One of them, when he saw that he had been healed, returned and praised God with a loud voice. – Luke 17:15
In Jesus’ encounter with ten lepers (Luke 17:11-19), Luke says the lepers “kept their distance” from him. Thus is the earliest reference to social distancing.
And from that distance, they cry out for healing. Jesus instructs them to go to their priest, and they are healed as they do so. They’re overwhelmed with happiness, but only one turns back. Not needing to socially distance any longer, he falls at Jesus’ feet, crying out his gratitude.
Jesus blesses him with, “Your faith has healed you.”
Wait a second. All ten were healed, and Jesus did the healing. Faith doesn’t seem to have anything to do with it.
Maybe Jesus means a deeper healing. All ten of the men would eventually get sick from something and die. But only one of them, in his trek toward the inevitable, will be healed in his soul. Only one of them will live fully until dying peacefully.
It’s all because the former leper followed his heart, interrupted his “Look at me, I’m healed!” celebrating, and fell at the feet of the one who gave him the incredible gift.
Perhaps Jesus should have said, “Your appreciation has healed you.”
I ran across an “Initiation of Appreciation” exercise that might be helpful for us, especially during any time we find ourselves sheltering in place.
Take a piece of paper and write down these three questions, leaving space for your answers:
“Who has made me who I am?”
“Who has helped get to where I am?”
“Who makes life better for me?”
Fill out the space underneath each question with as many names as you can think of. Over the next few days reach out to some of the persons if possible, just to thank them for what they’ve meant to you.
Then you’ll feel what the man felt when Jesus said, “Your faith has healed you.”
You will have experienced the liberation of appreciation.
Check out May’s “Book of the Month” Selection. It’s an interesting read on what happens when you take seriously Jesus’ call to love everybody.