October 9, 2016
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!
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:
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."