You Mean There’s More?

A Sermon from Luke 17: 11-19

So, I totally missed the whole murder hornet thing this year.  I remember it crossing my newsfeed in Facebook and I just kept on going.  “Not one more thing!”  No way could I handle one more thing in 2020. 

But this story about healing keeps adding more and more to Jesus’ healing of ten people with what was then called leprosy, and it turns out the more that’s added is a good thing.

First Jesus comes and strikes out at sin and oppression and death, the plague that divides us from one another, causes us to shun one another in fear.  And nine out of ten go happily on their way, thinking how lucky they were, or how great they were to receive this blessing.  And they go back to normal – ah what we’re all craving, to just go back to normal (no matter who normal may hurt).

But one man sees that there’s so much more to what’s going on here.  He returns and he falls prostrate – he falls on his face – thanking God, thanking the God of a Jewish man, the God of his enemies – for Jesus points out – he is a Samaritan.  And even Jesus is touched – you wonder if tears came to his eyes – if it was one of those days when he just felt like no one really cared about him and his message.  But in this one man it bore fruit.  It mattered. 

And by his faith, he was made well, not only from his disease but from so much more – from the way things always were, from division and divisiveness, from the who’s in who’s out that makes our human world go round.  This one man did not go back to normal – he reached for a new normal – the new normal we sometimes talk about, that looks a whole lot different, now that we have taken some time to learn gratitude even in the midst of a deadly disease.  A new normal that values justice for all above individual rights, a new normal that holds up community well-being above personal wealth accumulation, a new normal that sees people – really looks at them – and wants to know their stories, and takes time to know their stories, because there’s more to life than being far too busy to care, a new normal that makes time for gratitude, not only once a year, but over and over and over again.  That slows down to say thank you.

Hear this whole passage and our sermon from the first Sunday in Advent here.