Have you ever been asked to do something that you thought was beneath your dignity or skills, or something not to your liking? Were you ever challenged with a challenge that was not very challenging? Naaman the leper was faced with that situation. We listen in 2 Kings 5:1-15ab today of this encounter with Elisha the prophet. At the urging of the young Israelite girl who served as the servant of Naaman's wife, and with the support of his king, and with the love of his family and servants, he set out to find a cure for his leprosy.
The prophet of God sends him to bathe seven times in the Jordan river to find wholeness. But this rankles Naaman who sees it as beneath his dignity and more than his pride can endure. As he says, he could have bathed at home, where the rivers are purer. Only when his friends prevail upon him does he go to the Jordan, washes seven times, and is made whole. An unexpected source of healing from a God unknown to him, in a river whose waters were ordinary, in a silly ritualistic action of bathing seven times ... wrapping him in a love that he had never encountered before and bringing about a healing of body and spirit.
Today we also were also reminded that it was to the foreigner, the widow of Zarephath that God sent Elijah with food. God so often does the extraordinary in reaching out to all, and he often does it in the most ordinary of ways. What we must do it to always be ready for that extraordinary touch of the hand of God in our midst.
Yesterday was the fourth annual "Empty Bowl Event" held at Saint Bruno's in Greensburg. I spoke of this fund raiser for the Westmoreland County Food bank last March in this blog. The event was wonderful with great crowds, delicious soups and breads, entertainment, hard working volunteers and unbeatable enthusiasm. In the last three years, this event has brought in nearly $21,000 for the food bank. One of our parishioners originated the idea, and many volunteers from here and throughout the area help make it happen. Congratulations to Karen and Tom Piper and their wonderful crew.