“THEY WERE CLEANSED”
Saint Luke 17. 11-19
The Eve of a National Thanksgiving
26 November Anno + Domini 2014
Fr Jay Watson SSP
In The Name + of Jesus
“O give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good; for His mercy endureth forever.” [1 Chron. 16.34] So speaks the writer of Chronicles; so too wrote King David. The Holy Ghost wants you to give thanks to the Lord. The Spirit fills you full so that you will. The Apostle says the same thing to you and he does it by way of exhortation, and so do I “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men.” [1 Tim 2. 1] Here your pastors, past and present, urge that you pray for and give thanks for men—your brethren; your neighbor. Yes you are to love them as yourselves and always put the best construction on their actions and words but you are also to thank God for them—which is in effect thanking God. But you don’t. You don’t, and you can’t fulfill the Second Table of the Law because you don’t and can’t comport with the First Table.
“Thou shalt have no other gods before Me” says the Lord. But you do. You don’t love God before all things because your first love is yourself. “Old Adam” doesn’t like giving thanks because he/you is too busy looking at himself and preening…or whining after more mammon…be it forbidden fruit, comfortable life style, better health, happier kids, or whiter teeth. The Lord’s Second command nails it doesn’t it: “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord, thy God, in vain.” Oh, you don’t break this one because you don’t drop “f” bombs or yell out the Savior’s name when you hit your thumb with a hammer? Luther will help you: “…His Name…but call upon it in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks.” You don’t pray perfectly, you don’t praise continually, and you sure as hades (and Hades is the payoff for disobedience) don’t give thanks.
The Sainted Kenneth Korby (R.I.P.) said there are only two ways to talk about God or to talk to God. The first is to speak His Word, receive His Word and thus praise Him by His Word. The other way is the default position for fallen man—i.e. whine, bitch, moan, complain, and spend so much time thinking and talking about oneself that “thankfulness” is a burden at best and a hated thing at worst.
You know that the Creed’s explanation of the 1st Article gives a laundry-list, really a Grace eternal endowment list, of your Loving Lord’s gifts to you: “…He has given me…clothing and shoes, meat and drink, house and home, wife and children, fields, cattle, and all my goods; that He richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life.” And sometime you do thank Him for these truly wonderful things. But your old nature really only thanks Him, now & then, sort-of, side-ways…when it’s what you want; what you like; what you think you need; what you ‘appreciate.’ Sinners as sinners are spoiled not rotten but spoiled rotting in dirt and ash! Repent!
Repent of having these precious jewels of earthly sustenance, and not thanking your Father.
Did the Lepers give thanks for their fine clothes and homes? They had neither. Did the 10 unclean walking-dead give thanks for their families—the ones that disowned them; did they give thanks for their health and vitality that they most assuredly did not have? No, probably not. Should they have? Yes.
But the Law kills. Ten is the number of leprosy and death. Repent you ten lepers…you nine lepers always on the way to the priests of self.
But give thanks, and you DO, to the God Who comes to fix all that is broken and to heal all that is diseased—to bring back to life all that was cold, dry, and dead. For the Lord gives you what you need; what is required to repent. He gives you His Word—Himself! The Samaritan Leper, the stranger Leper, is you, and, it is Christ Himself. For by Grace through Faith you are in Jesus and His works and worth are now yours! Christ became a stranger to His own people and His own family to win back all the sick and homeless; all the lost and weeping. Christ became not just a Leper, but He took all disease, shame, sorrow, brokenness and sin upon Himself. Your Leper Messiah cleansed those poor souls and you poor souls by becoming poor and pinned to wood. His Blood washes you white and sterilizes you with Salvation.
He Who is the WAY passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee, and Shawnee on His way to Calvary. He Who is the TRUTH brought Divinity united with Perfect Humanity to ten men separated and pathetic, and to this small band—weak and seeking rest. He Who is the LIFE brought them back not just health but eternal glory. His Presence, then and now, brings the Holy Spirit Who constrained them to cry in Faith “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” He does the same this evening and you too cry out the Kyrie: “Lord have mercy upon us!” Jesus’ thanksgiving to His Father for all of you and for the joy set before Him—to Love the Father perfectly and to Love you to suffering and death—is given you by Grace. You are given the Faith to participate in THE THANKSGIVING: The Holy Eucharist.
You give the perfect thanks when you receive the Perfect Jesus—the Glory of God.
In The Name of The Father and of + The Son and of The Holy Ghost