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November 22 | 2 Kings 5:1-16


 

DAILY READING

 

REFLECTION


Naman the Gentile is Baptized

by Dan Kidd

For a brief season in my childhood my family moved to Florence, South Carolina. Florence was just over an hour's drive to Myrtle Beach. Every once in a while, after church on Sunday morning, we would drive down to the beach, play for several hours, and then return home. That is when I came to truly appreciate the gift of those showers they put at the entrance of the beach to wash the sand off as you leave. Because, for a pre-teen kid, an hour plus in the car covered in wet sand is awful--especially on the parents who have to endure the incessant whining of said kid. What a difference a little cleansing water can make!


The marvels of cleansing water has been a part of God's people for as long as they've been God's people. The Levitical laws prescribe rituals of washing in running water for holistic cleanliness and healing. Prior to 70 AD, Synagogues typically built near or over streams and pools of running water, called mikvah, so that one could be ritually clean before entering.


In today's passage, we hear of the Lord using his prophet, Elisha, and the water of the Jordan river, to heal King Aram's army commander, Naaman of leprosy. What I love about this story is how fittingly it preludes the sacrament of Baptism we receive in the name of Jesus. Just as Naaman observes, surely there's nothing magical about the water itself; the Jordan is no more capable of restoring or healing someone than the Abanah or the Pharpar of Damascus. But the water alongside the word of God, spoken by the prophet Elisha, not only rid Naaman of his leprosy, but restored him so thoroughly that it was like the skin of a baby boy. What's more, Naaman was no Israelite. In fact, he was the commander of a Gentile army. And yet, another pre-taste of what was to come, the God of Israel met and restored Naaman in that cleansing water. What an incredible work of the Lord!


What a gift we have in Baptism. Through this sacrament of water and the Word we receive God's grace; the God who has forgiven our sin, who raises us from the dead, and saves us from the enemy. And in baptism we become a family together. Every tribe, every tongue, every age--despite all the things that work to divide us--are unified by Christ as we are reborn into the one family of God. Praise be to God!


PRAYER PRACTICE

This Sunday we celebrated a number of new members into our church. Let us pray together in thanksgiving for these new members, for the gift we have in the family of God, and that the Holy Spirit will use us to know, care for, and love our family members well. Pray something like this: Father in Heaven, thank you for the gift of the new members in our church community. Thank you for the incredible gift of baptism, and the unity of the church. Holy Spirit, continue to bind us together as one family, united by you, and guide our path and stir our hearts to practice love for our family members.










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