2 Kings 5: 1-14; Mark 1: 40-45
In today’s passage, we just read the stories about the two lepers who were freed from their entanglements which was a disease. The idea that freedom means the absence of hindrance may be popular, but it does not hold weight. Freedom is not the absence of entanglements. Rather, entanglements are the means by which freedom becomes meaningful.
Now I want us to relate ourselves to these stories. I know none of us likely has leprosy. However, we can read leprosy in the text as a metaphor for all kinds of diseases and malfunctions we have been struggling with.
How about the contagious and social diseases with a stigma attached such as HIV or Covid 19? It may be a lot like leprosy. How about all kinds of addictions that have power over us? It may be a lot like leprosy. How about the broken relationships—a failed marriage or a failed relation between kids or parents? It may be a lot like leprosy. How about bad decisions, and the wish that we could undo them, but cannot find a way? It may be a lot like leprosy. How about hate and brutality and gun violence and domestic violence and discrimination and poverty? And how about numbness and being cynical to new hope and beginning? It may be a lot like leprosy.
Well, we all know that we do not have a one-time solution for those problems we have been facing. The reality is tougher than we imagine. As a nation, the USA, we are so strong. We look pretty good from the outside; however, some areas we know are not healthy.
As we celebrate the Fourth of July, celebrating our freedom in the sweet land of liberty, I invite us to look at some dark corners overlooked, neglected, and covered that are sick with leprosy. Think of the problems we have and face for which, in reality, no one has a clear answer. Maybe money, power, or a policy can be a solution sometimes; but soon we realize that those ways are finite. As Naaman’s status and riches could not cure his leprosy himself, today the US’s status in the World and richness cannot cure our leprosy itself.
Paul, in the book of Galatians, chapter 5, says “For freedom Christ has set us free.” As we all know that Christian freedom is not unrestrained permission to do whatever we want to do. For Paul, freedom to love and serve in the manner of Jesus is God’s intention for us. Thus, Paul gives us the best way to test whether our freedom is being misused or not. Our freedom in Christ is not shown by what we do, but it is shown by the fruit we bear—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
I invite us to take today’s stories into our hearts--not only celebrate the freedom we have but also to look at it closely and carefully knowing whether our freedom is being misused or not. Our freedom is not shown when we do whatever we please; but it is shown by our character and fruits we bear each and every day.
Thanks be to God.