In Luke’s world it was a given that having leprosy meant your life was over. You were a kind of walking dead, isolated from your community and a threat to public health. Only the town priest could restore you to the community. Without dramatic improvement in your condition, that was not going to happen.
In a situation like that, one either dies or decides there’s nothing to lose. So when Jesus comes through, ten such afflicted souls cry out to him for mercy. Jesus, being in the mercy business, tells them to go to the priest. On the way, they are cured! If you had been standing between them and the synagogue, you would have soon had footprints on your back!
There is one person in this group who is different. Specifically, he is a Samaritan. (There goes Luke again, always surprising us with our own prejudices—as in the Parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10!) Yet there is something more fundamental here. This man discovers that with God there are no givens, only gifts. There had been no guarantee of healing; yet, he is healed anyway. Then, since gratitude seemed his only way of responding, he thanks Jesus for healing him. By that act of gratitude, everything changed; it brought not only healing but salvation.
Gratitude allows us to see everything with strange, new sight. Gratitude is not interested in givens or guarantees, only gifts. Oh, you can accept gifts without gratitude. But then you cannot see that the only given, the only constant, is God’s love. In a world with more than enough heartbreak, forgetting God’s love is a tragedy that, thankfully, we can avoid, no matter who we are!
Dear Lord, in the times when I feel hopeless and helpless, you are there. Your gift of unconditional love is always surprising. Thank you for healing my body, heart, and soul. Amen.
Through Jeremiah, God sends a message to the people in exile: They are to seek good for the city of Babylon, their new home. God will bless the city and in doing so will bless God’s people. The psalmist encourages the people to praise God with songs recounting past challenges through which God’s powerful deeds have brought them. This can be encouragement for those currently experiencing difficulties. In Second Timothy, Paul encourages his protégé to endure suffering if necessary. In fact, Timothy should expect to experience resistance. Although the apostle Paul is in chains, the word of God is powerful and can never be chained. The story in Luke reminds us of a basic truth: We should remember to show gratitude to God for answered prayers.
Read Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7. When have you experienced physical or metaphorical exile? How has God helped you to thrive in your Babylon?
Read Psalm 66:1-12. Recall a time of division in your family or community of faith. How did God bring you individually and collectively to a spacious place?
Read 2 Timothy 2:8-15. How do you remember Christ in your actions toward others?
Read Luke 17:11-19. What boundaries keep you from full wellness that can be found in Jesus Christ?
Respond by posting a prayer.