Almighty God, you who are the source of our life, strength, and ministry. In your presence alone we find help, hope, and life. Send us from this hour as a healing reminder of your love to all whose lives we touch this day. Let us be thankful everyday for your gifts to us. We offer our prayers in the name of Christ. AMEN.
Jesus is traveling along a border between Samaria and Galilee. There was not a wall or guarded “crossing points” on this border. People who were between lived on this porous border. Jews from Galilee and Samaritans from Samaria lived side by side, perhaps not realizing quite who was whom. Jesus comes into a village and 10 lepers call out to him from a distance, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” Jesus shouts back, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” All ten turn and walk away – perhaps hopefully – perhaps curious – perhaps not knowing what to do. Let’s read the scripture.
Luke 17:11-19 NIV
Jesus Heals Ten Men With Leprosy
11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.
15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
This coming weekend we will celebrate the Feast of Thanksgiving which is observed on Thursday, Nov 23rd. There are many national, regional, and family traditions which surround this day. Extravagant food preparation, sharing, eating, watching football, and gathering together are the most common. Don’t get so busy that the most essential tradition gets overlooked. This essential tradition has nothing to do with how much food, family, or fun is being enjoyed. Simply give thanks to God for all God’s gifts given and shared in this past year. Give God thanks that you are breathing and present and able to witness another opportunity to give God thanks.
God gives abundant gifts to all people. Just like the nine lepers who were healed many receive and simply keep on going to celebrate and enjoy God goodness. God is good. As disciples let’s pay attention to the 10th leper who returned to Jesus healed and praising God in a loud voice. Bow in prayer and thank Jesus for his good gifts and hear the affirmation, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” (18).
Recognize the source of all provision, blessings, and healing. Faith is the conduit for healing and the more open we are to the source of healing, the more healing that can be realized. Thanksgiving is the recognition of God’s good gifts being poured out into our lives. When we give thanks, we are realizing God’s faithfulness and good gifts given to us.
Also, recognize that healing and thanksgiving can be realized in “border regions.” Places in between or out of our comfort zones. Jesus is still there walking and healing. Those who will receive are also in these “border regions” and some are even “those other people” – like Samaritans. Listen for the thanksgiving and faith of others and celebrate with them as well. God blesses all who have faith. Let us who claim the faith encourage others to recognize God’s faithfulness to them and give thanks and praise for God’s gifts.
Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Blessings, Pastor Tom