A MEDITATION As a child taking catechism, leprosy strangely fascinated me. Part of this was a child’s inborn interest in the macabre. Such a disfiguring disease that was spread by even a touch and by the forces of evil. I think I was most interested in the social impact of the disease: the fear surrounding it, the quarantine of its victims, and society’s treatment of its sufferers. What made entire populations of humanity be so cruel to someone afflicted by a disease that wasn’t their fault? The disease and the reaction to it was primitive. More largely, what did it mean to “cast out” and be “cast out”? The only relief was Jesus’ healing power that vanquished every evil.
Leprosy was the core of these two stories in today’s scripture passages. The brilliant military commander Naaman, a story in 2 Kings, whose bull-headedness compelled him to dismiss the prescription for his healing as too easy to be taken seriously. Then, there is the chronical in Luke’s gospel about the ten lepers who were made clean, but only one who came back to thank Jesus. The former leper was granted not only a healing from his affliction, but also salvation’s gift.
These tales bring leprosy out of the shadows into the light of blessing, holy scripture, and cleansing. Part of the message is that we need to get over ourselves to get out of God’s way in accepting miracles of self-healing. Also, we see those who once, having been cast outside the bounds of society, were brought back into the community through merciful participation and affection. These are wonders that only God can provide. And God most certainly does.
Celebrant ☩ Blessed be God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
People And blessed be his kingdom, now and forever.
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Celebrant Jesus said, “The first commandment is this: Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is the only Lord. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”
THE COLLECT OF THE DAY
Celebrant The Lord be with you.
People And also with you.
Celebrant Lord, we pray that your grace may always precede and follow us, that we may continually be given to good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
THE LITURGY OF THE WORD
2 Kings 5:1-3, 7-15c
Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man and in high favor with his master, because by him the Lord had given victory to Aram. The man, though a mighty warrior, suffered from leprosy. Now the Arameans on one of their raids had taken a young girl captive from the land of Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “If only my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”
When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to give death or life, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Just look and see how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me.”
But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent a message to the king, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come to me, that he may learn that there is a prophet in Israel.” So Naaman came with his horses and chariots, and halted at the entrance of Elisha’s house.
Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go, wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored and you shall be clean.” But Naaman became angry and went away, saying, “I thought that for me he would surely come out, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and would wave his hand over the spot, and cure the leprosy! Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them, and be clean?” He turned and went away in a rage.
But his servants approached and said to him, “Father, if the prophet had commanded you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? How much more, when all he said to you was, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” So, he went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; his flesh was restored like the flesh of a young boy, and he was clean.
Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company; he came and stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel.”
Reader The Word of the Lord.
People Thanks be to God.
The Psalm will be recited together
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, *
in the assembly of the upright, in the congregation.
2 Great are the deeds of the Lord! *
they are studied by all who delight in them.
3 His work is full of majesty and splendor, *
and his righteousness endures forever.
4 He makes his marvelous works to be remembered; *
the Lord is gracious and full of compassion.
5 He gives food to those who fear him; *
he is ever mindful of his covenant.
6 He has shown his people the power of his works *
in giving them the lands of the nations.
7 The works of his hands are faithfulness and justice; *
all his commandments are sure.
8 They stand fast for ever and ever, *
because they are done in truth and equity.
9 He sent redemption to his people;
he commanded his covenant forever; *
holy and awesome is his Name.
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; *
those who act accordingly have a good understanding;
his praise endures for ever.
Celebrant The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to Luke.
People Glory to you, O Lord.
On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” When he saw them, he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were made clean. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.”
Celebrant The Gospel of the Lord.
People Praise to you, Lord Christ.
SERMON PASTOR O’FARRELL
THE APOSTLES’ CREED
Celebrant and People together, all standing
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE
In calling forth creation from the void, God, you revealed yourself in human form. You manifest your concern for your whole universe. Hear the world’s needs, as we bring the matters of our hearts before you.
Pour out your life-giving Spirit on your holy church throughout the world. Equip its members to boldly proclaim their common faith and your bountiful blessings across the earth. Lord, in your mercy: Hear our prayer.
Let your Spirit move over our unruly time and heal its people broken in spirit and body. Bring peace to a weary and struggling world. Intercede and bring peace and healing to Ukraine, Afghanistan, Haiti, the Middle East, the streets of Baltimore, and those afflicted by destructive weather events, particularly in Eastern costal America. Lord, in your mercy: Hear our prayer.
Help those suffering from mental illness, broken families, and homelessness. Protect Mother Earth from human neglect and destruction. Protect animals and species in danger from human selfishness, greed, and misadventure. This must break your heart as much as it breaks ours. Lord, in your mercy: Hear our prayer.
Create changed hearts within us. Help us to become our best selves, as you created us to be. Burn out all that is evil in us. Consecrate us for holy service. Empower us to work toward the salvation of the world. Give us energy and insight for our personal missions. Lord, in your mercy: Hear our prayer.
Renew the faith of all who call you Lord, so that we may devote ourselves to worship, teaching, and prayer—all to reveal your grace to a fragile humanity. Give noble purpose to our secular leaders, and a desire to do justice in the land and in the world. Lord, in your mercy: Hear our prayer.
Be with those who are dying and ill, and their families and loved ones. Bless the pastoral ministries of this congregation. Safeguard immigrants and refugees. Provide solace and healing to those beleaguered by the reality of their lives. Lord, in your mercy: Hear our prayer.
We especially pray for those we silently name now. (Pause) Lord, in your mercy: Hear our prayer.
Celebrant Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in your well-beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords: Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
A CONFESSION OF OUR SINS TO GOD
Celebrant Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbors.
Silence will be kept
Minister and People Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.
Celebrant Almighty God have mercy on you, ☩ forgive you all your sins through our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen you in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep you in
eternal life. Amen.
Celebrant The peace of the Lord be always with you.
People And also with you.
THE GREAT THANKSGIVING
Celebrant The Lord be with you.
People And also with you.
Celebrant Lift up your hearts.
People We lift them to the Lord.
Celebrant Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People It is right to give our thanks and praise.
Celebrant It is indeed right and salutary that we should in all times and in all places give thanks to you Almighty Father, through Jesus Christ your son. For by water and the Holy Spirit you have made us a new people in Jesus Christ our Savior, to show forth your glory in all the world. Therefore, we praise your name and join angels and archangels by saying:
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. ☩ Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.
Holy and gracious Father: In your infinite love you made us for yourself. When we had fallen into sin and become subject to evil and death, you in your mercy sent Jesus Christ, your only and eternal Son, to share our human nature, to live and die as one of us, to reconcile us to you, the God and Father of all.
He stretched out his arms upon the cross, and offered himself
in obedience to your will, a perfect sacrifice for the whole
On the night before his death, our Lord Jesus Christ took bread; and when he had given thanks to you, he broke it, and gave it to his disciples, and said, “Take, eat: This is my Body, which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.”
After supper he took the cup of wine; and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and said, “Drink this, all of you: This is my Blood of the new Covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this for the remembrance of me.”
Therefore, we proclaim the mystery of faith:
Christ has died.
Christ is risen.
Christ will come again.
We celebrate the memorial of our redemption, O Father, in this sacrifice of praise and thanks- giving. Recalling his death, resurrection, and ascension, we offer you these gifts. Sanctify them by your Holy Spirit to be for your people the Body and Blood of your Son, the holy food and drink of new and unending life in him. Sanctify us also that we may faithfully receive this holy Sacrament, and serve you in unity, constancy, and peace. And at the last day bring us with all your saints into the joy of your eternal kingdom. All this we ask through your Son Jesus Christ.
By him, and with him, and in him,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit
all honor and glory is yours, Almighty Father,
now and forever. Amen.
And now, as our Savior Christ has taught us, we are bold to pray:
THE LORD’S PRAYER
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever and ever. Amen.
THE CALL TO COMMUNION
Celebrant The gifts of God for the people of God. Take them in remembrance that Christ died for you, and feed on him in your hearts by faith, with thanksgiving.
Celebrant will distribute communion to people in their chairs.
THE GENERAL THANKSGIVING
Celebrant Almighty and everliving God,
All We thank you for feeding us with the spiritual food of the most precious Body and Blood of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; and for assuring us in these holy mysteries that we are living members of the Body of your Son, and heirs of your eternal kingdom. And now, Father, send us out to do the work you have given us to do, to love and serve you as faithful witnesses of Christ our Lord. To him, to you, and to the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and forever. Amen
Celebrant Sisters and brothers, we go out into the world in peace. We live and walk as part of God’s beloved community. May God help us all to be of good courage, to hold on to what is good, and to return to no one an evil for an evil. Strengthen the faint-hearted, support the weak, aid the suffering, do justice, honor all people, and let our gentleness be known by everyone. May God, who raised our Lord Jesus from death, lift us up and restore us to wholeness. And may God bless us all, ☩ in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Celebrant Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
People Thanks be to God.