When Jesus saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” As they left, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw that he had been healed, returned and praised God with a loud voice … he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus said to him, “Get up and go. Your faith has healed you.” - Luke 17:14-16, 19 (CEB)
Medicine labels list the ingredients in the product, often with a separate shorter list of active ingredients. All the ingredients on both lists work together as a healing agent, but it’s the active ingredients that make the medicine most effective.
The story of ten lepers operates with multiple ingredients for healing. One is their faith as they rose up from the gate. Another is their obedience as they followed Jesus’ instructions to go to the priest to formalize their newly cured status. But the active ingredient of deepened healing is the gratitude daringly expressed by the double outsider, the Samaritan who had yet to be determined suitable for public interaction.
Gratitude moves beyond physical healing. It transcends human-made divisions. It overlooks societal margins. It disregards the differences that keep us from recognizing our interconnectedness with each other and creation.
To embody gratitude as boldly as the lone Samaritan is to challenge the status quo. To embrace gratitude is to disrupt society’s injustices.
Activating gratitude calls us into a new way of living and being as we experience the Healing Presence in our midst.
As we engage the many ingredients you give us, loving God, activate our gratitude for the healing of your entire world.
The Rev. Phiwa Langeni is the Founder/Director of Salus Center (the first LGBTQ Resource & Community Center in Lansing, MI) and Pastor of Salus Center UCC & First Congregational UCC - Ypsilanti. They are a parent, speaker, writer, transitional coach, designer, and low-key fashion head.