Thursday, October 13, 2016

Bishop’s Note: October 13, 2016 – Where Are The Nine?

Bishop Eric Menees

This past Sunday’s gospel lesson, from the seventeenth chapter of St. Luke, told of the dramatic experience of Ten Lepers. These lepers, like all lepers, were considered unclean and thus separated from their family and, in fact, the entire community. They called out from a distance to Jesus: “Lord, have mercy on us.”  Jesus did have mercy upon those poor men, and responded simply: “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” The ten turned and, in obedience, left to go and present themselves to the priests - in that moment they were healed of their leprosy.

Though all ten lepers were healed, only ONE comes back to Jesus to say thank you... and that one was a Samaritan; the one whom no one would expect to return.
Let me ask you… in your heart of hearts, if you were one of the Ten, would you have been the one to return to Jesus or would you have been with the nine and headed straight for the priests?

If I am honest, really honest, I am convicted in that question, because in my head I would say, “Of course I’d be the one who returned.” But, if I ask myself: “Does my life reflect that kind of gratitude?”  Well then, I’d have to say that I would really be one of the nine beating a swift path down the trail.

I think the nineteenth-century bishop of Liverpool, J.C. Ryle, said it so powerfully when he wrote:

“The lesson before us is humbling, heart-searching, and deeply instructive.  The best of us are far too like the nine lepers.  We are more ready to pray than to praise, and more disposed to ask God for what we have not, than to thank Him for what we have.  Murmurings, and complaining, and discontent abound on every side of us. Few indeed are to be found who are not continually hiding their mercies under a bushel, and setting their wants and trials on a hill.  These things ought not so to be.  But all who know the church and the world must confess that they are true.  The wide-spread thanklessness of Christians is a disgrace of our day.  It is a plain proof of our little humility.” (Expository thoughts on the Gospel of Luke, page 234)

It is generally true that we are not nearly as grateful to God as we ought to be. In difficult times, when things are not going as we had hoped or expected, it is especially easy, and tempting, to focus on our wants rather than on God’s provision for us. 

Let us this day cast our eyes upon Jesus and be thankful for the healing, forgiveness, and transformation that he has granted us through his sacrifice on the cross; a sacrifice that we should never lose sight of or take for granted.

       I pray we all recognize how blessed we are this day!

Catechism Questions: 340-342

340. Are you still broken, despite God’s forgiveness?
Yes. Sin leaves me wounded, lonely, afraid, divided, and in need of Christ’s healing ministry. (Psalms 32:1-5; 51; 130; Matthew 15:19; 1 John 2:1-2)

341. How does Jesus heal you?
Through the gift and fruit of the Holy Spirit, Jesus mends my disordered soul from the effects of sin in my mind, will, and desire. (Acts 2:38; Romans 8:26; 12:2)

342. What is this healing called?
This healing is called sanctification. In it, by the work of the Holy Spirit, my mind, will, and desires are progressively transformed and conformed to the character of Jesus Christ. (Romans 12:1-2; Ephesians 2:1-3; 3:14-21; 4:17-19; Philippians 2; Colossians 2-4; 1 John 3:2-3)

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