October 9, 2016
About 10 minutes after worship ends, we’ll gather together for Aftertalk. We hope you’ll join us! Bring your questions, stories, insights, doubts, musings, imaginings and whatever else you need. Join us for some fellowship, laughter and ample space for reflection and real questions to help us reflect on the implications of our faith and make the transition from worship to world.
Readings for this Sunday:
Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7 • Psalm 66:1-12 • 2 Timothy 2:8-15 • Luke 17:11-19
The story in Luke is a familiar one to many. Jesus and his followers encounter ten lepers whom he quickly heals, instructing them, "Go and show yourselves to the priest." Nine disappear never to be heard from again. But one turns back and gives thanks, a Samaritan. This is interesting for a number of reasons. One, we might wonder what good it would have done for him to go to the priest. He wasn't a Jew, and in fact would not have been welcomed. Seeing the priest would restore these former lepers to their families and communities. They would no longer have to hand around the edges, keeping a safe distance, essentially cut off. This was a big deal!
But what about the Samaritan? Did he have his own priest to go to? The story notes they were in a borderlands region, an in-between place "between Samaria and Galilee." No doubt it was a place of diversity. Perhaps it was a place of conflict. Or, like so many borderland towns we know today, was a place where people had figured out how to get along with one another in their differences—a rich cultural stew?
Finally, it is worth noting there is a difference between being made clean and being made well. Being clean allowed the former lepers to return home. But what would the return be like. We can be cured of cancer and still have the same nightly arguments with a spouse. The one leper is not just cleansed, he is made well. Literally, he is saved. What's the difference? How about in your own life? How does the church function as a borderland, a meeting place where we encounter what we need to be well? What does giving thanks have to do with it?
Another Way to Frame it:
For your Reflection
Erin Hunter, 21st century
"The only true borders lie between day and night, between life and death, between hope and loss."
Eckhart Tolle, 21st century
"Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance."
Wendell Berry, 21st century
"Healing is impossible in loneliness; it is the opposite of loneliness. Conviviality is healing. To be healed we must come with all the other creatures to the feast of Creation."
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness, 20th century
"What is the sense of giving a boundary to all that, of giving it a name and ceasing to love where the name ceases to apply? What is love of one's country; is it hate of one's uncountry?"
Marcus Tullius Cicero, 1st century BCE
"Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others."