Winthrop Congregational Church, United Church of Christ
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Sermon for February 26, 2023: Who Will You Listen To? based upon Matthew 4:1-11
Matthew 4:1-11 The Temptation of Jesus
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. The tempter came and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.’
But he answered, ‘It is written, “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” ’
Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, “He will command his angels concerning you”, and “On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.” ’
Jesus said to him, ‘Again it is written, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” ’
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour; and he said to him, ‘All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Away with you, Satan! for it is written, “Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.” ’
Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.
Today is the first Sunday in Lent. While reading our devotional Seeking: Honest Questions for a Deeper Faith, I found myself appreciating the way the authors approach Lent. The Rev. Danielle Shroyer wrote the introduction to the devotional and invites us to understand Lent as a time for seeking: “seeking clarity, seeking wisdom, seeking a love that makes us whole.” That seems pretty good to me. As a pastor, part of the reason I appreciate both Lent and Advent is the ways that these church seasons can pull us out of the demands of economic systems that demand productivity, isolation, and efficiency and into seasons of connection, meaning-making, and curiosity. The act of seeking is rarely efficient and often done best in community.
Rev. Shroyer is inviting us to treat Lent not like a search organized on a grid to cover every square inch, but, instead, as an opportunity to listen with fresh ears and see with fresh eyes. For those of you who went birding with our intern Sarah Mills last year, you might remember how Sarah and Rev. Ian Lynch suggested we understand seeking the Holy Spirit to be a little like attending to birds and birdsong. You will experience so much if you can listen and discern what is calling to you. But, it is hard to follow that call if you aren’t listening for it.
It is likely not an accident that this reading about Jesus being tempted is a suggested text for the first Sunday of the season. This is likely not the beginning of Jesus’ attentive listening to the Holy Spirit. In Matthew, he has already been baptized, which can be recognized as a sign of his following the Spirit, especially when the Spirit affirms his belovedness by God. That same Spirit, it is said, is what led him to the wilderness. He would not be there were he not listening. But, there, in the wilderness, as he is listening, he realizes that he must decide who he’s going to be listening to.
In her commentary on this text, Aubrey West notes that Jesus is not be punished and is not lost out in the wilderness. That is an important distinction to make as many of us have come to think “being in the spiritual wilderness,” as being in a time of confusion or a time when one feels adrift or far away from God. That’s not what is happening in this story or actually any time Jesus goes into the wilderness in Matthew. The wilderness, those marginal, in-between spaces that many thought to be dangerous, was a place of connection to the Spirit for Jesus. He would listen to the Spirit there and that would empower him to continue with his mission. This first time we see him in the wilderness, we are told that it is a test. I am inclined to agree with the scholar Melinda Quivik that this story has been passed down to us not so that we will assume that The Tempter will show up in our wilderness, but so we can learn something about Jesus, and about the God we know through Jesus, in paying attention to Jesus’ response to temptation. And, one thing we learn is Jesus’ relationship to power.
These tests, like many tests from antagonistic conversation partners, are from the start obviously not in good faith. “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” Imagine saying something so callous to someone who is hungry. Have any of you ever had to go without food or drink before surgery? I have... very recently. It was a real bummer. And, I only had to do it for about 12 hours. Jesus has been intentionally fasting for days and days. This question was a real provocation. And, yet, Jesus has the resources within himself to see the provocation for what it was: an invitation to use his power to make himself more comfortable. And, that’s not what his power was for.
The next two temptations are increasingly goading. The tempter takes him to the high point of the temple and says, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you’, and ‘On their hands they will bear you up so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.” Isn’t it interesting to have a literal interpretation of Scripture as a temptation for Jesus? Melinda Quivick calls this the temptation to “abandon deep-reading of God’s word by taking it literally.” I think there is also the temptation to use literal reading to shore up an excuse to use power for personal gain. Rev. Shroyer calls this the temptation to use his gifts as a “parlor trick.” Jesus does not fall for this temptation.
The final temptation is to have a kind of power that comes as the cost of allegiance to one who does not share the same values as God. Jesus is offered all the kingdoms of the world and all they have to offer if he will shift his allegiance away from God to the Tempter. Imagine what good he could do with the power? It is in his response to this temptation that we might see Jesus most clearly. When given the opportunity to have tremendous power over people at the low, low price of all of his devotion and loyalty, Jesus declines. His mission is not about his ego or his ability to dominate creation. That’s what Quivik and Shroyer, in their commentaries, argue this question is about. Will he choose ego and domination or connection and justice? The Jesus we come to know in this passage chooses connection and healing, as Rev. Shroyer says, every time.
In his commentary for the Isaiah text I read on Ash Wednesday, Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow speaks of this era of the pandemic as a time that is revelatory in the fullest sense of the word. Our personal response and larger communal responses to events of the last three years reveal some things about us and about our communities, some positive. Many negative. But, with revelations come the opportunity for us to consider, as Reyes-Chow puts it, “who we can be and become.” Perhaps this season can be a time when we all can work to cultivate the ability to listen for this Jesus who wielded power with love towards healing and justice. Our reading for the day shows us who Jesus is and how he works in this world. How might we make sure that this Jesus is what Rev. Shroyer calls “right at the center of [our] heart” where we can hear his invitation to take up our cross and follow him?
Resources consulted while writing this sermon:
Melinda Quivik: https://www.workingpreacher.org/commentaries/revised-common-lectionary/first-sunday-in-lent/commentary-on-matthew-41-11-5
Audrey West: https://www.workingpreacher.org/commentaries/revised-common-lectionary/first-sunday-in-lent/commentary-on-matthew-41-11-2
Danille Shroyer's introduction to Seeking: Honest Questions for a Deeper Faith, a devotional developed by Sanctified Art, as well as her devotional entry for the First Week of Lent
Matthew 17: 1-9
Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. Then Peter said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!’ When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, ‘Get up and do not be afraid.’ And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone.
As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, ‘Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.’
We began this church season with one revelation, Epiphany, and are finishing with another, the Transfiguration. First, some astrology scholars protect and pay homage to a child from a poor family whom they say will one day lead his people. And, at this moment, we see the child, now grown, in God’s full glory. That first revelation led to this current one, like the trail up the mountainside where Jesus led his friends. As one might hope, the view from this mountaintop is clear and bright and astounding. We can hope that it will be enough to guide the way through the harrowing weeks to come. As noted in The Salt Project’s commentary on this passage, we will need Jesus, who shines bright like the sun, as we walk into the valley of the shadow of death, even if we can’t yet fully explain what we saw up on the mountain top.
Important things happen on mountain tops. I learned a long time ago in my New Testament class that the author of Matthew works very hard to draw connections from Moses to Jesus. In his commentary on this passage, Eric Barreto reminds us that Jesus’ transfiguration is awfully similar to Moses’ encounter with God on Sinai. The Salt Project’s commentary also notes that Moses was described as radiant as he descended the mountain. Judith Jones, in her commentary on this text, reminds us that Elijah met God up on a mountain, too. Important things happen on mountain tops... things that help us see God more clearly. But, we may not always be able to understand what we are seeing in that moment. Peter, James, and John sure didn’t.
We can hardly blame for being bewildered. In the verses just before this, 6 days prior to the mountain top, Jesus had told them that following his calling would likely end in death. It is likely that even the promise of renewed life after death would have been more disconcerting than comforting for his followers. They would have been in the thick of the conflict with him. He made it clear that following him would require sacrifice. It is likely that they had been feeling the tenson rise around them. It was also clear that they didn’t fully understand what was happening. And, likely wouldn’t until the Resurrection. Maybe that’s why Jesus asked them not to speak of what they saw yet. Their understanding would only be complete in hindsight.
I do appreciate that, in this moment of bright confusion and tremendous awe, Peter falls back onto one of his most important religious values- hospitality- to respond to something he clearly doesn’t fully understand. Not only does Jesus seem to be aglow, but two figures have shown up. Now, I don’t know how the disciples knew that they were Moses and Elijah, but they did. Moses and Elijah, two prophets of particular import, were with Jesus on the mountain. Peter may not know exactly what is going on, but he knows that it is our calling to make welcome, for in so doing, we may be welcoming emissaries of God. I can think of worse impulses in the face of awe and confusion than the impulse to build a dwelling place for someone because they might have been sent there by God.
Eric Barreto, in his commentary, says that the presence of Elijah and Moses “marks Jesus as their heir, their collaborator in [God’s] holy work.” And, just to make very clear, the disciples hear God’s voice, too. In a beautiful reminder that God exists in both the thick cloud as well as the brightest light, something that is described as a bright cloud overshadows them. When Moses was on Sinai, it was said that a cloud filled with God overshadowed him, too. From this cloud, a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” You might recognize part of that. At Jesus’ baptism, a voice from above also said, “This is my son, the beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” Sometimes, especially in times of tension and fear, it is good and necessary to be reminded of love and connection. And, in this moment, as Jesus is taking up the mantles of Elijah and Moses, and heading down the mountain, into the valley of death’s shadow, he might have needed this. And, so might his friends. And, the reminder to listen to him. He knew what was coming.
This voice, however, proved to be more terrifying than comforting, and the disciples collapsed in terror. Frankly, they’ve never seemed more reasonable to me than at this moment. Notice that Jesus does not scold them. He offered them the same affirmation that scripture tell us holy messengers once offered both Mary and Joseph: “Do not be afraid.” Get up and do not be afraid. When they bring their eyes up to him, all that was wild and holy and aglow has tempered down, leaving their friend and teacher, Jesus, standing resolutely before them.
The writers at the Salt Project speak of the transfiguration as “a clearing from the mountain top, from here we can survey both how far we’ve come and the Lenten journey ahead.” As they head down the mountain, Jesus instructs them not to tell anyone about what they saw “until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” Maybe those instructions were a relief. Who would have even believed them anyway. How could they have possibly described all that they had just seen. Or, maybe they were like a kid who knows about a surprise party and can hardly keep delicious secret to themselves. Scripture does not describe their feelings at this moment, just their actions. They keep walking with Jesus.
In the verses just after the reading, they ask him about Elijah and he reiterates that the Son of Man is about to suffer. They had some insight that John the Baptist was a lot like Elijah, too, and to few people heeded his instruction. And, then they followed Jesus as he waded into a crowd of people where he healed a boy who had been suffering. May we follow Christ, too, into the crowds, to tend to those who hurt. And, when the time is right, may we remember that in renewed life, God has shown us Christ once again, even if we don’t understand it at first. Our calling will become clear, once again.
Resources consulted while writing this sermon:
The Commentary from the Salt Project: https://www.saltproject.org/progressive-christian-blog/2020/2/18/transfiguration-salts-lectionary-commentary-for-transfiguration-sunday
Eric Barreto: https://www.workingpreacher.org/commentaries/revised-common-lectionary/transfiguration-of-our-lord/commentary-on-matthew-171-9-5
Judith Jones: https://www.workingpreacher.org/commentaries/revised-common-lectionary/transfiguration-of-our-lord/commentary-on-matthew-171-9-4
Matthew 11: 7-19
Jesus Praises John the Baptist
As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: ‘What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written,
“See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.”
Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John came; and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. Let anyone with ears listen!
‘But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market-places and calling to one another, “We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.”
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, “He has a demon”; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, “Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax-collectors and sinners!” Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.’
Sometimes things from popular culture just stick in my brain. One of them is the character Raymond Holt yelling “Vindication!!” at the end of an episode of the tv show Brooklyn 99. Played by Andre Braugher, Holt, who has been helping decorate for a colleague's wedding, had spent most of the episode being told that the balloon arch that he had been meticulously building was tacky. They removed it from the wedding, which didn’t end up even happening. At the very end of the episode, his colleague, Rosa, who was nearly the bride, knocked on his office door to thank him for his help. She catches sight of the balloon arch by accident and pushes her way into the room, where she sees it in its full glory. Rosa’s face lit up and she said “Oh my God. She is magnificent,” becoming the only person who loves the arch as much as Holt does. Holt, at last assured that he was correct in his choice to create one for the wedding, excitedly yells “Vindicatiooooon!!”
You may not be surprised to note that this storyline had little to do with our reading today, aside from a little shared vocabulary. But, it is a story about someone who made a choice, out of a sense of generosity, that was eventually affirmed as the right one by the intended audience. That’s not exactly the Gospel, but it’s close enough to remind us sometimes a choice that doesn’t seem obviously correct at first ends up being the right one in the long run. Neither John nor Jesus would have been the obvious choice for an emissary from God. And, yet, through their actions, their calling is proven to be true. And, God’s own commitment to following through with covenantal promises is made clear.
Today’s reading comes from the part of Matthew after John has been imprisoned but before he was killed. Jesus has gathered the 12 disciples and begun teaching. Hearing word of this, John sent his own disciples to confirm that Jesus is Messiah whom he’d be preparing the way for. Jesus says to them, in the verses just before our reading, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offence at me.” In short, he said, my actions will prove who I am. Or, as Elisabeth Johnson says in her commentary on this text, these healings and relationships are signs of God’s kindom drawing near. And, that is exactly what John was preaching about: God’s reign drawing near.
John’s disciples left and Jesus began to teach the rest of the people gathered. That’s where our reading begins. Jesus affirmed the prophecies of John the Baptist. There are some scholars who argue that Jesus’ public ministry is intended to be a direct extension of John’s. Once John was arrested, Jesus was called to continue and expand upon his mission. Others would say that John’s mission was to come first... to make way for Jesus. Either way, it matters for Jesus to affirm that what John was saying was true, despite the fact that he had found himself at odds with the powerful... despite the fact that he had been imprisoned. Then, as now, respectable people don’t always respect you if you’ve been imprisoned. Jesus is clear that John’s imprisonment is not proof that he erred in his teaching. Instead, it is confirmation that people will often misunderstand God’s words, especially when they come from someone deemed strange or marginal or dangerous to the status quo.
John led a rigorous, ascetic lifestyle of fasting and self-denial, and people found that to be a good reason to disregard his words. Jesus would be accused of drinking too much and indulging with sinners, and people would use this as an excuse to disregard his actions of grace and teachings of justice. It’s like Goldilocks and the Three Bears. One was too stern, and one was too permissive. Jesus wondered into today’s reading if the people listening would ever find a find a prophet who’s teaching was just right. Or, when asked to really change their ways, realign their behavior according to God’s priorities, would people continue to find reasons why the prophet delivering the message wasn’t holy-seeming enough for them to believe?
Humans have a habit of assuming that the Holy Spirit will always move in ways that they expect and through people that match whatever their current time’s assumption of what makes a person trustworthy. In her commentary on this text, Jennifer T. Kaalund talks about how we often rely on stereotypes as a kind of short cut to discerning what and who is good and dependable. Kaalund reminds us that if any of us were asked we liked being stereotyped, especially those of us with identities that are regularly demonized by the broader community, we’d say we don’t... that stereotypes don’t capture who we are adequately and often do us harm.
If we know that the fullness of our own lives can’t be captured by the stereotypes of people who dislike us, why would we think that God would rely on stereotypes as signs to point us to the “correct” prophets who are bringing us a word from God? In fact, so many people in positions of authority, like pastors and teachers and police officers and coaches and politicians and business owners, misuse the positive stereotypes of them as cover for perpetuating great harm. We must take great care not to mistake our ideas about who does good for actual good actions taken in the world. If God could work through a wild homeless man who lived on bugs and honey and picked fights with kings... if God could come alive in an itinerant preacher who’d opted out of all his responsibilities to his family and spent his free time with drunks and women of ill repute, we better pay attention to actions of the people we run into instead of the ideas that pop into our heads about who they are when we see them. Wisdom is vindicated by her deeds. May we see God’s work in this world for what it is. And, may we never assume that only one kind of person can do it.
Resources consulted while writing this sermon:
If you want to watch a video compilation of the entire balloon arch storyline:
Elisabeth Johnson: https://www.workingpreacher.org/commentaries/revised-common-lectionary/ordinary-14/commentary-on-matthew-1116-19-25-30-2
Jennifer T. Kaalund: https://www.workingpreacher.org/commentaries/revised-common-lectionary/ordinary-14/commentary-on-matthew-1116-19-25-30
Sermon for February 5, 2023: Sometimes You've Just Got to Listen based upon 2 Kings 5:1-4, 9-14
2 Kings 5:1-4, 9-14
The Healing of Naaman
Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man and in high favour with his master, because by him the Lord had given victory to Aram. The man, though a mighty warrior, suffered from leprosy. Now the Arameans on one of their raids had taken a young girl captive from the land of Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, ‘If only my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.’ So Naaman went in and told his lord just what the girl from the land of Israel had said.
So Naaman came with his horses and chariots, and halted at the entrance of Elisha’s house. Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, ‘Go, wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored and you shall be clean.’ But Naaman became angry and went away, saying, ‘I thought that for me he would surely come out, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and would wave his hand over the spot, and cure the leprosy! Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them, and be clean?’ He turned and went away in a rage. But his servants approached and said to him, ‘Father, 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”?’ So he went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; his flesh was restored like the flesh of a young boy, and he was clean.
Our story today is not very long but has eight characters, two kingdoms, and one river. First, of course, the kings: There is the king of Syria. Whenever I mention the King of Syria, I need someone to knock these two sticks together.
Let’s practice: King of Syria *knock sticks*
And there is the King of Israel – a much smaller country, so other kings might think their king is less powerful, but he’s still a king. I need a person to beat a drum when you hear The King of Israel.
Let’s practice: King of Israel- bang a drum
And there is Naaman the general of the army of the King of Syria – another very important man. I need someone to jingle a bell when you hear the name Naaman.
Let’s practice: Naaman- jingle a bell
Naaman has a wife. The Bible doesn’t tell us her name. When I mention her, I need someone to knock on this block. And Naaman and his wife have enslaved a girl who Naaman captured during battle. She is one of the most important characters in this story. But we don’t know her name either. Let’s have someone shake maracas when I mention her. I need 2 people to shake maracas.
Naaman also has another slave, sort of his right-hand man. Let’s clang a triangle when you hear me mention him.
That is the cast in Syria. Over in Israel, there is also a prophet named Elisha. The prophet also has a servant. When I mention them, I want someone to knock on this hollow piece of wood.
There are several large, beautiful rivers in Syria, but for our story the important river is the muddy little Jordan River in Israel. When I mention the river, I want you to make river movements with your hand, like this: (wavey movement with hand)
Oh, our story involves a disease called leprosy. In her commentary on this passage, Dr. Wil Gafney says that the disease that is called leprosy here might not be exactly the same one that we call leprosy today. That one, which we can treat with modern medicine, was very scary when there was no medicine for it. It could give you sores and make it so you couldn’t feel parts of your body, which made it easier to get hurt.
Even if this disease wasn’t the same one that we call leprosy, people were still afraid of getting it and Naaman (jingle bell) would have been worried about having it. He would be afraid to be around his family and his soldiers. We have to remember that one feeling that is driving Naaman’s actions is fear. But that won’t be the only feeling.
Now that we have assigned sounds and explained who the people are and where they live, we are ready for our story. The begins with Naaman at home in Syria.
Naaman, the commander of the Syrian army, was highly respected and esteemed by the king of Syria, because the king felt that God had helped Naaman win important battles.
He was a respected soldier and he also suffered from a skin disease people were afraid of.
In one of their raids against Israel, the Syrians had carried off a little Israelite girl, who became a slave of Naaman’s wife. It was not right for them to take people and enslave them. But, this girl would end up helping Naaman, even though it would have been fair for her to not want to.
One day, the girl who had been enslaved said to her Naaman’s wife, “If only my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would take his skin disease away.” At that time, Samaria and Judah were the two parts of Israel. Samaria was the part in the North.
When Naaman heard of this, he went to his boss, the king of Syria and told him what the girl had said. The king said, “Go to the king of Israel and take this letter to him.”
So Naaman set out, taking 30,000 pieces of silver, 6,000 pieces of gold, and ten changes of fine clothes. His king had given him all of that stuff for the King of Israel, hoping that the gift would make it more likely that the King of Israel would help Naaman. The letter is supposed to help, too. It said something like: “This letter will introduce my officer Naaman. I want you to cure him of his disease.”
When the king of Israel read the letter, he got scared. He worried that he wouldn’t be able to help Naaman and then the King of Syria would come attack his country. He said, “How can the king of Syria expect me to cure this man? Does he think that I am God, with the power of life and death? It’s plain that he is trying to start a quarrel with me!”
But, someone else was paying attention, a prophet named Elisha. God would inspire prophets who would then tell people, especially kings, how they were messing up and how they could stop messing up and do the right thing again. Elisha heard what had happened and sent word to the king of Israel: “Why are you so upset? Send the man to me, and I’ll show him that there is a prophet in Israel!” Remember how the girl who was capture talked about a prophet who could help Naaman... Well, who do you think that prophet is? Elisha. That’s right.
So Naaman went with his horses and chariot, and stopped at the entrance to Elisha’s house.
Elisha sent a servant out to tell him to go and wash himself seven times in the River Jordan, and he would be completely cured of his disease. Elisha didn’t even go talk to the general himself.
Instead of being happy to hear that there was a cure, Naaman got really mad! Naaman said, “I thought that he would at least come out to me, pray to the Lord his God, wave his hand over the diseased spot, and cure me! Besides, aren’t the rivers Abana and Pharpar, back in Damascus, better than any river in Israel? I could have washed in them and been cured!”
Naaman’s slaves went up to him and said, “Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something difficult, you would have done it. Now why can’t you just wash yourself, as he said, and be cured?” See, these slaves are smart, too. Like the girl at the beginning of the story.
So Naaman went down to the Jordan (do you think he grumbled while he did it? I do). He dipped himself in it seven times, as Elisha had instructed, and he was completely cured. His fkin became healthy again He returned to Elisha with all his men and said, “Now I know that there is no god but the God of Israel…”.
Now that all of the instruments helped us to listen closely to the story, I have some questions.
Pastor Chrissy is a native of East Tennessee. She and her wife moved to Maine from Illinois. She is a graduate of the Divinity School at Wake Forest University and Chicago Theological Seminary.