2 Kings 5:1-14, Psalm 30, Galatians 6:(1-6), 7-16, Luke 10:1-11, 16-20
2 Kings 5:1-14:
- Naaman wants the benefits of a connection with God - he wants God's healing, and wants it from Elisha now. But he doesn't want to do what is required to get what he wants. Are we like that? Do we connect what we want from our relationship with God with what we give to our relationship with God? Of course, God blesses us in spite of ourselves, as God heals Naaman, but what could we do to make it easier?
- Also, Naaman wants to see magic done, not healing, in his life. He wants a quick fix - to be better. He doesn't want to go through the healing/wholeness process - it's timely, it takes effort. I feel that we are the same with our own health sometimes - we want to be thin and perfect - just don't ask us to change our lifestyles to see the results! On a deeper note, we want to end hunger - we'll give a can at Thanksgiving time. Don't ask us to change consumer patterns to have sustainable living!
- Continuing on that theme, one of my former District Superintendents talked about pastors and parishioner wanting pastors to have magic wands to fix things in ministry. Would you rather have magic, or healing and wholeness? What's the difference?
- Process vs. Product - which is more important? Naaman says product. God says process!
- "Wash and be clean." Why is grace, repentance, forgiveness, so hard for us? Why do we make it so difficult for ourselves? Why is it hard to admit our wrongs and try again?
- This psalm was just used on in the Easter season of Year C - not sure why it makes it in the lectionary twice in one year, since it's not, in my mind, particularly moving/deep, in comparison with some others...
- Eesh - in fact, not a favorite psalm at all. All these images of God are terrible - pleading with God to care and act, trying to convince God to act by appealing to God's desire to have more people to worship God (v. 9). Not a very flattering picture of God. But I think all the psalms are more about where the psalmist comes from than about who God really is. I try not to confuse the two.
- "Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning." The youth of my CCYM love the praise song "Trading My Sorrows", which takes this verse as a line of the song. These words comfort and give hope - but how do we speak to those who feel like this morning of joy never really comes? I guess the emphasis is really on the fact that sorrow is never permanent, even though it seems so in the midst of it.
- "You hid your face." To think of God turning God's face from us = Devastating - like an eclipse?
Galatians 6:(1-6), 7-16:
- "if anyone is detected in a transgression, you who have received the Spirit should restore..." We don't like to be accountable to others. We don't mind them being accountable to us. But for us to let them let us know when we're out of line? Harder, much harder! I think this is especially true in American culture, where privacy is so highly valued.
- "bear one another's burdens." We're also not very good at that! We often feel we've got enough on our own plates, too much to deal with to take up other's burdens as well. Remember Jesus' words in Matthew - Jesus is willing to give us easy burdens to bear, to help us manage all we've got, to relieve our weariness and tiredness. Those words are so comforting - imagine providing that relief to others, by helping them bear their burdens.
- "For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything; but a new creation is everything!" Yes, yes, yes!
Luke 10:1-11, 16-20:
- For many United Methodist Clergy, this text comes on the first Sunday in a new appointment, the first Sunday serving a new congregation. I think this text reads very differently, poignantly, when you read it on your first Sunday in a new pulpit.
- Do we take Jesus at his word when he tells us what to carry when we journey out in his name? Unencumbered we are to go in ministry and mission. God equips us for our journey. What encumbers your life, your ability to go whenever and wherever God calls? What's your baggage? What can you/will you/should you let go of?
- Either way the towns respond, the kingdom of God has come near. Either way we respond, the kingdom of God has come near. It is here, at hand, around us. How do you respond?
- When the 70 are exciting about their demon-out-casting skills, Jesus says something like: "Don't rejoice in your power, rejoice in our faith." I like that - we have power, when we are working in God's name - but that is not our pride - our pride, if it can be called pride, is in being named God's precious children.
- I'm glad verses 12-15 about specific doomed cities are left out of our text for today. I think that just caters to our desire to declare that it is 'others' who would not receive Christ, instead of seeing ourselves in his words.