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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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    Mary Austin
    Snakes and Scorpions
    Luke 11:1-13

    Even a shameless friend will eventually get up and do what’s needed, Jesus says, and God is even more compassionate. Even a bumbling parent will try to do the right thing by a child, and God is even more attentive. “Is there anyone among you,” Jesus asks, “who if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish?” He makes it sound like an impossibility. We may be doing fine meeting the needs of our own children and the children near us, but on a communal level we do seem to be handing out snakes and scorpions to the next generation.
         Race relations are at a low point, and our children go to increasingly segregated schools. The promise of safe places in the world is slipping away, even for the fortunate people who once had the privilege of feeling safe in public. The possibility of a full-time job and the hope of having a home of one’s own both feel far out of reach for younger people with years’ worth of student loan debt.
         As Jesus talks about prayer, and the certainty that our prayers fall into the ears of an attentive God, he uses the example of the safety net we create for each other. God is still doing God’s part to listen attentively, but Jesus’ examples force us to wonder if we are failing each other....more
    Persistent Praying
    A special interest of Luke in both the Gospel and the Book of Acts is prayer. He frequently notes the prayer life of Jesus. Before every major crisis in his ministry Jesus spent time in prayer.
         The parables for today with their surrounding materials give an occasion for the preacher to deal with the whole subject of proper praying. It is an opportunity to deal with common misconceptions of prayer. It is also an opportunity to consider the whole discipline involved in praying.
         While Jesus gave a model prayer, just repeating it is not necessarily good praying. It is a guide and can help in knowing the form of prayer. The preacher may want to include consideration of the form of prayer, both in public acts of worship and private prayer....more
    Wayne Brouwer
    Personal testimony
    Victor Hugo called his masterpiece Les Miserables a religious work. So it is. The story echoes the gospel message at nearly every turn.
         The main character, Jean Valjean, has been beaten hard by the cruel twists of fate. He has seen the sham of hypocrisy on all sides. So he casts the name of the Lord to the ground like a curse. What does God know of him, and what does it matter?
         Imprisoned for stealing bread to feed his family and resentenced by the vindictive will of his jailer, Jean Valjean finally manages to escape. On his first night of freedom, he stays with a bishop who treats him well. But behind Jean Valjean’s thankful mask is the cunning face of a thief, for the bishop has many valuables....more
    Keith Wagner
    Call for Unity
    Hosea 1:2-10

    In the midst of this presidential election year we have been hearing the need to unify by both major political parties. Whenever you have a group of people you have many different personalities. Inevitably there will be someone you don’t like or one who is quite different than yourself. This leads to discord and problems. The profit Hosea begins with a call to unity. God intervened which forced the Israelites to accept someone who had a cultural background which was different from their tradition. In other words, they were not inclusive and as a result the love of God was not very visible....more
    Janice Scott
    Bargaining with God?
    When Moira's husband was killed in a car crash at the age of 35, Moira was understandably devastated. For days she was in shock and hardly knew what she was doing. And since she'd kissed Mike goodbye as usual that morning, she couldn't believe that he was really dead, even though the police arrived at her place of work and told her. But Moira just couldn't take it in....more
    Mary Eichelman
    Microwave Prayers
    Object: A microwave oven or a picture of one

    Are you hungry? Let me quickly make you some pizza or maybe popcorn. We are able to make things instantly! Often times when we're really hungry we think the faster we can get the food the better it is....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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