Today’s readings: Deuteronomy 12:1-12; 2 Corinthians 6:3–7:1; Luke 17:11-19
While in the navy, once my ship was securely docked in Port Au Prince, Haiti, children began swimming alongside, begging us to, “Throw me a nickel, Joe!” As we tossed coins to them, the kids dove deep, scooping the money in their mouths. It seemed entertaining at first, but I quickly realized their skill meant this small change was tremendously important.
Haiti’s citizens are among the world’s poorest, suffering from hunger, thirsting for clean water, and facing life threatening disease. Haiti is the sort of place where one goes only if on a mission. In our text, Jesus is in such a place. Jewish travelers avoided Samaria and its many border towns. Jesus is there on a mission, when he encounters ten lepers and instructs them to show themselves to the priest.
For one man, showing himself to the priest would not change his status; he was a despised Samaritan. Returning to Jesus, however, makes the difference. A Samaritan would not find favor in the synagogue, but the thankful one could find favor with God.
Mission happens for the sake of others, regardless of where they are from. If we think we are above those who occupy the margins, we are just as unclean. Ten were cleansed; one was thankful.
Prayer: Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Amen.
Today’s devotion was written by David Nuottila, Pastor of Union Lutheran Church, Salisbury, NC.