet, Laura Dern


At home, Beth takes ill with scarlet fever. Jo takes care of her until she dies. Amy is in Europe with great-aunt March. Coping with the news of Beth’s death, Amy also declines an offer of marriage from a wealthy suitor. She encounters heartsick Laurie, still recovering from Jo’s rejection of his proposal. A romance blooms between Amy and Laurie and they get married while still in Europe.
Back in Massachusetts, Jo speaks with her mother and confides that she is desperately lonely. She objects to the status of women as only decorations for their husbands. She wants to be a woman who does more than domestic chores and satisfy a husband. Her mother asks if Laurie were to propose to her again, would she accept? Jo says that now she would. She writes a letter to Laurie and hand delivers it to his mailbox in a tree. However, when Laurie and Amy return as newlyweds, Jo congratulates them and goes off to retrieve the letter. She heads to a bridge, rips it up and drops it in the pond below.
Professor Bhaer visits the March household, making it obvious to everyone but Jo that he is interested in her. The sisters lobby Jo to go to a train station where Bhaer is about the depart. When he sees her, they embrace. He proposes and they are wed. Jo publishes Little Women, becomes a very successful author, and turns her great-aunt’s mansion into a school for children.

Explore…Isaiah 49:1–7

  • What kind of person did the Lord make Isaiah from birth? Describe Isaiah’s call. What kind of a person is Jo March? What is her call?
  • How does she balance her desire not to be lonely with her unconventional aspirations for a public life as an adult woman?
  • Do you think God has called you to be something from birth? What skills and abilities do you have that make a contribution in the world?
  • What longing in you intersects with God’s call for you?

God of yearning, from creation we are born with emerging personalities, aptitudes, spiritual gifts, and skills. Help us to discern how what we do can be a blessing for others in our midst. In Christ we pray. Amen.

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