Monday, July 1, 2019

Looking Ahead to July 7, 2019

The Scripture readings this week are:
  • 2 Kings 5:1-14
  • Psalm 30 (VU p.757)
The Sermon title is The Little Things

Early Thoughts: Sometimes we look for the big splash and miss the answer. Sometimes we think we are too important for the small stuff.

The story of Naaman being healed is a story of little things. Without the advice of a slave girl, a captive, a nothing, the story wouldn't even happen. And then the cure is so simple Naaman thinks it is an insult.

An unimportant person, a small task. they make all the difference.

As I prepare to preach on this story again I am wondering what little things, what "unimportant people" do we miss?

There is no reason to expect that Naaman would listen to his wife's slave girl. There is little reason that a powerful general would think to go to a conquered nation for help. But he does both.

Why would Elisha choose to offer to help a general of Aram? The response of the king of Israel makes sense. It does seem like a set-up. Many a conflict -- from the back alley brawl to international war -- have erupted from such set-ups. But why would Elisha choose to step in?

Why would proud Naaman agree to bathe in the Jordan after making such a big fuss about the insult Elisha has offered. Naaman is used to people fawning on him. Elisha doesn't. Naaman wants to be treated like the important person he is. Elisha says "go take a bath". You could easily see him stomping off in high dudgeon. But he once again takes the advice of those who are beneath him and is cured.

Classics theology suggests that one of the major sins of humanity is Pride. Pride is said to be what leads Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit in Genesis 3 -- pride that they would be like God. Pride is what is said to lead the people to attempt to build the tower of Babel (a project that worries or even frightens God). Pride makes us think too much of ourselves and too little of others. Pride can get in the way of relationship, can get in the way of healing what is broken. Naaman shows that pride can be challenged and even broken and healing can follow.

Where does pride keep us from being healed?