She writes: I was in a leper colony.
Sitting in a big wood box. Kind of like a bird house. Next to a man with no hands, no tongue, no toes.
Sitting in his own excrement. His face looks like it's melting off. A few of us sit next to him. We put our hands on his shoulder, his knee. We sing to him and pray over him.
He doesn't know English. Tears come. He continuously looks up to the roof. His face is one of desperation.
His head drops into what would be his hands.
More looking up to the roof. He doesn't know what we are saying. The look that I saw in that man's eyes was a reflection of my heart. It gave face to how my inner being cried out, and still cries out, to Christ.
I can't shake this memory because I don't want to.
I have so many questions about that man's heart - his heart as in the heart that we name as the core of us that is in relationship with God.
I left there with a seed growing with the understanding that relationship and worship and salvation and spirituality and religion and truth and beauty oftentimes look a whole lot different than I would ever expect them to.
Who was he looking to when his eyes went to the roof? What came over him that brought those tears? Did that man not know Christ? Did he not have a relationship with him that blows our American perspective of relationship out of the box?
“The thanks and praise of the Samaritan was a natural response to the free and undeserved mercy of God which was his in Christ, just for the asking. He didn't earn the kindness of God. He just asked for it and it was freely given. He knew he couldn't earn it, he was an outcast, a Samaritan.”
Pumpkin Cottage Ministry Resources
Lectionary Bible Studies and Sermons
A Little Bit for Everyone
Oremus online text: http://bible.oremus.org/?passage=Luke+17:11-19&vnum=yes&version=nrsv
Textweek general resources: http://www.textweek.com/yearc/properc23.htm
Textweek resources for Luke’s Gospel this Sunday: http://www.textweek.com/mtlk/lk16b.htm
Some interesting articles on this passage:
William Loader’s thoughts:
Commentary by Chris Haslam
Lamin Sanneh teaches missions and world Christianity and history at Yale Divinity School: http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=902
Great treasures website: http://greattreasures.org/gnt/main.do
To us sinners, cleansed and forgiven, give a spirit of constant praise and thanksgiving. Let faith be our salvation and service of others our gift of thanks, as we follow your Son toward the cross and new life.
From Prayers for Sunday and Seasons, Year C, Peter J. Scagnelli, LTP, 1992.
Last week I concluded with these words:
Christians are called to live between the reign of God and the world of today. We are called to work on God’s behalf. I pray, “Heavenly father give us faith, add to our faith…for the work God give us to do is demanding. Give us some comfort Lord that we may repent when we need amendment of life and forgive when we are bound to tightly to the sin of others.” Like the pilgrims in the dessert waiting outside the caves hoping for a word from the dessert monks, we shout, “Abba, Father, give us a Word.”
This week we receive from Jesus hope for the mission. We are given a Word for the path of demanding work that lies before us.
In the narrative we see our prophet is heading to Jerusalem and his death. We have been listening to his instruction. We have begged for added faith that we may follow. So we find ourselves in Samaria and Galilee.
The ten men follow the prescription in Numbers 5:2ff to call out and warn others away from them. However, this time they call out for help. They call out for mercy.
Not unlike the apostles following Jesus, these men are forgiven, soon to be cleansed and healed. We as followers are like the lepers. We are brought into the family of God, remade sons and daughters of Abraham.
In this moment we see the expectations of the kingdom. We are not to receive thanks but we are to act out of our thanksgiving. We are to offer thanks to God for our healing, for our deliverance. As followers of Jesus gifted with the waters of Baptism and the Holy Spirit you and I are to be thankful for our adoption as full members of Christ’s reign.
We know what it is like to be an outcast, in the words of Jesus, none more so than the foreigner in our midst. Their faith has saved them.
Perhaps when we have faith, even as a mustard seed, we are not only cleansed but supported in our work of redemption and thanksgiving.
You and I are on the one hand like the disciples hungry for faith, because like the other nine we quickly forget what we have received by the grace and mercy of Jesus and long for more. Unlike the leper, with faith like a mustard seed, we struggle to remember daily, even hourly, the gifts given and to glorify God in praise and in action.
Faith therefore is not simply as it says in Hebrews 11:1 "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen," it is substantiation of things realized. When we divide faith from works and works from faith we set up both a false dichotomy of competing truths and philosophically protect the human ability to sin without accountability. Faith is the action of thanksgiving; it is the action of living life for God and for others. It is why I am a liturgical Christian where faith is enacted ritually. It is also why I am focused on the unique proclamation of the Good News of Jesus Christ - sharing what I have received. And, it is why I believe in virtuous work that enacts the Good News as it transforms the world. We as Episcopalians are in the business of enacting Eucharist at table and in the world.
Let us always be on our knees pleading for more faith and giving thanks to God by works which change lives of people, just as Jesus changed the life of the lepers.
The Lambeth Bible Study Method
This Bible study method was introduced by the African Delegation to the Lambeth Conference of the Anglican Church. It is known by both names: "Lambeth" and "African." This method is derived from the practice of Lectio Divina. The entire process should take about 30 minutes.
Question #5: "Briefly identify where this passage touches their life today," can change based upon the lesson. Find lesson oriented questions at this website: http://www.dcdiocese.org/word-working-second-question
Opening Prayer: O Blessed Lord, who caused all Holy Scripture to be written for our learning. Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them that we may embrace and hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
1. One person reads passage. This person then invites a member of the group to begin the process.
2. Each person briefly identifies the word or phrase that catches their attention then invites another person to share.
3. Each shares the word or phrase until all have shared or passed using the same invitation method.
4. The passage is read a second time, preferably from a different translation. The reader then invites a person in the group to begin the process.
5. Each person briefly identifies where this passage touches their life today, and then invites someone who has not shared yet.
6. The passage is read a third time, also from another translation, and the reader invites a person to start the process.
7. Each person responds to the questions, "What does God want me to do, to be or to change?"
8. The group stands up in a circle and holds hands. One person initiates the prayer “I thank God today for …” and “I ask God today for…” The prayer goes around the circle by squeezing the hand to your right.
9. When the circle is fulfilled, the person who initiated the prayer starts the Lord’s Prayer, “Our father…”