Saturday, September 3, 2016

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Remembering and Celebrating Women's Ministry
II Kings 5:1-4


Dr. Zac Varghese
Sinai MTC, North London, UK
“If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”

This morning we will be reflecting on the story of the healing of Naaman through the mediation of Elisha, the prophet.  A number of people and practical measures are involved in Naaman’s healing process. This story is important from a number of perspectives: a Jewish girl, a powerful military General with a dreadful disease, King Aram, diplomatic mediation with King of Israel, political and financial overtones, a prophet, and the waters of Jordan.

Through this simple story of the gossip of a slave girl about a prophet of Israel in the household of Naaman we are asked to project how salvation through Jesus Christ would   later breakout of the traditional boundaries of Jewish- Gentile division, and reach out to the other nations and peoples. Naaman, a Gentile General with leprosy was cured through the involvement of a little Jewish maid. Though she was a captive, she was concerned about the welfare of her master, which is an amazing generosity of the Spirit. She knew the Spiritual power of the Prophet.  It is also a good illustration of how healing cannot be obtained with powerful earthly agencies of powerful kings or precious gifts.  The healing only occurred when the man of God, Prophet Elisha, got involved through the recommendation of the Jewish maid. Elisha’s prescription for healing was very simple, unusual, and unbelievable: ‘Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you and you shall be clean.” In this story we have a picture of the power of ‘gossiping the gospel’ by a Jewish girl, the simplicity of healing and the need for humility in achieving the objective.

This story helps us to think of the women’s ministry in the present time. In the biblical narratives we come across the stories of some great women. They appeared in the public arena as saviours of their people. We know of Deborah, Ruth, Judith, and Esther, and their courage. The stories of these women are important, and we also have three books bearing their names; these are important in liberating women for the ministry in the present time.

In the sacred Scriptures woman represents wisdom. In St. John’s gospel seven women are mentioned who helped with Jesus’ ministry and seven means abundance too. Although St. Paul had a bad press with women, they were integral part of his ministry too. Jesus calls the ‘bent woman’ as a daughter of Abraham and by this Jesus underlines the birth right of women to participate in all aspect of Abraham’s covenant with God and His blessings. The women who were close to Jesus in His ministry were ‘the first ones to receive the angelic account of Jesus’ resurrection and they then told the male disciples of this miraculous event. The disciples arrived at the scene a later time (Mt 28:1-10; Mk 19: 9; Lk 24:1-10; Jn 20:1-18).

PRAYER

Dear Lord ,help us to put on love and live in the medium of love at all times, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of God rule in our hearts to which all of us are called in one body Amen.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
'Prophets speak not from history, but into history.’ Karl Barth