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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
     
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    Dean Feldmeyer
    Who Speaks for Those Who Can’t?
    Mark 7:24-37

    In this week’s gospel lection, Mark introduces us to two people who could not speak for themselves. The Syrophoenician lady is rendered mute by her gender and her ethnicity; she is a woman and a Gentile, both of which make her unapproachable by Jewish men. The man from Decapolis is physically disabled -- both deaf and mute -- and probably also a Gentile... unclean on both counts.
         Jesus gives them voice, and in doing so sets an example for the first-century Christian church of Rome. Giving voice to the voiceless is part of what it means to be a Christian.
         Recently we have heard much talk about so-called “anchor babies,” children born in the United States to parents who are not U.S. citizens. Are poor people really sneaking across the border to have their babies in the U.S. in order to complicate the deportation process? Or is the greater problem “maternity tourism” -- wealthy parents coming here to have babies and go shopping so that their children can be “birthright” U.S. citizens?
         Whatever the answer to that question, and it is a complex one to be sure, almost all of the talk has been about these babies. They are being treated like political footballs.
    But these are just babies -- children who are incapable of speaking or acting on their own behalf.  The question which Mark raises for the Christian church today is this: “Who will speak not just about them, but for them? Who will be their voice?”...more
    Lasting Impressions
    During his first visit to the United States, Albert Schweitzer found himself at Pennsylvania Station in New York City, waiting for a train that would take him, his wife, and some friends to Colorado. It was the first time he had seen an immense American railroad station, and there was much to do and look at while they waited. Then Schweitzer saw a broom and, in the middle of the big crowded place, quietly began to sweep up the rubbish on the ground. After a little while he realized that in the meantime the crowd had thrown down more trash. Without getting angry or criticizing others, Schweitzer continued sweeping until the time of his departure....more
    Frank Ramirez
    Don't judge people by their covers
    Shorthand might be an efficient way to take quick notes, but it’s a lousy way to typecast people. Yet the temptation is there. One glance, and we act as if we know someone’s complete history. These scriptures invite us to avoid stereotyping individuals based on their economic, ethnic, or cultural background, especially when it comes to the poor or the outcast. Proverbs invites us to see the poor as those favored by God. James wants us to see the outsider as the face of his brother Jesus. And as for the gospel passage, this seemingly very audacious text shows Jesus temporarily limiting someone’s access to God’s grace based on their ethnic background -- at least until someone calls him on it....more
    Keith Hewitt
    Room at the Table
    The hubbub was past, now, the dinner had been served, the dishes washed and put away in their appointed places, and the tables had been wiped down until their white plastic tops practically sparkled. One by one the parishioners and others had left, after congratulating Pastor Sumner on a glorious 75th anniversary celebration for the church. The banner still hung on the far wall of the fellowship hall, he noted critically -- he would have to come in early tomorrow and take it down...or, better, get a trustee to do it....more
    Janice Scott
    Wealth and justice
    There was a story in the press recently about a con-man who so duped lots of different people that he was able to live in luxurious wealth with all the trappings that such wealth brings. He was eventually found out and is now languishing in jail, but like so many other cheats and thieves and drug barons and the like, he enjoyed his ill-gotten gains for many years. It all seems a little unfair. Those of us who work hard for a living and never cheat anyone, not even the taxman, may struggle to make ends meet, while those who are crooks and liars enjoy opulence and status, sometimes for the whole of their lives. ...more
    Cynthia Cowen
    Jesus, Savior of the World
    Object: a blue ribbon
    The Point: Jesus did miracles to point to his greatest work -- our salvation.
    The Lesson: Thank you, boys and girls for coming up to share this time with me. Have you ever received a blue ribbon for something you made? I received a blue ribbon (show ribbon) once for a photograph I took of a duck flying off a river in Alaska....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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