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First Reading: : 2 Kings 5:1-3, 7-15c

1 Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man and in high favor with his

master, because by him the LORD had given victory to Aram. The man, though a mighty warrior, suffered

from leprosy.  2 Now the Arameans on one of their raids had taken a young girl captive from the land of

Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife.  3 She said to her mistress, “If only my lord were with the prophet

who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”  7 When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his

clothes and said, “Am I God, to give death or life, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his

leprosy? Just look and see how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me.”

   8 But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent a message

to the king, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come to me, that he may learn that there is a

prophet in Israel.”  9 So Naaman came with his horses and chariots, and halted at the entrance of Elisha’s

house.  10 Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go, wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh

shall be restored and you shall be clean.”  11 But Naaman became angry and went away, saying, “I thought

that for me he would surely come out, and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, and would

wave his hand over the spot, and cure the leprosy!  12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus,

better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them, and be clean?” He turned and went away in

a rage.  13 But his servants approached and said to him, “Father, if the prophet had commanded you to do

something difficult, would you not have done it? How much more, when all he said to you was, ‘Wash,

and be clean’?”  14 So he went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the

word of the man of God; his flesh was restored like the flesh of a young boy, and he was clean.

   15a-c Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company; he came and stood before him and

said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel.”

A local priest and pastor stood by the side of the road holding up a sign that said, "The End is Near! Turn

yourself around now before it's too late!"  They planned to hold up the sign to each passing car.

"Leave us alone, you religious nuts!" yelled the first driver as he sped by.  From around the curve they

heard a big splash.

"Do you think," said one clergy to the other, "we should just put up a sign that says 'bridge out' instead?" 

Sometimes the straight-forward message would be a lot simpler than getting too wordy. So here it is:

God loves you very much. So much so, his Son died on the cross for you! Tomorrow is in God’s hands.

Hope is in God’s hands. You are in God’s hands. Do not fear. Do not be weary. God is good! ALL the

time. God’s gifts for you are free! You don’t have to earn them, buy them, save up for them, even come

to church for them. They are yours.

Sometimes we make it harder than it is. Sometimes we think there’s got to be a catch to God’s

unmerited, unconditional love and forgiveness. There’s got to be more.

This Old Testament story of the healing of Naaman is a prime example of that. Elisha the Prophet offered

a simple solution to heal Naaman of his leprosy. Naaman thought there must be more – there HAD to be


God’s promises are given out of God’s great love for us. Our sinful nature brings the focus back on

ourselves, and we wonder what we need to do to earn this gift.

Remember the story of the Good Samaritan – Jesus is asked by a young man what the young man must

to do inherit eternal life. The question is telling – “What must I do? What must I do? What CAN I do?

If we could save ourselves, we wouldn’t need a savior. But while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Accept the gift. Keep it simple. Share God’s love.

Let us pray: Almighty God, bring us back to basics. Remind us again who is in charge. Help us to keep it

simple and never forget your great love. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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