13 October 2019
Tim preached on Luke 17: 11-19
He asked to think about borders . Jesus was walking between the border of Samaria and Galilee. But it could be anywhere today Mexico USA, Scotland England, uk Europe. Only one of the lepers, the foreigner the stranger the outsider came back to thank Jesus. The act of healing was bigger than just healing the leprosy. Tim’s guess is the others went running to the priests to get clearance to go home to their families.
Welcoming the stranger is an important message. Would we welcome those from the other side of the wall. Jesus uses the woman at the well and the Good Samaritan to show a similar message.
No doubt the other nine headed to their family to share their good news. Luke implies that we need a whole new relationship with God.
What are we thankful for? We touched in this on our Alpha course this week. We’re quick to criticise but slow to give thanks . You can see this in Google reviews or TripAdviser. It’s easier to focus on the bad. We’re slow to recognise that the people involved are human like us. We’re slow to thank. Ephesians chapter 5 shows this. God is the source of everything, everything breathe we take (Tim resisted the urge to sing that song!)
WE need to find the things you can be thankful for our in the created world.
To get a good view requires a lot of effort sometimes. But even at sea level here in Hartlepool we can count our blessings. Use spiritual discipline to list what you are thankful for and list them before God. This seems to be a healthy thing to do.
Eucharist means thanksgiving. Let us cultivate a heart of gratitude and thanksgiving. People who are thankful tend to be lovely people.
Cultivate this as we go back into our communities.
But there’s something else here, Jesus would not have met these men if he hadn’t ventured into our borderlands. Do we do this ? Or are we reluctant to embrace people who are different from us. How might we equip people for that task.
Perhaps going to the borderlands means joining a club, a group. We may often find that Jesus is already out there.
Living without judgement. The man who came back would have been a reject in the eyes of the community even without the leprosy. God really loves the stranger, the other , the people over different faith. Today’s media love to highlight difference. Tim showed the video One Day where Israelis of different backgrounds came together to sing together to share a positive message . People from all walks of life celebrating in three languages praying for a day where peace will arrive. It’s a brave thing to do. Jesus had an annoying habit of reaching out into communities that no one loved. Tim shared the experience of a fellow minister from Burnley who on the day of the riots there was challenged to get to meet people he did not know from other faiths in the aftermath of the riots. Living on these edges is where Jesus wants us. Refugees drug users people of other faiths. Where would Jesus be nowadays? Would he be sitting here with us.
Let us live with gratitude and thankfulness.