Our Readings this week are:
2 Kings 5:1-14 – Elisha heals Naaman, a commander of the army of the king of Aram. Jesus references this story in Luke 4:27. Some questions: Who initially sent Naaman to seek out Elisha? Who did Naaman first talk to? What was the letter to the King of Israel and why did the king tear his clothes? What did Elisha instruct Naaman to do? What did he think of that advice? Who set Namaan straight? Elisha and Naaman are the most important characters in the story, but who are instrumental in the healing? How is God working in someone seemingly inconsequential to bring healing to you?
Psalm 30 – The psalmist praises God for his healing. This is appropriate for the Elisha-Namaan story but could just as well have been spoken by Job. How do you praise God and proclaim God’s goodness when you have been healed and lifted up?
Isaiah 66:10-14 – This is a wonderful example of the feminine nature of God. The first “hers” refer to Jerusalem and how the people can be nursed and comforted at her breast. Verse 13 then turns the feminine image toward God. Are you ever comforted God like a child is comforted by her/his mother? The lectionary committee stops short of the verses where God will destroy those the opposition.
Psalm 66:1-9 – In this part of the longer Psalm 66, the psalmist praise God for God’s wonderful deeds in saving the people of Israel. Does God still work to save groups of people such as churches, towns, states, nations?
Galatians 6: (1-6), 7-16 – This is the last of our readings in Galatians. The optional section, 1-6, seems to be a series of instructions: gently restore one who has fallen away; bear each others’ burdens; each person should test their own work not another’s; share the teachings with others. The second section, 7-10, uses a farming metaphor of sowing seeds. What kind of seed do we sow and then what is the fruit we reap? The third section, 11-16, is Paul’s final defense of his message. What do you boast of? Do you boast of all you do or have or, like Paul, do you boast only in Jesus Christ?
Luke 10:1-11, 16-20 – Jesus sends out 70 (or 72) disciples and gives them instructions. Did you know that the fields are still ready for harvest for God’s Reign? Why do you think that Jesus wanted them to carry nothing on their journey? Why were they prevented from changing the place they were staying? What were they to do when a town rejected their message? We often think about the message of God going out to individuals but this passage speaks about town accepting or rejecting it. So, since Jesus brings up Sodom in verse 12 (another section skipped by the lectionary due to its difficulty), what if there is but one new believer in the town? (Abraham talked God down to 10 righteous people. Why didn’t he get down to 1?) What do you think Jesus meant when he said “I saw Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning”? One of my favorite books on human nature is “I See Satan Fall Like Lightning” by Rene Girard. To get the gist of what the book is about read the reviews at Amazon.com.
Have a great week serving God by serving you neighbors.
Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary Taylor