This morning, we had the wonderful privilege of having David Pritchard tell a wonderful story from the Bible with us. David was in town for a conference and also took time to conduct the How To Tell Children Sacred Stories From The Bible Using Godly Play® workshop yesterday.
Sharing with us the story from II Kings 5, David – with the help of several (impromptu volunteers) – shared with us how the little, unnamed slave girl’s seemingly wistful hope for Naaman’s healing from leprosy set off a remarkable chain of events that involved the geopolitical forces of the day.
Commenting on how events transpired from the unnamed slave girls wishes to Naaman and the King of Aram’s message to the King of Israel, David said, “How strange is it that when adults get involved in a child’s wishes, they complicate things! From a simple wish for her master to receive healing from the prophet, things get complicated: with a show of diplomatic document, displays of wealth and military power; all nearly sparking off a potential international diplomatic crisis!”
David then went on to share from the story about how Naaman had to adjust his “adult” expectations for healing to that of a child: “But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage. Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.” (II Kings 5:11-14)
Even as we journey through the liturgical calendar towards Doom/Christ the King Sunday, we are reminded that of simple truths about how small is truly beautiful:
- God uses children – He listens to their desires and dreams. The challenge to us as adults is – are we listening to our own children?
- We need to become as a little child – far from being “childish” it is about having a change of heart and mind, like Naaman did. Looking at the simple things and not dismissing it’s value.
- Valuing the small – in church and mission. We are reminded from today’s Bible story that it’s the small, seemingly insignificant things that God can use to make a difference. Like the little slave girl’s wishful sigh, like Elisha’s instructions to Naaman for healing – these are all things that God can use to bring great miracles and healing to those around us. Like today’s Gospel Reading (Matthew 25:31-46) says – the small things, like playing with children, giving others a glass of water… doing these things (and not doing these things) is akin to doing the same to Jesus.