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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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    Leah Lonsbury
    For All the Saints
    Matthew 5:1-12; Matthew 23:1-12

    Many of us will be celebrating All Saints Day this Sunday, pausing to honor the lives of the members of our congregations who have died in the past year. But what is it exactly about a person that makes them a saint? William W. How gives us some ideas in his famous hymn “For All the Saints.” Saints, according to How, are those who profess their faith before the world; bless the name of Jesus; find shelter in God; look to the Lord in their faithful, bold, and “well-fought fight”; win the victor’s crown; and shine in glory.
         Those sound like some pretty tough standards to live up to, right?
         What if our saint standards weren’t based on the Platonic ideal of perfection but looked more to our scriptures for guidance? What does Jesus say about what makes one great? Who will be exalted in the kin-dom Jesus is creating? Who will be qualified to be called blessed and known as saints? Who will be rewarded with God’s mercy and called children of God?
         It’s not who we might think.
         Join us this week as we uncover some hidden and perhaps surprising saints whose work often goes unseen, unappreciated, and unrewarded. Just as Jesus warned his followers it would, this saintly work brings with it persecution and great personal risk. This All Saints Day we should all be paying attention, because despite our flaws and imperfections, God through grace is busy making us this kind of saint as well.
         Be ready. Next stop... sainthood.

    ...more
    The Lamb
    Have you ever heard of a man named Polycarp? Don't feel badly if you haven't. Polycarp's not exactly a household name, at least in most houses.
         Yes, it's an odd name, to our ears anyway. The name conjures up for most people today a product that's manufactured from something made of plastic that tastes like freshwater fish. In the history of the church, the name lived through one century after another, and the person who bore it gave good reason for people to keep on mentioning the name....more
    Ron Love
    White grave markers -- white robes
    The Arlington House was a mansion built as a living memorial to George Washington by the first president's adopted grandson. The estate was built on a 1,100-acre tract of land across the Potomac River from Washington DC. Decades later a distant cousin, Robert E. Lee, became the resident of the home. Between 1841 and 1857, Lee was away from Arlington House for several extended periods while serving in the Mexican War and then as superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, his alma mater. In 1857 Lee returned to Arlington to join his family and to serve as executor of the estate. Robert E. Lee and his wife, Mary Anna, lived at Arlington House until 1861, when Virginia ratified an alliance with the Confederacy and seceded from the Union. Lee, who had been named a major general for the Virginia military forces in April 1861, feared for his wife's safety and anticipated the loss of their family inheritance, so he moved to a new residence. Following the ratification of secession by Virginia, federal troops crossed the Potomac and took up positions around Arlington. Following the occupation, military installations were erected. In punishment for his allegiance to the South, the land was then made into a cemetery so Robert E. Lee would never be able to claim the Arlington House as a residency again. The Arlington National Cemetery was established on June 15, 1864....more
    John Fitzgerald
    Wearing Masks
    Revelation 7:9-17

    A lady went to the local post office on trick-or-treat day and by chance saw a little girl from her neighborhood. The girl happened to be wearing a ghost costume for Halloween. The lady pretended to be frightened upon this encounter and let forth with, "Oh my, I see a ghost." Upon hearing this, the little girl took off her mask and exclaimed, "Don't be afraid there is just a little girl under this mask."...more
    Janice Scott
    Priorities, energy and work
    When my father was dying. he started to give away all his possessions. None of us, including him, knew at the time that he was dying. In fact although we knew he was ill, we didn't realise quite how ill he was. He was always a tidy and methodical person, but around that time he began to sort out all his business and to give things away with a wild abandon which I found quite refreshing to witness....more
    Cynthia Cowen
    True Happiness
    The Point: Happy and blessed are the children of God.

    The Lesson: Welcome, girls and boys. I am happy that you came up to share this time together.
         I brought some pictures of people. You don't know them. But they all have something in common....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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