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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
    A Feast Fit for a King?
    Matthew 25:31-46; Deuteronomy 8:7-18; 2 Corinthians 9:6-15

    There will be no want for food, family, or football this Thanksgiving. And don’t forget about those crowded pre-Black Friday shopping excursions. It’s feasting time in America.
         Before too long our Thanksgiving tables will be set and the feast will be served. But Norman Rockwell’s iconic “Freedom from Want” Thanksgiving scene might need a bit of tweaking to bring it up to today’s standards. A modern version of the image created in 1943 for the Saturday Evening Post might include someone tweeting from a smartphone, another watching the NFL on a 50" flat screen, and perhaps a third eyeing a Walmart sales ad. Grandma would be carrying the turkey from a deep fryer, while Grandpa prepares to upload a photo to Facebook.
         On this weekend before Thanksgiving, many congregations will hear the Thanksgiving Day texts, recalling that the “one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” (2 Corinthians 9:6) and that “you shall eat your fill and bless the Lord your God for the good land” (Deuteronomy 8:10). But it is also the festival of Christ the King, the culmination of the liturgical year -- a day to celebrate Christ’s reign over all creation, nations, and peoples.
         On this day, Christ directs our eyes not just to tables groaning with food, but to the hungry whose stomachs are groaning for food, the thirsty longing for clean water, the strangers yearning to be welcomed, and the naked shivering in the cold. In other words, Christ’s festival must surely include those whose wants are most basic and critical to survival.
         Christ calls us to the table and beckons us to look at each other, and not just at the goodies we’ve accumulated. If this is a feast fit for a king, we might do well to ponder just what sort of kingdom Christ envisions....more
    What Can We Believe about the Reign of Christ?
    The church calendar says that this is the day on which we celebrate the festival of Christ the King. That makes this a very important day. The idea of the kingdom of God, or the kingdom of Christ, is one of the most important biblical and theological explanations of the meaning of the Christian faith. It probably represents the very heart of Jesus' own teachings. Mark tells us that right after Jesus returned from being tempted in the wilderness, "Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, 'The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe the good news'" (Mark 1:14-15). Later, the writer of the letter to the Ephesians gave a more universalistic interpretation to that concept. He says that "with all wisdom and insight he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth" (Ephesians 1:8-10). Later, he wrote that God has put his great power to work in Christ "when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but in the age to come....more
    Sandra Herrmann
    Our responsibility to the world
    The passages for the feast of Christ the King sum up the responsibilities of the people of God to ourselves, our nation, and our world. They begin in the book of Ezekiel where God accuses the leadership of Israel, who have been dragged from their homeland into the exile in Babylon, of deserving what they have gotten through their own fault. They were the people whose responsibility it was to keep the nation on the path that God had laid out for them, but they had failed miserably. They had fed off the people they were supposed to lead and protect, caring only for themselves at the expense of the ordinary people....more
    Peter Andrew Smith
    Seeking the Lost
    Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24

    Jane walked as fast as she could down the sidewalk. She glanced at her watch. She was going to be late for the morning meeting at the church. She looked up to see a dirty, unkempt, and scruffy woman standing in her way. Jane wrinkled her nose.
         "Do you mind?"
         "I haven't eaten today," the woman said.
         "And?"
         "I was wondering if you could spare some change so I can get something to eat."
         "No." Jane looked at her watch again. "I'm late as it is."
         "Sorry to bother you, ma'am." The woman stepped to one side. "God bless you."...more
    Janice Scott
    The New Boy
    Jesus said that there will be surprises in the kingdom of heaven. Those who act from compassion deep within them will find themselves living and loving with God, while those who only go through the motions, won't. But sometimes we think we're acting from deep inner convictions when in fact we're acting from prejudice.
          In this story, Angela, Jack and Raymond unknowingly all act from prejudice. Only Susie acts from deep inner conviction....more
    Cynthia Cowen
    Loving Service Honors Our King
    The Point: We serve our king Jesus by serving others.

    The Lesson: Good morning, children. Thank you for coming up to share this moment with me.
          This is a very special Sunday isn't it? Does anyone know what Sunday this is? (get responses) This is the last Sunday of the church year....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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