The Working Preacher post for this week’s Narrative Lectionary passage can be found here.
I’m struck, again, with God choosing those on the margins to demonstrate the generosity and grace of God. In this case, the young girl, who served Naaman’s wife, having been transported from the land of Israel during a raid but remaining faithful to the God she knew. This unnamed girl pointed the way to healing by directing Naaman to the prophet in Samaria.
When the king of Aram hears of the possibility of a prophet in Samaria, he sends Naaman there with a letter of entreaty to the king of Israel. However the king is unaware of a prophet at work in his territory and tailspins into a panic until Elisha reveals himself. Not only does the unnamed girl lead Naaman to healing, she also reveals the presence of a prophet in Samaria.
And then there are the servants of Naaman who persuaded the great man to bathe in the river when it seemed he might reject the opportunity to find the relief he craved.
It could be said that all the main characters in this story are the unnamed ones. And that seems to mirror the countless heroic stories being played out in so many ways in communities today, stories that, often, are barely noticed, far less called out or highlighted.
Wherever you are in the world, that will preach!
I was also intrigued, though, with the notion of respect and rank that Naaman seemed to command when, normally, his condition would have rendered him an outcast. It might be interesting to ponder how that came about – was it rank or gender or social status that gained him favour with the king of Aram? Or was it something else – previous service for instance? What gave him privilege? Another hot topic in the world today…
I’d love to know where this story is leading you in your preaching this week. Where and how are you seeing the face of God being revealed in and for your community?
Please add your ideas and inspiration in the comments.
Liz Crumlish is a Church of Scotland Minister currently working on a National Renewal Project in Scotland. A Board Member of RevGalBlogPals, one of the instigators of Spill the Beans and contributor to There’s a Woman in the Pulpit, Liz blogs at journalling.
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