Tuesday, July 02, 2013

2 Kings 5:1-14

Pentecost +7 - Year C 

Picking up on the simplicity of life expected by those who go in advance of an expected wonder is to come later, the following words from Walter Bruggemann in a 2007 article in “Missiology: An International Review” speak better than I can about a significantly overlooked part of evangelism — it is counter-cultural, in the best sense of that term. This means it focuses on compassionate and deep healing without a subsequent reward or even expectation of acknowledgment. Compare this with today’s public evangelists who would not remember as did the slave girl and who would accept a boatload of goodies or otherwise use this event to promote their ministry, unlike Elisha.

These images may yet convince and convict us to attending to where we are. There are gifts ready to flow. We speak their possibility and let them be heard by those who have ears. Here, then, a word about Elisha and a slave girl, models for the sent seventy.

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2 Kings 5: Two Evangelists and a Saved Subject 
     In chapter five the prophet is sitting in his house, not doing anything, not needing to achieve or perform, at ease with the uncredentialed power of life entrusted to him. Those who know the narratives about him are watching and waiting to see how his power for life would break out anew. He is the very substance and embodiment of the good news.
     He is one to tell about. He is the wonder and miracle in Israel. He is not an evangelist but the one about whom the evangelist speaks.
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     … She speaks only briefly. She speaks only once. She speaks for her only time in all of human history. She will utter 16 words in English, ten in Hebrew: “If only my lord were with the prophet in Samaria. He would cure him of leprosy (v. 3).”
     That is all. The young woman will never again speak. She speaks quietly but with authority. Her brief utterance against the sadness of the wife and the impotence of the general changes the narrative. This young woman, a servant girl captured in war, is the true evangelist. I propose that if you want to be an evangelist, pay attention to her.
     She is not into loud, aggressive religion. She is not into church growth. She speaks only quietly, only once, anonymously. We do not know her name.
     That is all! She is finished! Evangelists do not expect to be noticed or celebrated or even thanked. It is enough to give an utterance that opens life to newness by identifying the carrier of newness. And now she is gone to all eternity.
     She had remembered the gift of divine healing that stood outside royal purview. That is all an evangelist needs to do, to remember the gift of divine healing and where it is located.
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     Be free... and be thankful.

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