so generation followed generation.
most people went on with their daily lives,
some contracted leprosy,
and lived and died
in their personal tragedy.
while carrying on with life.
a few contracted leprosy
as a sobering lesson,
afflicted by God
as the consequence of their own stubborn rebellion.
moses' own sister miriam was a leader in Israel
during the exodus
and during the wanderings.
then she criticized her brother
because she thought
he was taking too much authority and power from her.
and she didn't like his wife.
God summoned miriam and aaron and moses
and visited with them.
as His holy presence withdrew,
aaron and moses looked with horror at miriam.
she was leprous.
and though moses interceded,
miriam bore her punishment
for three days,
ostracized and outcast.
king uzziah was making sweeping reforms in israel,
re-establishing the worship of Yahweh
and leading the people in a nation-wide revival.
he rejoiced in all that was being accomplished.
then the thought entered his mind
that he would like to lead the people in worship
by burning the incense
in God's holy temple.
but God had designated the priests alone
to burn the incense.
uzziah took the censor
and entered the temple.
he was met by a group of priests
who forbade him to transgress
the boundaries God had given him.
uzziah became visibly furious,
but before he could respond,
uzziah became a leper
and lived in isolation
for the remaining years of his life.
naaman, an assyrian general,
was plagued with leprosy.
through an israeli captive whom he had enslaved,
he learned of a man who served the living God, elisha,
who might be able to help him.
so he made the trip,
and was told to immerse in the jordan,
and was miraculously healed.
though he desired to give the prophet a generous gift,
and naaman went on his way,
but gehazi, elisha's servant,
disapproved of elisha's refusal,
and following naaman,
told him that elisha had some unexpected guests
and he needed some of that clothing
and some of that money
naaman gladly gave him all he desired,
and gehazi returned
and hid the goods.
but God knew,
and cursed him and his descendants
centuries more passed.
the Son of God came
and with His unlimited power
cleansed lepers of their disease.
all who came to Him,
He restored to health
oh, the joy they felt
as their physical and emotional suffering
they went to the priest
so he could go through the rituals
that would establish their new status
they were whole and restored.
and the sacrifices were offered.
a bird slain,
some scarlet string,
and bird set free over the field.
offerings for sin,
of the leper
Touched by this Poem that was read on Sunday before communion - Before I take the body of my Lord Before I share his life in bread and wine I recognize the sorry things within These I lay down The words of hope I often ...
9 months ago