12 June 20152 Kings 5:1-14
“his flesh was restored like the flesh of a young boy” (v. 14)
Psalm: Psalm 21:1-7
The stories of Elisha's ability to heal abound and the one of Naaman's healing comes in the middle of them all. The story gives us an insight into the highly structured society of which Naaman was part. Permissions have to be granted for the servant girl to convey her knowledge, for Naaman to go and see the prophet and for the King to grant permission to Elisha to see Naaman. In the intervening dialogues tempers are stretched and valuable goods and money are offered as gifts of payment. It all sounds quite complicated.
The story begins with the servant girl who knows about a man who can help her master. Not able to go to him directly the girl tells her mistress who tells her husband, who asks the King of Aram, who sends him with a letter to the King of Israel, who sees the request as a threat to him until the prophet's servant points him in the right direction. The servant girl, the most hidden within that society, is the one who has the knowledge that will transform Naaman's life but it seems that she has to be careful about how she releases that information.
Having travelled to meet Elisha, Naaman is incensed at being told what to do to cure his leprosy by relayed message (verse 11). He may feel as though the prophet cannot really be bothered with him, even though he is the commander of the King of Aram's army. But again it is the hidden ones, his servants who pacify him and encourage him to do as the prophet has said; it is, they say, a very simple thing to do (verse 13).
- Human beings can and do sometimes, make life too complicated with the systems we set up. We can overlook simplicity and innocence, 'the hidden ones', and in so doing reinforce a hierarchy that restricts our natural inclinations and can make us fearful of 'not getting it right'. But "with God all things are possible" (Matthew 19:26). Consider how these words sit with you alongside hierarchical processes in the Church and in the light of today's passage.
- Culturally we learn that the more complicated a task sounds, the greater its appeal and more prestige seem to be attached to accomplishing the complicated. As Christians, our calling today has more about being counter-cultural than going with the flow. Reflect on the cost of counter-culturalism to you, those you know and love, and what it might mean for the future of the Church.