October 9th, 2016: "Sayings of Jesus - Part 2"

Text: Jeremiah 29:1,4-7’Psalm 66:1-12;          28th Sunday in Ordinary Time                  Sandy Nuernberg

2 Timothy 2:8-15; Luke 17:11-19                     21st Sunday after Pentecost                   Pastor

Title: “Sayings of Jesus—II” Faith/Wellness        Domestic Violence Awareness Sunday

1st Presbyterian Church                                      Sunday, October 9th, 2016                     Pardeeville, WI

 

Please pray with me, We are here today in thanksgiving for our faith and as we hear and try to digest your Word. Lord, bring your Spirit upon us to see and believe that our faith in Jesus Christ, your Son, is in our being healed, made whole, and that we are following you in our discipleship. AMEN.

 

            It’s time we must stop and listen and thank God for all that has happened to us thus far in our lives! I’d like us to take a moment and, in silence, praise (or thank) God for one thing that has happened to us in our daily living this past week (we might have many!).

 

Really, we must, as Christians and Presbyterians, take note of what faith and wellness are in the past, present, and future of our lives. Today is a time where we might praise and gratify our God for our faith in all God’s sayings, promises made in covenant to/with us. Through the living Christ healing was accomplished in his early follower’s lives as well as the wellness many of us enjoy in our lives today. Yes, today we can appreciate so much our faith in the good news of the gospel where Christ’ ministry, death and being raised from the dead was for all of us!

 

            What do we see/hear in this story in Luke that helps us understand our faith anew? Who would we identify as ‘the unclean?’ Can we believe it, or not? All ten lepers were made well. Jesus could have loved the one that returned and kneeled (prostrated, v. 16, NRSV) before him in gratitude, as he says, “Go, your faith has made you well.” Jesus surely could have despised, been disgusted with, the nine who walked away from him. Regardless, we are told that all ten were made well!

 

            What’s ironic here is that in our hearing this text one more time, in its understanding, we find that the ‘healed’ lepers are almost an afterthought! It’s what they do upon their healing that we ponder, wonder; nine left the scene and carried on with their lives after being cured. One returned to Jesus in thankfulness for his being healed and loved.

 

            Many scholars seem to drift in sympathy toward the simple nine that went away, like in Jesus’ question, “what happened to the other nine, where are they?” For sure, they obeyed, went along with it all and were cleansed of their leprosy. In Jesus’ day only the priests could declare the people were ‘clean’ in society. Yes, they (the nine) are to be commended as they followed Jesus’ command. Ironically, we really aren’t told, are we, if they went to the priests, or where they went and what they did in their life after being healed? They certainly could have thought it was ‘about time’ or that ‘it was my turn, I deserved it!’ Isn’t it true, sometimes we don’t understand God’s ‘ways?’

 

            Today, I’d like us to focus on the one Samaritan, the foreigner, who turned back, literally fell down in thanksgiving at Jesus’ feet. In a loud voice he praised God! This grateful leper received a wellness, a healthfulness that prompted Jesus to tell him to ‘go and get up and move on’ in his life because his faith had made him well. We might ask, what are these sayings of Jesus about our faith and wellness all about?

 

            First, Luke’s story is all about faith, it seems to me. Faith happens on the walks of Jesus into Jerusalem to his death---in fact, he is walking to Jerusalem in Luke for the last half of the gospel, and meets, greets, teaches and heals many of his followers. We’ve shared the meanings of faithfulness in many scriptural stories these past months in Luke; faith through those lost and found, faith through grace, faith in forgiveness and reconciliation.

 

            Second, for me, faith in healing is quite powerful in nurturing our thoughts in following Jesus. Yes, many come to faith (like the one) —or worship after they are healed. I have had the opportunity to be with many of you, and others, who have become healed in ways through our faith; prayers together in asking God for healing through surgery, hospital care, medications, patience through rehabilitation, nutrition, sleep, and the return to normal activities of daily living (adl). This one person Jesus recognizes for his faith in thanking God for being healed; in Greek (and in Latin the art of) being healed is being saved. In his return to Jesus, he indicates his faith in being made well (saved) but also his faith in wanting to follow along, learn more, and become one of Jesus’ own in his love and life in celebrating Christ. Isn’t this the gratitude and attitude of Christian living?

 

            Finally, our gospel tells us yes, as Christians we believe in healing; our epistle tells us we obtain salvation in/through Jesus Christ with eternal glory. Life’s common and perhaps constant question is, ‘what do I do with what God has given me?’ What am I here for? In the church we are here in worship each week, and it’s the heart of our Christian life together to thank God for our many blessings as we pray, sing, and glorify God. We practice our gratitude and attitude in giving of our time, talents, and treasures.

 

We might ask ourselves if we are one of the nine, on our own way in the world, or are we the one in faith following Jesus after our being healed? Our church mission (fpcp ‘mission statement’) is that of ‘being a caring community of God’s people who live by Christ’ teachings, who reach out to others to share the love of God. Our church mission is ‘to celebrate the good news of Jesus Christ through worship, prayer, thought, and action.’ 

 

In our giving thanks often for all the things we’ve been given, we find our faith leading us where God wants us to be. God’s mission and promise to us is the ongoing work in us (stewardship) to be transformed in following Christ. Our Christian mission is in our faith and wellness, our being healed and following Jesus; it is our health and wholeness in being marked as God’s own.

 

                                   

                                                            Thanks be to God.                 AMEN.

 

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