November 28, 2002 (Thanksgiving Day)

Luke 17:11-19

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 Samaritan.

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."

[The Message]


1. 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."

2. 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.

3. 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 near.
(#2195 The Faith We Sing )

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