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LK 17: 11-19
19th Sunday after Pentecost

What's the main thrust of today's passage? Healing? Keeping the rules? Breaking the rules? Being an outsider? An outcast? Thankfulness? Inclusiveness? Travelling through No One's Land? It's a matter of paying our money & taking our pick, isn't it? But, here,............. add other thrusts you can see & I can't.

That's always a useful exercise when it comes to preaching...what might I have missed? I've never been allowed to forget my farewell sermon in the parish I was leaving after my first curacy in '60. I anchored what I said in ACTS 8, where Philip ministers to the Ethiopian & is then carried off by the Spirit, leaving the new convert to 'go on his way rejoicing'. I believed I was urging the good folk to continue on their way, their spiritual journey, rejoicing, as I was going to continue on my way, too. Not so, for some of them: "So that's what you think of us!" "You can't wait to get away from us & go on your way rejoicing!" "Didn't you like being here?" Fortunately we all had a  good laugh together afterwards. But I still can't believe how I missed that!

As usual with Scripture, the thrusts all hang together, as they do in this story. Including any we can't see. Breaking a health rule they had no control over landed this band of ten men (it says, specifically, 'men' - maybe the women of their company were even further excluded, further outside, than the menfolk?) in a world outside everything normal & decent, too terrible to contemplate. Think of what it would do to one of us today to have that kind of law applied to us! Not long ago I was brought up with a jolt when my GP told me that a small rough patch of skin on my knee was a variety of psoriasis. "Nothing to worry about." Not so back then! I'd have been OUT! What other ways have we invented to push people outside, beyond the pale? Race, colour, religion, morals, politics,.............

The word LK uses for 'thanks' in v.16 is of course the word 'Eucharist'. An ongoing Reminder to be ongoingly Thankful. For everything, though there'll be times when we can single out something quite specific. Maybe it's going too far to think the 9 aren't thankful, but they don't do anything to show it, whereas the 1 does. What about us? What are we doing to show it?

That Jesus is travelling 'through the region between Samaria & Galilee' is a reminder that we're always travelling between point A & point B - physically, spiritually, emotionally, & in a host of other ways. Sometimes in a seeming No One's Land of one kind or another. When we travel with Jesus we're always in his land, his hand. We can travel thankfully, always going on our way rejoicing!