Today, my quiet time focussed on the story of the ten leper’s. It’s an interesting account told in Luke’s Gospel chapter 17 vs. 11 – 19.
Jesus is travelling towards Jerusalem when a group of leper’s call out for pity. Jesus heals them but, only one returns to say “thank you”. Luke points out, and Jesus comments, that the one who returns is a Samaritan – an outsider.
Two things occurred to me as I looked at this passage. Firstly, I realised that before their healing, their national identity did not matter. They were all in the same boat, they banded together for protection and support in their common humanity. If you like, their need took priority over identity.
In the face of the real challenges in our world today, are we in danger of drawing lines and distinctions that, actually, do not matter? Are we quick to see the “otherness” in people rather than our common humanity?
I then went on to think about the nine that rushed off without giving thanks to God for the healing. It is easy to judge but, for a few moments, I tried to put myself in their shoes. If it was me, how would I have responded?
There must have been so much that was going through their minds. “Must see the priest”; “catch up with the kids”; “check if I still have a job”; “I wonder what became of ….?” In their hurry to do all the right and good things, what had actually happened to them just slipped from their minds.
To be honest, I am not much different.
I am at that time of year when I am in the middle of preparation for Advent and Christmas. There is a lot to do. Planning, preparation and getting all in place ready for the festive season. As I look at my diary, I know already, it’s going to be pretty full on!
I find myself rushing from activity to plans to further activity. It’s all important and it’s all good stuff but, there is a danger. In my determination to get done all that has to be done, I can miss God in the here and now.
I think, that is what happened to the nine leper’s in the story. It wasn’t that they were ungrateful. I think they were just so overwhelmed with all that needed to be done that, they lost sight of God in the here and now.
As I spent some time reflecting on this passage, it began to speak to me about focus. Jesus was once asked about which law was the most important. His reply was about focus;
Jesus said, “The first in importance is, ‘Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment that ranks with these.”
(Mark 12 vs. 29 – 31 – The Message)
Sometimes, I need to re-focus, how about you?