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Jan 30

6th Sunday After Epiphany (Year B)

2 Kings 5:1-14 (15-17)

  • This is probably not the most familiar of scripture lessons, but it is a wonderful narrative.
  • An unnamed girl – who had been kidnapped to live as a slave in a foreign land – is the one who suggests that Naaman could be cured if he met with “the prophet who is in Samaria”.  I always find it interesting how many stories in our scriptures involve nameless women as the behind-the-scenes heroes that make it all possible.  Without the testimony of this girl, Naaman would have continued to suffer, and Elisha’s testimony-through-action wouldn’t have happened.
  • Maybe it is just me, but I think it is interesting how the unnamed girl speaks to her mistress, but it is Naaman who reports what she said to the king of Aram.  Did he hear it from his wife?  Did he hear the girl’s words for himself?
  • How often do we consult an “expert”, only to disagree with their suggestions or methods?  On the one hand, we admit that they know more about something than we do; but on the other hand, we are reluctant to entertain ideas or activities that we didn’t plan/expect/suggest ourselves.
  • Naaman’s arrogance isn’t pretty.  I would venture to guess that his attitude is far uglier than his leprosy.  One may wonder if he acquired any real humility when he dunked himself in the Jordan and was made clean…
  • God doesn’t ask us to do ridiculously complicated things in order that we may be made whole.  God’s commands are usually simple, one-word commands: wash, serve, arise, welcome, thank, love.  And yet, how many of us demand some complicated, lengthy process – especially when we pretend to serve as mediators between someone else and God?
  • If you are focusing on this text, you may want to consider including a baptismal remembrance liturgy in your worship service.  Certainly, with the reference to washing, the baptismal font is best placed in the front of the worship space.  (Another suggestion would be to place a large wash basin and towel in the front.)

Psalm 30

  • I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: when the psalm mentions singing…sing the psalm!  If you are looking for musical settings for all 150 psalms, I suggest you get Psalms for All Seasons: A Complete Psalter for Worship.
  • Reconciliation is God’s primary method of “eliminating” foes.  Not destruction, punishment, or excommunication — reconciliation is the way that God seeks the most.  Would that we would follow God’s lead more often…
  • If your church is open to liturgical dance, this is a great psalm to interpret that way.  Perhaps there are dancers in your congregation who could bring this psalm to life in a new way.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

  • Serve with passion and purpose, striving to do your very best in all things.
  • We aren’t out to compete against each other (despite how I have heard these words twisted over the years to suggest just that).  If anyone wins the prize, it is Christ – not us.

Mark 1:40-45

  • The gospel is scandalous – let’s face it.  Jesus is constantly doing things that would make most people cringe – and we’re called to go and do likewise.  Personally, I think that is pretty spectacular.
  • You may need/want to offer some background on leprosy and what that was and how it was viewed in Jesus’ day.
  • Jesus reaches out and touches the leper – something that most good Jewish boys would have never done.  And yet, Jesus doesn’t even hesitate.  Jesus touches the leper, and he (the leper) is immediately made clean.  Meanwhile, by touching a leper, Jesus has (in the eyes of the law) immediately been made unclean.  Jesus gives up his own purity for the sake of a stranger.  Wow.

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