Sermon for Pentecost XVIII
October 13, 2019

Luke 17:11-19

Those of you have worshiped on Thanksgiving know that this is the Gospel for Thanksgiving. The account of the Ten Lepers does show us the gratitude of the one who was healed and returned to thank the Lord as a reminder to us that we are to be grateful to the Lord for all that we have. Like the 9 who did not come back, we are often the ones guilty of not expressing gratitude to the Lord. The giving thanks aspect is just one part of this very familiar account.

Consider the plight of these lepers. They were diagnosed with a contagious disease that was very painful that, in most cases, led to their death. Because leprosy is so very contagious, those with this disease were not permitted to live among civilized society. It is said that the likelihood of being cured from leprosy is as likely as being raised from the dead. It was truly a death sentence.

While the physical effects of leprosy were certainly painful, the isolation and hopelessness was overwhelming. They may have wondered whether God was punishing them for some particular sin. What did I do to deserve this? And so, they had good reason to cry out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy.” He was the One who had the power and the compassion to restore them to health. He gave them back their lives. “Dad’s home,” would be the cry in those households. Welcome home celebrations would be heard through out the community.

Perhaps you are feeling some of the same emotions as did the 10 lepers. You find yourself in a hopeless situation with no relief on the horizon. Perhaps you are feeling isolated and alone. Oh, there are people around. But no one really understands what I’m going through. In today’s world of social media, many gain their sense of community through Face Book or Snap Chat or whatever the latest craze is. How many likes can I get for a post? How many friends will like or respond to a post? It may feel good in the moment to get those imoji responses, but there are only there in the moment. We cannot understate how many people feel alone even when they are “connected” in social media. A computer or phone can’t nod and smile. They don’t have facial expressions and certainly cannot shed a tear with you or give you a hug.