Thought for the Day: In Sunday’s sermon, I challenged the congregation to spend more time with Jesus, specifically the stories of Jesus. Today, I want to begin a couple of weeks with some familiar and maybe not so familiar stories of Jesus. In this passage from Luke’s Gospel, Jesus heals a man. This is not something all that unusual, yet you can feel the man’s desperation. A skin disease in the ancient world was often understood as God’s judgement upon a person. So those with a skin disease felt the critical glances of those who were wondering what horrible thing the person had done to deserve the skin disease. Of course, the skin disease was not a sign of divine anger, but simply biology doing what it does… sometimes with some unpleasant side effects. If Jesus is the closest thing to God one can know in human form, and Jesus does not judge but heals, then what would that communicate to both the man with the skin disease and those who were quick to form an incorrect opinion? With his actions, Jesus confronted certain held beliefs, and in doing so, suggested that things might be a bit more complicated than what might be initially assume by some. This is so true of life. We see someone, and we are quick to label them as lazy, stupid, immoral, a lousy parent or negative human being. Yet do we know the whole story? Are the quickly formed opinions that are embodied in the judgmental glances part of the struggle the person faces on top of so much else. It is often said that we only know about 5% of what is happening in another person’s life, and that’s really not enough to make any sort of accurate assessment. Maybe a better approach would simply be to follow the example of Jesus who showed love by first allowing the man with the skin disease to know that his request was heard and he was valued as a human being.
Prayer: Provide me the capacity to see the world around me through the lenses of your love, O Lord. Help me to appreciate the complexities of life, and the individual struggles so many people face each day. It is in that appreciation that your grace can be known and shared. Amen.
PRAY FOR YOUR CHURCH
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Rev. Bruce Frogge