St Cuthbert's Church

Pastoral Letters

A Pastoral Letter - 13 Oct. 2019
The grateful Samaritan

by Revd. Mark Muspratt-Williams

My brothers & sisters in Christ,
We all know about the good Samaritan, but how many of us have heard of the grateful Samaritan?

The passage of Luke 17:11-19 is about ten lepers whom Jesus healed but only one of those lepers returned to thank Jesus after realising he had been healed.

Being a leper in Jesus’ day meant having to live removed from normal society. We can imagine but we can never really know what it must have been like to have had to live outside the city walls, to have had to keep a good distance from others (Luke 17:12), and to have had to shout “unclean” whenever anybody was approaching.

Being a leper was also such a horrible fate that it broke down other barriers amongst those who were commonly afflicted. Traditional animosities were (and still are) often forgotten in times of crisis, and this group of ten lepers included a Samaritan in a community of outcasts that was primarily comprised of Jews. We know that Jews and Samaritans generally despised each other at that time, but such prejudices had been forgotten as the result of a fate that had put them all on the same level.

Once the ten lepers were cured, nine of them were in a hurry to go to a priest to get the all-clear so that they could be re-assimilated into society and no longer be outcasts (Luke 17:14), and we can be safely assume that they would no longer have wanted to associate with the Samaritan.

However, the one that I call the ‘grateful Samaritan’ wanted to firstly give thanks to the one who had healed him. (Luke 17:15). It was totally unexpected for a Samaritan to give thanks to a Jewish healer, especially when his Jewish companions did not do likewise. (Luke 17:16-18). Even though he had been cured, Jewish society would still treat him as on outcast, yet he still had reason to be grateful.

For this Samaritan leper who was healed, through his healing experience learned that his faith had played a role in his healing and whereas the other nine also received one of God’s greatest gifts in healing but they had an ungrateful spirit within them.

If we had to do some introspection into our lives, are we like this ‘grateful Samaritan’. How often do we show gratitude and do we ever show gratitude for what has been done for us? An example of which many of us at times take for granted; Do we quietly give thanks whenever we sit down to eat a meal and, do we consistently show gratitude for each new day?

Or are we like those nine other lepers that were healed? Are we like many children who fail to appreciate the sacrifices their parents made for them, and find them a burden when they become old and child-like? It is very easy for us to fail to appreciate what God has done for us!

Lastly, do we see ourselves as grateful Christians who experience everyday miracles in our lives regardless how big or small or the type of miracles they are. Do we accept them with gratitude and by doing so get a better understanding of God’s grace?

Revd. Mark Muspratt-Williams

Date Added: 2019-10-10
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