October 13

Luke 17:15-19

“Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” vs. 18

Even though they had common ancestral roots and faith practices, Samaritans were despised by the Jews. So when the one leper who returned to thank Jesus was revealed to be a Samaritan Jesus makes a point of it. This sort of thing happened more than once in the course of his ministry. People who had been systematically excluded became models of faithfulness in his preaching and teaching, e.g. the Canaanite woman and the Good Samaritan. We see the same sort of thing happening today. Always it seems, certain groups of people are designated as outsiders by those on the inside–it even happens in faith communities. It’s easy for followers of Jesus to categorize people of other religions or no religion as outside the family. We’re on guard in their presence and careful about our associations with them–we try hard to maintain our perceived purity or holiness. But God pays no attention to our contrived distinctions. The Holy Spirit regularly works in the lives of such outsiders to produce amazing fruit–and often their faithfulness puts us insiders to shame. They seem to have a special perspective on what God is doing in the world and are regular sources of mercy and healing for those who are hurting. One day perhaps we’ll all catch on to how God really works and begin to see all people as tools of grace! And on that day all people will praise God with one voice!

Thought for the Day: What makes a person an outsider?

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