Epiphany 6 (February 15, 2009)
II Kings 5:1-14; Ps. 30; I Cor. 9:24-27; Mark 1:40-45
On Monday, Cindy visited the Latin Parish School in Wahedneh – one of MCC’s Global Family partners in northern Jordan.
The trip to Wahedneh is a journey through history, as it passes by the Roman ruins in Jerash (one of the 10 cities of the Decapolis) and the historic Ajloun Castle, which dates to the Crusader period.
Wahedneh is located on a hilltop and offers a spectacular view of the northern Jordan Valley. Cindy visited with the 5th grade class – and felt at home as a former teacher. Ten-year-olds around the world are similar and engaging! But many essential classroom resources were missing. The walls were bare and there was only one book for about 20 children. The school is using MCC’s Global Family grant to purchase books for a newly-established library.
On Saturday, MCC staff led a workshop for Jordan partners, to discuss the variety of projects that are being implemented in Jordan. A variety of Muslim and Christian partners from across Jordan attended and engaged in spirited discussion.
And Israel allowed residents of Gaza to make a shipment of flowers to Europe in time for Valentines Day.
We received news that our permits have been approved to travel to Gaza, February 16. Delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza has been politicized, as Israelis, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas all want to control what gets in to Gaza and how it is distributed.
The Common Lectionary readings this week are about recognizing our need for help.
In the Old Testament reading, Naaman, commander of the Syrian army, recognizes his need to be cured of leprosy, but is unhappy with the prophet Elisha’s methods (II Kings 5:1-14).
The psalmist cries out to God for help (Ps. 30) – against his foes (v.1), for healing (v.2) and to restore his life (v.3).
In the Epistle reading, Paul worries that, after proclaiming the gospel message to others, he himself could be disqualified. For this reason he makes every effort to run in such a way that he may be awarded the prize (I Cor. 9:24-27).
In the Gospel reading, a man with leprosy comes to Jesus begging to be healed of leprosy (Mark 1). “If you choose, you can make me clean,” the man pleads (v.40). In some of the most beautiful words in Scripture, Jesus replies simply, “I do choose. Be made clean” (v.42).
Each day holds new challenges in this region. Increasingly, we recognize our need for God’s help to navigate deep waters. The words of Jesus, “I do choose,” give great comfort each time we plead for God’s help.