Over the next few days I ask that you spend some time reading Luke Chapter 17 through chapter 18:30.
For today, I want to lift up Luke 17:11-19.
As we have been traveling through Lent we have been thinking about turning, reorienting ourselves toward God’s vision for the world. This story of the ten lepers has a literal turning in it. Jesus, traveling toward Jerusalem, encounters ten lepers who shout “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” Jesus instructs them to show themselves to the priests and as they follow Jesus’ directions they are made clean. One of them, rather than continuing on to the priests, turns back to Jesus to praise God and give him thanks. He literally turned back, signally that the act of giving thanks is more important than being certified by the priests.
But that isn’t the only turning. A big deal is made out of the fact that this grateful leper was a Samaritan, an outsider. I think that this Gospel writer includes this story not only with the hope that we turn toward Jesus with gratitude like the newly healed man does, but that we turn toward outsiders like Jesus does. Jesus continues to turn his attention to those we don’t expect: lepers, Samaritans, lost coins, and lost sheep. When we keep turning we may just lay our eyes on the ones Jesus sees. When we keep turning we may discover that Jesus is looking right at us. When we keep turning we may be so surprised that we turn back to give thanks.
In Peace, Pastor Ruth
Let us pray:
We are turning, Lord, to hear you, see you, and know you. You are merciful and kind, slow to anger, rich in blessings. With every twist and turn, lead our steps back to your grace and your mercy. Lead us in your ways of new life, forgiveness, and re-creation. We pray in the name of Christ, the one who reveals your love, Amen.