|I am captivated by our gospel lesson this week. Read it through a few times, lectio style. What jumps out at you?All of the men in this story are made well, and yet only one comes back. Ten men suffer from some form of skin disease. A disease that made them ritually unclean, which meant that they couldn’t participate in the Temple–the center of their faith. Not able to practice their faith, they were probably ostracized from their community, feeling isolated and abandoned. And so, Luke tells us, when these ten men realize Jesus is coming, they call out and ask if he would have mercy on them and cure them.
And he does. “When Jesus saw them, he said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, they were made clean.” Luke continues, “Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He stretched himself on the ground at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan”
I think it is important for us to notice that it’s only one who comes back. Because Jesus notices, asking, “‘Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’” Jesus’ response I get. He just cured ten, instructing them to go to the Temple and show themselves to the priests so that they might be restored to their faith practice and their community. Jesus did exactly that they askedhim to. And yet of the ten, only one bothers to come back and thank him.
Not wanting to turn this into a sermon, but I think it is important we also hold onto Jesus’ response to the Samaritan. He offers this blessing, “‘Get up and go on your way; your faith has saved you.’” So ten were made clean, but only one was saved. Ten were made clean, but only one was made whole. Ten were made clean, but only one recognized it and gave thanks and, in giving thanks, became what God had intended all along….for each and every one of us.
Gratitude is such an important thing! Noticing grace, seeing goodness, paying attention to healing, stopping to take in blessing, and giving thanks for the ordinary and extraordinary of our life together. This is the heart of our faith.
And gratitude is what we will offer on Sunday as we celebrate Common Life Church and Farm growing to the point where they now can step out from under Pilgrim’s umbrella of care to journey forward independently. What hard work we have done over these past 2 years to come to this place. Our prayer will be that come October 2020, Common Life will be recognized and received by the Southern Conference as a fully formed UCC congregation.
We will journey side by side, continuing to support and celebrate all that Common Life will accomplish, but it is good and right to turn back give thanks and praise God.
See you Sunday.