Archive for September 11, 2011

REORIENTATION OR LIFE AS USUAL?

September 11, 2011

This new insight has been rattling around in my head all day today:

Here’s a Sunday School picture of today’s Reading….  I usually like more realistic  pictures, but this one has some additional elements that I was thinking about.    The Gospel Reading concerned the Ten Lepers whom Jesus healed, and the return of the Samaritan, back to Jesus, to give him thanks and praise.

The lessons are familiar to us:  We teach children about gratitude from this story;   we learn about obedience to the things Jesus tells us to do and we learn about the meaning of faith in what Jesus can do.

But in today’s sermon I heard this thought:   The Ten men were told to “Go, show yourselves to the priests.”  Then, after that , as they went on their way in obedience, they were healed.    I don’t know;  if I had a terrible, fatal, disfiguring disease and I found myself cured,  I’d feel pretty happy and grateful.   Like the picture shows those men in the background.

Gratitude isn’t the only lesson to learn here.

The priests were a part of the culture of those days, and  familiar  to those ten men in their everyday lives.    There were certain protocols to follow if you think you might be cured of leprosy.  The priests would inspect carefully and then declare you cured,  or not.   And if cured, then there were certain rituals and sacrifices of thanksgiving and praise.

And then with a whole lot of happiness and possibly life-long gratitude, the ten men could continue on with their lives, just as they had expected to before they had gotten sick.

But the one man didn’t do that.     Before he got to the priests in the Temple, he reversed himself and went back toward Jesus.   It’s this reversal that reoriented his whole life towards Jesus.

Did he realize that the other priests could only confirm his cure, but that Jesus was the One High Priest of God who had the power to not only affirm the cure but to also produce the cure?    Did he realize that his thanksgiving to God could be given to the Son of God standing before him?

What he perceived, however veiled was his understanding,  is that Jesus is the Source of our Light and Life and of our health and safety, body and soul.     All praise and glory and thanksgiving to our High Priest from Heaven.    This grateful ex-leper perceived that it’s a Whole New Day with the Son of God present among us.

If this tenth man had gone on to the other priests to offer his thanksgiving,   he would have been choosing  life as usual.    Instead, he chose to orient himself anew toward Jesus, Son of God, our Redeemer.

The thought rattling around in my head?    Every moment of every day I should be orienting myself toward Jesus, returning to Him, choosing to make Him my center,  as this man did;  otherwise it will be a whole, dreary, ordinary “life as usual.”

 

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