28, 2002 (Thanksgiving Day)
It happened that as he made his way toward Jerusalem, he crossed
over the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a
village, ten men, all lepers, met him. They kept their distance
but raised their voices, calling out, "Jesus, Master, have
mercy on us!"
Taking a good look at them, he said, "Go, show yourselves
to the priests."
They went, and while still on their way, became clean. One them,
when he realized that he was healed, turned around and came back,
shouting his gratitude, glorifying God. He kneeled at Jesus'
feet, so grateful. He couldn't thank him enough - and he was
Jesus said, "Were not ten healed? Where are the nine? Can
none be found to come back and give glory to God except this
outsider?" Then he said to him, "Get up. On your way.
Your faith has healed and saved you."
John Wesley's Sermon 22, "Sermon on the Mount, II"
contains an image from this passage that would connect us modern
consumers with the lepers of old. Is it helpful to imagine what
a modern-day leper might be like and that might look like you?
"Whosoever then thou art, to whom God hath given to "hunger
and thirst after righteousness," cry unto him that thou
mayest never lose that inestimable gift, -- that this divine
appetite may never cease. If many rebuke thee, and bid thee hold
thy peace, regard them not; yea, cry so much the more, "Jesus,
Master, have mercy on me!" "Let me not live, but to
be holy as thou art holy!" No more "spend thy money
for that which is not bread, nor thy labor for that which satisfieth
not." Canst thou hope to dig happiness out of the earth,
-- to find it in the things of the world? O trample under foot
all its pleasures, despise its honors, count its riches as dung
and dross, -- yea, and all the things which are beneath the sun,
-- "for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus,"
for the entire renewal of thy soul in that image of God wherein
it was originally created. Beware of quenching that blessed hunger
and thirst, by what the world calls religion; a religion of form,
of outside show, which leaves the heart as earthly and sensual
as ever. Let nothing satisfy thee but the power of godliness,
but a religion that is spirit and life; thy dwelling in God and
God in thee, -- the being an inhabitant of eternity; the entering
in by the blood of sprinkling "within the veil," and
sitting "in heavenly places with Christ Jesus."
In Sermon 99, "The Reward of Righteousness," John writes
of the benefits of the CPR training of his day. In what way are
you preparing yourself to bring people back to life that they
might find opportunity to be thankful? John puts the reward of
this work in this manner:
"Nay, it may be, you have snatched the poor man himself,
not only from the jaws of death, but from sinking lower than
the waters, from the jaws of everlasting destruction. It cannot
be doubted, but some of those whose lives you have restored,
although they had been before without God in the world, will
remember themselves, and not only with their lips, but in their
lives, show forth his praise. It is highly probable, some of
these (as one out of ten lepers); "will return and give
thanks to God," real, lasting thanks, by devotion, themselves
to his honorable service.
Whether you have reason to be thankful or are the cause of thanksgiving,
take the Taize refrain to your heart,
In the Lord I'll be ever thankful, in the
Lord I will rejoice!
Look to God, do not be afraid.
Lift up your voices, the Lord is near,
lift up your voices, the Lord is
(#2195 The Faith We Sing )
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