October 16 Edevotional
11 On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he entered a village, ten men with skin diseases approached him. Keeping their distance from him, 13 they raised their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, show us mercy!”
14 When Jesus saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” As they left, they were cleansed. 15 One of them, when he saw that he had been healed, returned and praised God with a loud voice. 16 He fell on his face at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. 17 Jesus replied, “Weren’t ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 No one returned to praise God except this foreigner?” 19 Then Jesus said to him, “Get up and go. Your faith has healed you.” Luke 17:11-19
What does it mean to “know God?” What does it mean to grow in a life of faith? The one person with the skin disease, told by Jesus to go show herself to the priest, runs with the others in that direction before turning around and running back. Something happened in her mind and in her heart along that run with the others. What was it that stopped her in her tracks and caused her to turn around?
Whether you consider Jesus as fully God or not, it was in the turning around and going back to Jesus, where the gift of faith is found. It is in the realization of grace and mercy, in the stopping to wonder, in the falling down and giving thanks that this person is made well and whole. It is not in the proclamation of wellness by the priest or the church. The church is not the keeper of faith. Church is where we come to celebrate faith together. Where we fall at our knees in worship and thanksgiving for who God is in our life. Where we come together to learn and grow in our faith. Where we can allow our wonders to settle into our heart and soul and change us.
Practicing our faith, practicing a stance of openness and curiosity; of learning and growth, that stance in Hebrew called hitlamdut, is what opens us to the experience of faith. It is that openness to wonder and curiosity that children who are loved can practice almost naturally. It is an opening ourselves to learning from all people and experiences, even outside our natural areas of focus. And it is then allowing the learning to change us.
It can be difficult to look for “learnings” outside of our natural area of focus. It is perhaps easier for the foreigner in Luke’s story, to see the grace and mercy. It’s new. It takes practice to allow these learnings to “get inside” of us and make an impact on the way we feel and think about the world. Blessings on your practice. I am praying for you as I hope you will pray for me.
Pastor Sherrie Lowly