Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
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November 10th, 2010
by

Barbara Dilly

Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.
“But when the kindness and generous love of God our savior appeared, not because of any righteous deeds we had done but because of his mercy,” those words would be good to stencil on a wall in our homes where we could see them daily.  They would serve to remind us that God does indeed surround us with kindness and generous love as much as they remind us that it isn’t because of our own doing.  Both lessons are present in our readings for today. 

I love the wording of the 23rd Psalm in this text.  It is so lyric in revealing the structure of our relationship with God.  It is all about kindness and generous love.  You can read it over and over with the lyrical response “The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want” revealing the enthusiasm and rapture most of us feel when reading this beloved Psalm.   
But all of that so often gets lost in our way through life, as Jesus found when he encountered the ten lepers on his way to Jerusalem.  Nothing could have been more rapturous than being healed of leprosy, yet only one out of ten realized and acknowledged that the kindness and generous love that had healed him was a gift of mercy from God. 

Now I have been doing some reading about how Christ’s healing was seen by people of various cultures while he was engaged in his ministry.  I’m doing some research on the role of Christianity in defining healing ministries in various times and places to understand how various contemporary congregations engage in this work.   I find that there were many healers of all sorts about the region where Jesus preached, taught, and healed and people sought them out regularly for various illnesses.  It took some time for Jesus to build up a reputation for being someone more than just a healer.  So when the lepers saw him along the road, they knew who he was.  They knew it was God’s mercy that healed them.  So why did only one leper acknowledge it? 

I think that question is ours.  We know who God is and what God does in our lives.  But so seldom do we acknowledge the grace in which we have our being and good fortune.  None of it is our own doing; it is all by the grace of God.  Yet, we live in an individualistic meritocratic society where we think everyone gets what they deserve based on how hard they work and how much they do the right things.  We are like the nine other lepers who go joyfully on our way, after encountering good luck.   These lessons are good timing for us now that most of us are considering our stewardship pledges for the next year.  Will we be one of the nine or will we be like the Samaritan who fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him? 

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