About 18 men and women who work in church libraries in various locations and denominations across Australia spent just under an hour with me yesterday thinking about healing through Biblical story. If you've been keeping up with this blog, I've been preparing for this workshop for months, off and on, so it was great that the time had come.
I told the story of Naaman, Elisha and Gehazi from 2 Kings 5.
We talked about it and discovered this story telling us of an inclusive God, who welcomes those who seek God; the way we are involved in our own healing / discovery of God, putting up barriers or giving ourselves over to the mystery of the Spirit; the way we are involved in helping or hindering others in their search for God, wholeness/ healing; the consequences of undermining the work of the Spirit - we will diminish others, tarnish grace, separate ourselves from God.
We discovered links from this story to the wider story of Elisha, Elija and the Kings of Israel and Judah; to the wider narrative of the history of Israel and this nation's relationship with God; to the greater Biblical narrative over two testaments, that continues themes of the inclusivity of God in the person of Jesus Christ, and the appropriate response to grace that is sometimes better understood by 'outsiders' than 'insiders'.
And I hope we experienced the story of God and God's relationship with humanity, hearing with fresh ears and open hearts of a God who seeks relationship with all and does not see the boundaries we humans treasure so much.
Story continues to be for me an invitation to discover God and discover ourselves whole in God, and such an invitation to sharing the hope and joy and grace of such discovery with others.