This week’s passages have a traditional interpretation that we’re familiar with, but these exercises attempt to get you to look deeper into those passages.
There are so many players in this passage: Naaman, the young girl, Naaman’s lord, the king of Israel, Elisha, Elisha’s messenger, Naaman’s servants. Pick one of them and rewrite their part of the passage from their perspective. Why did they do what they did? How hard was it to do what they did?
This can be a difficult psalm for someone with a chronic or terminal illness as the psalmist celebrates having their health restored by God. The psalm is a contradiction of weeping and dancing.
Fold a piece of paper in half (8.5″ x 11″ into 8.5″ x 5.5″) and write “Then you hid your face and I was filled with fear” at the unfolded 8.5″ side. Include in words or pictures times when you have wailed or wept or felt abandoned.
Then turn the page and write “You have turned my wailing into dancing” at the top and include times when God has lifted you. When you’re finished unfold the sheet and see how both have been in your life.
This is a passage with contradictions like “Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” and “For all must carry their own loads.” They are contradictions because if everyone is carrying their own load, then how can we bear one another’s burdens?
Depending on which translation or paraphrase you use, this may be more or less confusing if “burden” is used in both verses or if the author attempts to explain by rephrasing. Compare a few translations. Then write what you think Paul was saying.
Christian art in the 17th and 18th centuries often depicted the passage in several stages for people who were illiterate. Click here for an image by Christoph Weigel of Jesus instructing a couple pair of missionaries. The PDF will allow you to see all of the detail. Read slowly through the passage and pay attention to the phrases that stick out to you. Create your own artwork to explain the passage to someone who can’t read.