Today’s reflection, Inclusion, contributed by Kirsty and based on Luke 17 is below; the music is by Tim Hughes followed by poetry from John Bell, and we conclude with the prayer of the week.
Our reading, Luke, Chapter 17, Verses 11 to 19
11 On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, 13 they called out, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” 14 When he saw them, he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were made clean. 15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. 16 He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? 18 Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.”
A Reflection, Inclusion
A leper. A Samaritan. Someone who was on the edge of the village, on the edge of society. An outsider.
Jesus reaches out in love and heals the man, along with nine others. He disregards social boundaries, and brings the outsiders into society; he affirms that they are valuable; they are worth healing.
Throughout his ministry, Jesus reached out to the outsiders, the lost, the hurting. The people that others didn’t want to mix with.
Everyone is important, we say. We should be like Christ to others, we say, reaching out to the hurting, the lost, the outsiders. The people that others don’t want to mix with.
It’s easier said than done, isn’t it? We can believe these things, but we are all human, and we struggle to cross social boundaries. It’s hard to let this belief filter into us and guide our actions.
We can see our lives, those of others similar to us and close to us, and it’s hard to see outside of that. We all need to feel valued and loved; it’s part of being human. So we seek affirmation from others; we need to feel good about ourselves, so we pull ourselves up, and, consciously or not, push others down. Or just fail to notice others. Or struggle to summon up the courage to name the sufferings others face, and to grapple with inequalities and injustices.
Christ values every single person. In him, there is no social hierarchy. Race, gender, health, wealth; it doesn’t matter. All are created equal and all are loved by the creator equally and without bounds. He loves each and every person on this earth so much that he died for us. All of us.
He tells us that when we serve the very least, we are in fact serving him. Because every single person is created in his image, loved and precious to him. He cares whether the lepers are healed. He cares when outsiders are brought in. When the unloved, the disgraced, the broken, are loved.
May we know God’s love, personally, in our lives, so that we know in the very depths of our being that we are precious and loved. May this allow us to see beyond our social boundaries, out of our comfort zone, to see Christ in every single person. To know that every single person is precious and loved.
May this living reality eclipse our social constructs, open our eyes to the needs of others around us, and give us the courage to truly love all others. Because everybody really is incredibly important.
Kirsty Morris, 4th July 2020
Now, today’s music …
Christ’s is the world
Christ’s is the world in which we move;
Christ’s are the folk we’re summoned to love;
Christ’s is the voice which calls us to care,
and Christ is the one who meets us here.
To the lost Christ shows his face,
to the unloved he gives his embrace,
to those who cry in pain or disgrace
Christ makes, with his friends, a touching place.
Feel for the people we must avoid –
strange or bereaved or never employed.
Feel for the women and feel for the men
who fear that their living is all in vain.
To the lost………….
Feel for the parents who’ve lost their child,
feel for the women whom men have defiled,
feel for the baby for whom there’s no breast,
and feel for the weary who find no rest.
To the lost…………..
Feel for the lives by life confused,
riddled with doubt, in loving abused;
feel for the lonely heart, conscious of sin,
which longs to be pure but fears to begin.
To the lost……………..
Prayer of the week
you have broken the tyranny of sin
and have sent the Spirit of your Son into our hearts whereby we call you Father:
give us grace to dedicate our freedom to your service,
that we and all creation may be brought to the glorious liberty of the children
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.