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Epiphany 6 | Ordinary Time 6, Cycle B

“Lord God, mercifully receive the prayers of your people. Help us to see and understand the things we ought to do, and give us grace and power to do them; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
It is in the portions of The Prayer of the Day for this Sunday that are italicized above that we see the unifying factor in the four texts selected for this day. Naaman, the commander of the army of the king of Syria, needed help from the Lord God through Naaman’s own servants before he could understand the things that he should do in the cleansing of his body from leprosy in the 2 Kings 5:1-14 Elisha story.

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    Chris Keating
    Costly Poverty: Pay the Fine or Do the Time
    Romans 13:8-14; Ezekiel 33:7-11

    It’s never been easy to be poor -- but today it could cost even more.
         A Georgia man received a year in prison because he could not pay the fine for stealing a $2 can of beer. In Alabama, red-light camera violators who cannot pay fines are turned over to private probation companies. In Ferguson, Missouri, the city court routinely begins hearing cases 30 minutes ahead of schedule -- resulting in warrants or additional fines for those who were not present when their case was called.
         It seems that jail time typically isn’t imposed for the crime but rather for the inability to pay the fine.
         This sort of offender-funded law enforcement seems quite different from Paul’s admonition in Romans 13, where the apostle reminds the Romans that “the one who loves another has fulfilled the law” and “love does no wrong to a neighbor.” As a New York Times op-ed noted last week, “This new system... creates a vicious circle: the poorer the defendants are, the longer it will take them to pay off the fines, fees, and charges; the more debt they accumulate, the longer they will remain on probation or in jail; and the more likely they are to be unemployable and to become recidivists.”
         Justice is not blind here -- instead it is justice that has its eyes set on the bottom line....more
    Bloody Lintels -- Broken Bread
    Two Russian surgeons and an anesthetist took turns lying on an operating table beside a critically--ill patient, according to the then government newspaper, Izvestia, and saved the patient's life with direct transfusions of their own blood. Fresh blood was needed because the patient's own blood had ceased to coagulate. In such a case, conserved blood, would not be effective. The three women practitioners each gave what they could - a half pint of blood.
         A television show depicts a traveler lost in the Sahara Desert and dying of thirst; he removes his dagger from its sheath, cuts the skin on the shoulder of his camel, sucks the blood, and his thirst is quenched and he is saved!...more
    Ron Love
    The Meaning of Community
    The Moravian Community of Herrnhut in Saxony was well established by the year 1727. Unfortunately, dissension and bickering began to plague the commune. The leader of Herrnhut, Count Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf, realized only a revival would restore order among his followers. On May 12 the revival was held and a great spirit came upon the people. By the end of the summer the communicants wanted this magnificent blessing to continue, so on August 27 a prayer vigil began. On that August morning 24 men and 24 women decided to spend one hour in prayer, with the time being scheduled so someone was praying every hour of the day. Soon others joined what became known as the "hourly intercession." Amazingly this discipline lasted for 100 years. Those who participated based their calling on this Old Testament text: "The sacred fire was never permitted to go out on the altar" (Leviticus 6:13)....more
    John Fitzgerald
    The Power of Passover
    Exodus 12:1-14

    A beloved tradition for a marriage ceremony is for the bride to wear "Something old, Something new, Something borrowed, Something blue." The custom originates from an Old English rhyme ("Something Olde, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, A Sixpence in your Shoe"). Something old represents continuity, something new offers optimism for the future, something borrowed symbolizes our gratitude for others, something blue stands for purity and love, and a sixpence in the shoe demonstrates good fortune and prosperity.
         Jesus taught a similar blending of old and new in his short parable found in Matthew 13:52: "Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old."...more
    Janice Scott
    Why doesn't it work?
    They were huddled together leaning against straw stacks in a corner of the old barn, where they wouldn't be disturbed. They each had their eyes tightly shut, and were keeping their hands held firmly together.
          "Please, God," prayed Ruth, "give us a dog of our very own."
          Her sister and brother nodded in fervent agreement. "Yes, God, please," added Tim, for good measure. ...more
    Cynthia Cowen
    One in Jesus as a Church Family!
    The Point: As a member of Jesus' family of faith we need to work to keep our unity.

    The Lesson: Good morning, girls and boys. Thank you for coming up and sharing with me this morning.
         This is a copy of our church directory. (show directory) Here are pictures of our members and their families. (ask the children if they recognize anyone) I bet your picture is in here as well. (turn to the different children's family photos) The directory helps us to get to know one another. It also reminds us that we are a part of a very special family... the family of (use your church name)....more

Author of
Lectionary Scripture Notes
Mark Ellingsen is professor at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia
Dr. Mark Ellingsen

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