Emmitsburg Council of Churches

 

The holy gospel according to St. Luke 17:11-10

On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. 17:12 as he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, 17:13 they called out, saying, "Jesus, master, have mercy on us!" 17:14 when he saw them, he said to them, "go and show yourselves to the priests." and as they went, they were made clean. 17:15 then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising god with a loud voice. 17:16 he prostrated himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. 17:17 then Jesus asked, "were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? 17:18 was none of them found to return and give praise to god except this foreigner?" 17:19 then he said to him, "get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well."

This is the gospel of the lord, praise to you o Christ!


My grace is sufficient for you

This past week I had two occasions to be at the seminary and share some of my pastoral experience with the students there. So, you might like to know what I shared about my first 4.5 years in ministry here at Elias. . . .

Part of the story I told was regarding how things were just before I came. Some of you may recall, that things were not exactly perfect around here at the end of the summer of 2003 . . . and we don't need to recall nor rehash any of the painful details of that time, because, thanks be to god, we have experienced a great healing of our church since that time. And I believe I speak for the whole congregation when I say, that even pastor Dave was able to experience the healing time that Christ made possible for us over this past year when he came for the anniversary and again when he shared a the word in preaching and music a few months ago.

This we ought to realize, is nothing less than a miracle, a little different, but similar, to that which our Samaritan leper did experience with Jesus on the road there between Samaria and Galilee so long ago.

What a great reason, that Samaritan had in returning to Jesus after he was healed of leperosy. His whole life was restored and given back to him.

I know we have spoke often about healing with Jesus, it is never single faceted, but when Jesus speaks healing into your life the change is more complex than just the physical manifestation, with Jesus the great physician, healing is always multi-faceted and holistic.

My wife, Suse, helped me this morning with a few additional descriptions about healing and wholeness: to be healed can mean that one feels or experiences and or all of the following life changing events:

Stress reduction, reintegration, gaining control of one's circumstances or destiny, self actualization, maximal health, being confident (any teens out there going through the stages of adolescence, where you feel that everyone is staring at the acne on your nose?? ooh that's a bad feeling), self assured, fulfilled in who you are, satisfied with life, at peace with oneself or at peace with others (god!), Self confident, self esteem, feelings of wellness, relaxed, cured, healthy, . . . physically/mentally well, integrated with life and community, maximized well being.

That's a pretty good start on a holistic healing, wouldn't you agree? We could take any one of these healing attributes and further elaborate on what it would mean to gain or regain that quality in your life. What a difference it would make if any one of us became more self assured or more confident. Certainly both of these qualities would certainly be gained if one was delivered of leprosy!

This is what the Samaritan in our story today experienced. Because he was reintegrated into the community. He was found worthy once again to be a member of society. He/she could experience being accepted in the public square, shopping freely in the market place. Getting a job and socializing. Now he or she can go to worship god without fear of being unclean.

How does that strike you. Do you have any fear of being unclean before god or neighbors? I think in many ways our society has a way of labeling us as unclean or unacceptable based on the way we dress or the way we where our hair or our accent or the color of our skin. I could go on with that list. But whether we have a physical ailment, which singles us out in the crowd, or an inner bitterness or moral flaw that only god and your closest confidants know about . . . Jesus can deliver, Jesus can save, Jesus can restore you to wholeness!

Martin Luther spoke of Christians as being nothing but beggars! He was referring to our utter inability to do anything that could please god, and because of our inability to save ourselves before a holy god, Luther found that our only hope was to beg for god's mercy . . . much like the lepers in the lesson who cried out for Jesus' mercy.

Does this surprise or offend you . . . well don't be, because, after all every Sunday we cry out to Jesus, lord have mercy! Kyrie Eleison lord have mercy!

Regardless of whether you sing it or say, the Kylie Eleison, lord have mercy, is very much a scriptural response within our prayer life and within the prayers of the church over the centuries. There has always been a continual cry for god and for Jesus to come to our aid, to forgive our selfish ways, or to provide for us what we can't imagine grace and that all will be well when it seems not to be.

To all of these cries of lord have mercy, Jesus responds: "my grace is sufficient for you." Go and show yourself to the priest. And on our way we are made whole once again by Jesus. And now it is up to us on how we will respond to our new estate as redeemed persons. Will we return to give thanks?

Amen

Read more writings of Pastor Jon