Saturday, May 19, 2012

Daily Office Reflection: Being Made Clean

Psalms 87, 90 * 136; Numbers 11:16-17,24-29; Ephesians 2:11-22, Matthew 7:28-8:4
Kurant & Citron @ Fire Island, 1999, jfd+

Jesus heals a leper today as he came down from the mountain where he had been teaching the crowds. That teaching ended with yesterday's reading that contained the metaphor about building a house on rock as opposed to on sandy soil, and what happens to that structure when inclement weather strikes. As Jesus is coming down the mountain a leper, an individual shunned and banned from the community, begs to be made clean, to be made whole, saying if you so choose, you can heal me.

Jesus does heal the individual, telling him to not tell anyone, but ironically, to go and show the leaders that wholeness and "cleanness" has been restored. This leper, this individual who had been cast-out, is brought back in. Notice the humble nature of this person's request. It is not a demand. It is not an expectation. There is a turning-over-of-the-will to God in this encounter.

As Jesus used a metaphor in wrapping up all of his teachings on the mountain when he ended with the rocky-sandy soil descriptor, about what is this encounter with the leper a metaphor for us? We can ask, based on this reading, a number of questions:

  • from where have we been cast out?
  • about what are we ashamed?
  • from whom are we in need of forgiveness?
  • are we too arrogant in our understanding of how the world works and our place here?
  • on what are our priorities set?
  • are we able to find the humility in ourselves to really ask God for something we think cannot be given or granted, and accept what comes?
  • who needs our forgiveness and do we have the humility to really grant it?
Challenging questions from such a brief incident in scripture.

Copyright 2012, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.

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