Monday, February 05, 2007

Sixth Sunday after Epiphany – B

Years B
2 Kings 5:1-14
Psalm 30
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Mark 1:40-45


Naaman begins with the imagery of the Psalmist and Paul, that one can make their own way in relationship to G*D. Naaman seeks to punish himself to free himself. He looks for some quick fix answer that G*D will bestow upon him, as Jesus did the leper.

After all, he is important enough to receive. In fact, things shouldn't have gone awry in the first place.

There is anger here in Elisha's willingness to display his prophetic power, in Naaman's response to Elisha's directions, in the leper calling Jesus to him instead of calling out "Unclean", and in Jesus' response of healing in anger and casting a healed one away (if you have a Bible that only talks of Jesus' pity or compassion and his sending a healed person to the priests, you need to read some footnotes or other translations).

Anger and discipline often go together. They can urge one another onward. These passages are not helpfully dealt with at face value.

The conscience in these passages is portrayed by an unnamed slave girl. It would be interesting to imagine her comment on each of the subsequent scenes. As a slave, what would she think of the Psalmist desire for extraverted thanks? of Paul's bootstrap pulling? of the leper's trick and Jesus' anger? To look at these passages through her eyes might bear some good fruit.

= = = = = = =

a Red Queen and Paul
run twice as fast to stay in place
run twice as often to stay fit
run twice as far to find a shortcut

this running demands results
Naaman ran twice
to Elisha and away
walked twice
to a river and from

this running presumes rights
a leper putting a burden on Jesus
Jesus casting out leprosy
and casting out a healed leper

this running calls for questions
is twice really enough today
is the end result the result we seek
is anything but power used in healings
is thanksgiving ever humbly done

this running eventually runs out
our historic restlessness is calmed
we are grateful to not prove our power
to not demand curing
to breathe and breathe again

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