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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 Special
     
    SermonSuite
    Chris Keating
    Gathering the Fragments
    John 6:1-21

    In real estate they say that all you really need to know is “location, location, location.”
         But in this week’s gospel lesson, the disciples discover that the three words they really need to know are “logistics, logistics, logistics.” On a hilltop, listening to Jesus, they’re surrounded by 5,000 growling stomachs. What to do? This is worse than the time the fellowship committee ran out of cole slaw at the church potluck. It’s just about Passover, there’s a hungry crowd, and there’s no Sam’s Club for miles around.
         “Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?” asks Jesus. He knew what he was going to do, and the disciples will once more experience God’s provision. The real question is not so much who will provide the bread but “What are we going to do with the leftovers?”
         Logistically speaking, we face similar concerns. Food waste is rising worldwide. In the United States alone, households throw away about $640 of food annually. It’s both a social and environmental issue, as rotting food constitutes the single biggest item in U.S. landfills.
         Experts note that about 25-40 percent of food that is grown, processed, and transported in the United States is never consumed. In other words, the baskets are full of fragments, even though one in seven Americans are food-insecure. We have a long way to go before nothing will be lost.
         As we recall Jesus’ proclamation that “I am the bread of the world,” the missional challenge to the church seems even more urgent. When Jesus tells the disciples to “gather up the fragments,” it appears that he’s not just talking about food but is also giving the disciples logistical instructions so that others may say, “This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.”...more
    Leftover Grace
    All four gospels employ eucharistic language in the depiction of the miraculous feeding. In John's account, Jesus gives thanks and distributes the food. As a whole, the Gospel of John neglects the sacraments. At the last supper, for instance, Jesus washes the disciples' feet instead of distributing bread and wine.
         If John intends this story to convey a theology of the eucharist two important emphases stand out. One emphasis is that this incident involves genuine hunger. By having this story do so much of the interpretive work for the eucharist, John ties the sacrament more closely to human need. Sharing the eucharist together propels the church out into the world of concrete suffering....more
    Cathy Venkatesh
    Taking and offering
    When do we have enough? When do we feel compelled to take something more, as David did in claiming of Bathsheba, and when are we free to offer what we have, as the unnamed boy did in John’s account of the feeding of the 5,000? Today’s readings provide rich food for reflection on the nature of true wealth and true poverty in our lives with God and with one another....more
    Frank Ramirez
    One Big Family
    Ephesians 3:14-21

    Forgery. Lies. Bribery. The creation of a shadow organization to channel money and paperwork. False papers. False titles. Chicanery. Did I mention lies?
          And the penalty? How about reward instead? Over six thousand people, scattered around the globe, speaking every imaginable tongue and holding citizenship papers in many countries, take their name from this extraordinary person, who on top of everything else only recently died at the age of 106....more
    Janice Scott
    A Web of Deceit
    We human beings so often spoil our lives by failing to speak the truth, or at least, failing to speak the whole truth, clearly and transparently. The reasons we fail to speak the truth often have to do with fear. We are afraid that someone will get hurt and so we try to shield them from what we imagine will be too painful for them to handle. Or we're afraid that we ourselves will be hurt because our reputation will be damaged and people will despise us or be shocked by our behaviour....more
    Cynthia Cowen
    Offerings in the Hands of Jesus
    Object: Dollar Bill
    The Point: When you offer your life to Jesus he can do wonderful things with it.
    The Lesson:  Thank you girls and boys for coming forward to share this time with me. This morning I brought with me a dollar bill. When I was a child, a dollar could take you to a movie and buy some popcorn and a soda. Today a single dollar doesn't have much power to get what you may want....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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