Saturday, February 14, 2009

Naaman and the Gifts of the Holy Sacraments

Below is the sketch for my sermon this week. It fouses on the simple means of the Sacraments to do the miraculous - grant us that which Christ has won on the cross; the forgiveness of sin, life and salvation.

14-16 February 2009//EpiphanyVI - II Kings and St. Mark

Saint Mark and the healing of the leper
The instructions are to show the priest and offer the appropriate sacrifices.
What is the heart of healing?
Physical restoration? – partially

Worship laws would not allow for a leper (someone unclean) come before God in worship – the physical ailment consequently caused a spiritual malady.
Christ sends the man forth able to come before God once more and be found acceptable.

The greater concern for him and for all is not always the physical – but the spiritual.

Naaman – needed a restoration of body
A great military leader the thought of seeking help – counseled no less than by a slave girl of the Israelites – preposterous.
Yet moved by his king he did just that.

The similarity is striking – great men and women all of us – in no need of aid – or are we?
We are friends. And our cry (so often utter and prayed by God the Holy Spirit on our behalf) is one of wholeness.
It may be a physical healing
It may be emotional support
It may be deliverance from fear and anxiety

Whatever the symptom the sickness is the same -- a leprosy of spirit – the corruption of the soul that reveals itself in the brokenness of your bodies and lives.

There is one who comes to make the broken whole. It is Christ.

Jesus was foreshadowed by Elijah and Elisha. Healing comes as God sees fit and affords.
Naaman was upset that the means of deliverance was so common and unimpressive. Looks as it is said can be deceiving. By simple washing the sick was made healthy.

Do not let self righteousness allow you to turn away from the simple means God has provided for you and for your healing.

Simple water – washes the spirit clean giving life and salvation – filling you with the Holy Spirit.
Common bread and everyday wine – feed you on the heavenly manna of the Son of God Himself – and this food strengthens beyond this life – it is that which nourishes you now for the life that is to be and which lasts forever.

Elisha simply spoke of healing – today the same preaching and speaking is laid before you – the speaking of the Son of God who heals the sick, who preaches life into dry and dead spirits and souls.

You are given the prescription of all healing – for the healing of the body comes after the restoration of the soul. For one day to be certain we all will be raised again – the body as God intended it – not beset with sin and the physical consequence of that sin – but relieved of sin and so made whole and vibrant. Never to tire, nor to be lame, blindness is no more and dead is a thing of the past.

This is the healing that God offers in Christ Jesus – His offering of Himself has purchased this for you. Simple means to work the most sublime of miracles – the forgiveness of sin that brings everlasting life.

1 comment:

Peter said...

Great outline for your sermon.

I was struck by the OT reading where Elisha sends his servant out to tell Naaman what to do. Lot of responsibility was given to the servants in this text as they represented the authority of powerful people. Much like what pastors do each Sunday. My young confirmand today made some insightful theological points about the words of absolution spoken by the pastor as the representative of God who has declaration that sin is forgiven.