On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" When he saw them, he said to them, "Go and show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were made clean. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, "Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" Then he said to him, "Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well."
While I was in seminary I was assigned to a parish on Belmont,Massachusetts. All Saints' was a vibrant and busy place with many families with young children. At the end of every service the Rector would thank us each by name. At first I thought it was an affectation, and then I realized it was sincere and compassionate. It meant a lot to me to be appreciated for what I did willingly. Although it was my job and required to graduate, still someone recognized the effort that went in to my work. I learn a life long lesson there - the importance of gratitude.
One of ten came back and thanked God for their healing. These were people abandoned by society because of real fears. The disease was a death sentence, as well as a sentence to pain and isolation. Their relief and joy must have been amazing and they all ran home to touch their loved ones who were once forbidden to them. God will not withhold the healing, but when we stop to say thank you, the complete healing becomes ours. We find as we are grateful we find the depth of love and joy in our loved ones and in God.
Today I ask God to help me show my gratitude for all of God's blessings. May we be grateful for the many, many blessings we have been given, the joy we find in family and the beauty that surrounds us. In the midst of our need, may we remember that God does not withhold the healing and it is our gratitude that makes it our own.
Lord, we pray that your grace may always precede and follow us, that we may continually be given to good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.