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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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  • SermonSuite
    Dean Feldmeyer
    All Along the Watchtower
    Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4
    “All along the watchtower... I can’t get no relief.”
         Nobel laureate Bob Dylan wrote those words in 1967 at the height of the Vietnam war and the civil rights movement, and Jimi Hendrix immortalized them the following year with a version of Dylan’s song on his Electric Ladyland album, released in the chaotic year of 1968 that saw among other events the Tet offensive that opened America’s eyes to the brutality in Vietnam.
         Habakkuk would have understood perfectly the pain and confusion in Dylan’s obscure and murky lyrics.
         The prophet has stood at his watch post on the rampart that was supposed to guard and protect the city, and has cried aloud to God for help: “Violence!” But God has remained silent.
         Destruction, violence, strife, and contention are all around. Lord, do you not see? God, do you not hear? What are you waiting for? Is the city not worth saving?
         How does YHWH answer Habakkuk, and how does God answer us when we cry out the same questions about our country?...more
    All Saints Day
    Do you ever feel like giving up on your Christian faith? It is never easy to lead a Christian life -- never let anyone tell you differently. But perhaps in our time, it seems even more difficult than ever. We are surrounded by a society in which all truth seems to have been lost, and everything is relative, depending on individual opinion. Selfishness and commercialism rule the day. Right and wrong are no longer remarked. Power and pleasure have become the goals. And God can be anything someone imagines. Indeed, even some of our churches seem to have lost their bearing, with no agreement on their theology and ethics and their worship infected with pagan rituals.
         To withstand all of that, to cling to the worship of the one true God, to shape our lives according to his commandments, and to defy the scorn of a secular society is no easy task. After all, even the media has characterized evangelical Christians as ignorant, misguided, and easily led. Faithful Christians are a minority in our world, and like all minorities, sometimes they have to suffer for what they are....more
    David Coffin
    Faith in the meantime
    Paul Tillich suggests that human anxiety results when the imagined world we desire and the real world which is fallen (or estranged) collide before our very eyes. When the society or structures of power which we rely on reject us and diminish our human dignity, such objects of trust become an intolerable burden upon us. We then experience loneliness and despair, and we question the power if not existence of God (Tillich, pp. 64-66)....more
    Keith Wagner
    Growing Pains
    Luke 19:1-10
    When I was a teenager I remember be awakened in the middle of the night with a Charlie Horse. The muscles in your leg suddenly tie up in a knot and the pain is unbearable. I would grab headboard on my bed until it passed. I was always told that Charlie Horses were growing pains. Most all of my male friends experienced the same phenomenon, but it wasn’t fun. It was however part of the transition into “manhood.”...more
    Janice Scott
    Harsh Words
    I watched my very first horror film at the age of sixteen. I went to the pictures on a date and watched Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho". I was so utterly terrified, that the image of the woman being knifed in the shower stayed with me for years, and I wasn't particularly keen ever to see another horror film. But since then, of course, I've seen no end of films containing varying degrees of horror and I suppose I've become immune to some extent, for when I watched "Psycho" again more recently, it seemed incredibly tame....more
    Mary Kay Eichelman
    The Climb
    Object: a picture of a tree house
    How many of you have ever climbed a tree? If you had a tree house (show picture) would you try to climb a tree? It would make all the hard climbing worth it! Getting a scratched leg or a bloody arm wouldn't be a big deal because you would enjoy exploring that tree house so much!...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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