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Monday, October 14, 2013

Thinking through thanksgiving for us Samaritans

In getting ready to send out another round of support requests for CropWalk, I was thinking about yesterday's gospel and what it has to say to us Samaritans. Do you know what I mean? Do you sometimes have the sense that, of all people, it was you who received some blessing of healing, or forgiveness, hope, or restoration? You, the one person that you are certain had no claim on God's kindness, or human kindness for that matter, but it came anyway? And here you are, healthy, or happy, or with a full belly, and with so much suffering around you.

Healing of the Ten Lepers, by Jesus Mafa, Cameroon
(Vanderbilt Divinity library, Art in the Christian Tradition)
That's what it's like for me. And the gospel today sort of brought that home to me. Do I think that the other nine weren't happy and grateful that they were cured of their disease? Of course not! They did what they were told, and went to show themselves to be clean to the authorities. But the gospel says that the Samaritan leper, the one who caught Jesus's attention a second time, walked back to him to give thanks. It took another journey, maybe a risky one, if he was breaking Jesus's command to go to the priests, but it was a journey of his heart's certainty. This Samaritan had probably known some pain, insult, and bad treatment in his days. He knew a blessing when he got one, and its source was home now, and real life. 

Gratitude for blessing translated into action. That's why I walk in the Crop Hunger Walk, and that's why I'm not ashamed to ask for your help and support. Real people, just as worthy as we are, are still hungry in this country and in every nation on earth. We can do something about it. This is one small way. It's a way of turning gratitude into grace. Will you join me?