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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
    Leah Lonsbury
    Chris Keating
    Are We Scared Yet? /
    Stuck in the Fear-Filled Wilderness

    A pair of topics have dominated the news headlines this past week. One is the catapulting of the issue of domestic violence back into the national consciousness, spurred by the release of an explosive video showing star NFL running back Ray Rice knocking out his then-fiancée (now-wife). The resulting firestorm led to the termination of Rice’s contract as well as serious questions about NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s handling of the entire matter. The week was capped with news of the indictment of another NFL superstar, Adrian Peterson, on charges of violence against a child. Meanwhile on the foreign front, President Obama announced a systematic campaign of airstrikes against Islamic State (ISIS) fighters in Syria, to be augmented by the introduction of additional U.S. forces. Despite the American public having indicated previously that it’s weary of war, new polls showed robust support for airstrikes -- due both to renewed fear of terrorism as well as revulsion over video clips of two American journalists’ beheadings.
         In light of the importance of each of these topics, as well as their connections with this Sunday’s lectionary texts, we’re going to reprise our format from a few weeks back and offer in the next installment of The Immediate Word two main articles -- one addressing each topic....more
    Service And Reward
    Social status may be determined by many factors. Some of these may be given by birth, genetics, or for reasons other than the achievement of the person. These include such things as color of skin and eyes, kind of hair, height, body build, gender, national origin, family's social position, inherited wealth, and age.
         Other factors may be determined by achievements through a person's efforts. These include such factors as level of education, employment, development of skills, hard work, wise investment, or initiatives taken.
         People who have sought to improve their social and economic status by what they have achieved may resent the higher status of others who were given their status by the accident of birth or nationality or family connections. It would appear to them that life has not been fair.
         The parable of the laborers who worked longer than others in the vineyard seems to suggest an unfairness in the rewards in the kingdom of heaven. The actions of Jesus do suggest that he was not ready to judge persons by normal standards of determining social status. The parable proposes a different basis for receiving salvation than the way in which persons are generally rewarded by society....more
    Cathy Venkatesh
    Getting What We (Don't) Deserve
    God is not just by our human ways of accounting. Undeserving people receive blessings, often ahead of deserving ones. If we consider ourselves deserving, this is bad news. But if we recognize our own failings and the amazing graciousness of God, this is wonderful news indeed. In God's economy there is enough for everyone, and those who need grace the most are most likely to receive it first....more
    Peter Andrew Smith
    The Nature of Grace
    Exodus 16:2-15

    "That's not fair!" Roxanne protested. She pointed at the ice cream cone that her sister was holding. "You didn't do enough work to get an ice cream."
         "Did so," June said.
         "Did not." Roxanne pointed toward the garden. "I picked weeds with Grandpa in the hot sun. You didn't."
         "I helped Grandma with the laundry." June raised her voice. "I worked hard too."
         Roxanne shook her head. "You only did easy work because you're a little kid. I did hard work like an adult."...more
    Janice Scott
    Living Like Animals
    Timmy and Angela glared at each other. When Angela's Dad's and Timmy's Mum had moved in with each other taking the children with them, they had thought they were starting a new, happy family. Angela and Timmy were more or less the same age, so it had seemed like a perfect arrangement. But it hadn't worked out quite like that, for Angela and Timmy had hated each other on sight....more
    Cynthia Cowen
    How Sweet Is Grace
    The Point: God's gift of grace makes heaven available to all.

    The Lesson: As the children come forward give a third of the children a sucker. Ask them not to take the wrapper off.

    Good morning, children. I am glad that you chose to come forward to share this special moment with me....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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