There are a few things going on that I'm not sure I've notice d before:
I'm really struck by the one seeing that he was healed. The Greek word is a word often meant metaphorically - to perceive or understand with an inward perspective. He was perceptive in a way the others weren't. I am really wondering if the others didn't know they were healed yet and that's why they didn't come back. I think more often than not, we're not really aware of what's going on within us. I think it's plausible that the other nine had their minds set on doing what Jesus said to do. He said to go to the temple; they were going to the temple. They followed instructions. Instructions are good. Rules are good. The Jewish law is filled with instruction for being healed, for being renewed to community, for being made right. Rules worked for these nine.
But for the one who saw something had happened outside of the rules. Before he could get to the temple (and again he wouldn't have been allowed in) he was healed.
He was an outsider and when we are on the outside, sometimes we're able to see or perceive things will happen outside of what is expected.
Sure enough Luke sets up the story of the lepers with a little rant about following the rules and decorum of their culture. And leaves the story of the lepers with a look to their future where "things cannot be observed." The life that they have known is changing. The way they have gone about understanding life is not going to work anymore.
So, the story for me is about much more than just giving thanks... although that's an undeniable part. In this case, the man has somehow been able to see life differently. He turned around in order to give thanks. He stopped the direction he was going. He was healed by another way - if he was looking for healing to come through the priest, it didn't happen like he thought it would.
The practice of gratitude certainly helps us to see life from different perspectives. To practice gratitude is to actively seek a new perspective. But something happened to this man before he turned around to give thanks.
Something happened to him before he thought it would happen. He was healed while they were in the "in between" space, at the border. His healing surprised him.
How are we being surprised? Can God surprise us anymore? Are we paying attention? Perhaps we simply don't perceive the surprise that has happened.
Some inclusive ministry ideas for gratitude. I'd ask folks to list the alphabet one and see which ones surprise them.
Search this blog for a specific text or story:
I am grateful for