In the first lesson today the only thing that separated Naaman from health was his pride. It was his servants who came to him and said, "if the prophet had commanded you to do something difficult, would you not have done it?”
The leprosy people suffered in the time of Jesus would have rendered the individual with little or nothing to have pride in. In the Gospel lesson today healing was instantaneous. But the one who was cured still had to endure a visitation from a priest to determine if he could re-join society.
Both people were victims of pride, Naaman suffered from his own pride and the leper from the pride and fear of his neighbours.
Pride is a double edged sword. On the one had, it can be destructive to the proper wellbeing and development of relationships. This is so when people are too filled with pride to do something simple to bring healing. In Naaman’s case it was simply a bath. In our lives it might be as easy as saying, “I forgive you,” or “please forgive me,” or, “I love you.” On the other hand, pride can be a positive and live-giving force in our lives. It can cause us to take care of ourselves, our family and friends, and our property. It can help us foster healthy relationships with strangers and heal broken relationships with enemies.
Pride can cause a war to last years and pride can help us bring peace sooner. It all depends on our attitude. I think that even though Paul admonished us to, “run in such a way that you may win,” he knows that the point is that we cross that finishing line together.
In the Collect today we are reminded that Jesus Christ healed the sick and, “restored them to wholeness of life.” And that God’s compassion will, “make whole all peoples and nations.” Not just some, but all.
The Annual Meeting and everything we do is for this purpose, to put aside unhelpful pride in favour of healthy pride so that we can help bring all people to an awareness of their true image, that of the Divine.