Matins Devotion: September 8, 2023
Part of being a Christian is learning to rejoice in boring things, or the things that seem quite boring. This is a lesson Naaman learns in our reading from 2 Kings today. Despite his leprosy, Naaman is a mighty man leading the mighty army of a mighty nation. His land has big glorious beautiful flowing rivers. And presumably, the pagan priests of his nation do big amazing acts of majesty and wonder when they call upon their gods. Sure, they couldn’t heal him of his leprosy. But at least they made a big show.
So Naaman gets angry when he’s told, second hand, to wash himself seven times in the Jordan. Why didn’t the prophet come out and do something interesting? Why does he have to settle for the waters of this piddly little stream? And yet, when Naaman begrudgingly does exactly this, in those boring waters, he finds the healing that no pagan fireworks could give him.
Plain old words. Plain old water. Plain old bread and wine. While the false religions of this world promise you spectacle and wonder, none of them can deliver the actual spectacle and wonder, the kingdom, the power, or the glory that God gives to you in the word and sacraments. And God gives you these unfathomable gifts through ordinary, boring things because He wants you to know that He has come to be the Savior of ordinary, boring people. The God who promises salvation to the mighty military commander is the same God who gave up everything to make the nameless, faceless soldier dying on the battlefield His own. The blood of Jesus delivers all the love of God to the seemingly worthy and the worthless alike. God your Father in heaven adores you and cherishes you and finds you fascinating, even when the world finds you boring and uninspired and entirely disposable.. That’s the promise you have every time you see something as common as water, or bread or wine, and when you hear the word of salvation from the lips of an uninspiring figure whose name no one will remember in a generation.
Rejoice in the “boring” gifts of the Christian Church. Because, within them, you have the radiant, shining, eternally fascinating glory of God placed into your hands.