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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Today’s Reading | Luke 17:11–19

On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” When he saw them, he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were made clean. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.” (NRSV)


It’s not really surprising, is it, that the Samaritan returned to thank Jesus. Jesus had, after all, restored him to life. The one whose existence had been defined by his physical condition had been returned to health. No longer unclean, he could now return to his family, his community, the practice of his faith.

But is it all that surprising that the other nine did not return to give their thanks as well? Might they not have been unable to contain their eagerness to be assured of their cleanness by the priest, to reunite with family? Is not sharing joy, celebrating joy, simply enjoying joy often a first reaction to situations, moments, events when gratitude is also a fitting response?

How many times does being caught up in the joy distract us from returning praise and thanks? And what about the smaller moments, the quieter joys—how often do we remember to give thanks for those gifts? The bedtime prayer my parents taught me as a child begins, “Thank you, Jesus, for this day.” Bedtime became a moment to reflect on the blessings of the day. And what I’ve found as an adult, when the lines of that prayer come to me at bedtime, are the many blessings of the day I overlooked. But through the discipline of giving thanks, the joys and blessings and graces of life, no matter how small, become powerful and redeeming.


Thank you, Jesus, for this day, for blessings great and small. Thank you. Amen.

Written by Ann Rehfeldt, Director of Communications

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