Thursday, July 05, 2007

Why do we make things so hard?

I've been enjoying the contrast between this week's lectionary selections and last week's. Last week, the message seemed to be that living into our Christian discipleship can require some difficult steps.

This week, we get the story of Naaman from 2 Kings. Naaman was a successful general for an army that was victorious in battles over Israel, but he suffered from a skin disease akin to leprosy. He heard of a prophet of the Israelites who could heal and he set out to meet him. Naaman was offended when Elisha would not come out to meet him and instead sent word for Naaman to wash in the river Jordan seven times. He was angry and not willing, at first, to follow the prophet's direction. But a servant said to him: "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'?"

How many times in our lives, how many ways do we make things harder than they need to be?

Just last week were in Paul's letter to the Galatians that the law -- those things we are to follow -- can be summed up in a single commandment: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." We talked last week about how even that seems difficult at times.

And then there's grace, freely given, ours to have and ours to share through our life in the world, but sometimes we even make grace hard.

The lesson from Naaman seems to be to try the easy ways first, especially the easy ways offered by God.

What are ways we can make our lives easier?

Let's talk about it Sunday.

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