A story told: “A friend of mine who is a pastor in Dallas was once teaching Sunday School with a group of children. They were reading this story of the ten lepers. ‘What do you think about this story?’ she asked after she had read it to them. One little girl answered,’Jesus must have been so happy that somebody thanked him!’”
What a positive, glass-half- full reading of this text! I wish the little girl’s interpretation could withstand the harsh realities of today’s selection from the Gospel according to Luke. Because the story’s focus is not “Isn’t it great that one returned?” It is, rather, “Why did only one return?” Do I say that just because I am a cynical adult who has lost the child’s rose colored glasses for interpreting texts?
Only one leper understands the give and take of healthy relationships. He reveals himself as someone who knew he needed healing, but also as someone compelled to return to his Healer and deepen the relationship begun with the healing. He hears Jesus declare: “Your faith has saved you.” This is faith: knowing who we are before God, gratefully coming to God and ever deepening our relationship with God. And for this we always give thanks.
Worship and thanksgiving are our yes to God’s gifts to us. They are our response in faith to a God who shares so much with us that we come to share everlasting life in God’s eternal glory.
One challenge of this gospel is to see God’s promise of salvation unfolding in the everyday events of our lives. Gratitude is an all powerful context for living our lives.