How Many Miracles?

“Now the Arameans on one of their raids had taken a young girl captive from the land of Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, ‘If only my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.'” – 2 Kings 5:2-3

“…his flesh was restored like the flesh of a young boy, and he was clean.” – 2 Kings 5:14

The first of the miracles was a girl enslaved,
who’d been torn from her home and forced to serve.
She was not embittered. She retained compassion.
She directed her “lord” to a prophet with power.

The general went to the king, and the king went and wrote
to a king, who in fury and fear rent his clothes.
By a miracle word reached the prophet, who said,
“Send the general here to be well.”

With chariots and horses and servants he came,
but only a messenger stood at the gate,
for the prophet, miraculously still unimpressed
remained in the house; directives he sent.

Now the general cursed and would fly down the road,
back to his home with his malady still.
“He told me to wash!” he denounced the directives,
and he would have rejected the miracles, save…

That his servants (among them, assuredly, slaves)
miraculously summoned their courage and said,
“It’s too simple for you? You can do what is hard.
Do the simple thing. See if it works.”

By a miracle the pride of the general faded.
He listened to those whom the culture despised.
He’d followed advice of a girl and a slave,
now the wisdom of slaves took him to Jordan’s side.

In the washing, the general found his skin cleansed.
A miracle true, a healing assured, his status restored.
A miracle once more: He sought out the prophet.
He raised up his thanks and he praised Israel’s God.

A series of miracles, built upon miracles,
a general who thanked, a general who listened
to slaves who cared and a prophet who ordered –
But the first of the miracles was a girl enslaved.

A poem/prayer based on 2 Kings 5:1-3, 7-15c, the Revised Common Lectionary Gospel Reading for Year C, Proper 23 (28).

Biblical illustration of 2 Kings 5:3 by Jim Padgett, courtesy of Sweet Publishing, Ft. Worth, TX, and Gospel Light, Ventura, CA. Copyright 1984. Released under new license, CC-BY-SA 3.0 by Distant Shores Media/Sweet Publishing, CC BY-SA 3.0,

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