Luke 17:11-19

On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” When he saw them, he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were made clean. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.” Luke 17:11-19

In the early years of my time as a pastor Thanksgiving was an annual opportunity for the congregations in our social ministry network to get together for worship. The pastors would meet together to plan the service. We would take turns hosting. It was a great honor to preach. Our choirs would have a joint rehearsal.

We would worship on the Tuesday night before Thanksgiving. At first, it was a big deal with lots of people there. IF we had a joint choir. The host congregation provided cookies and refreshments after. It was a nice.

In my second congregation the tradition was to gather with a local Episcopalian congregation. Usually 30 people of that year’s “home” congregation would show up with 10 or so from the visiting congregation. Unless we had a choir, that always draws the folks who sing and their families. It always felt like gathering with the one leper who came back to say thanks.

Then we didn’t do the service one year. No one really noticed. No one complained. We never did it again.

EVERY time the Christian community gathers for worship we do so to say thank you to God. Every Sunday is a Great Thanksgiving…which is that point in the liturgy when we are reminded of Jesus’ words, “Do this to remember me.” Do this is an imperative. It is a command. It is like my Mom calling us to the table. You don’t ask questions, you show up. On time.

Worship is the only uniquely Christian thing that happens on the campus of Faith Lutheran Church and every other Christian congregation. All of the other good stuff happens in lots of other ways all over the place. But only worship happens in worship. And Jesus commands that we be there.

To be the one who returns to say thank you.

Sure, give thanks on that special Thursday each year – and be there every time your congregation gathers around the table to which Jesus has invited you.

Let us pray: For all of your gifts, for life itself, for all that is good and for your love and support through all that is hard, we give you thanks, O Lord. For broken places and broken people, for places marred by fear and violence, we pray for peace, for healing, for justice. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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3 Responses to “Luke 17:11-19”

  1. kirk Says:

    very good devotion A Men

  2. Carolee Says:

    This devotion on giving thanks reminded me of this poem to share.
    “Gratitude is something of which none of us can give too much. For on the smiles, the thanks we give, our little gestures of appreciation, our neighbors build their philosophy of life.”
    – A. J. Cronin

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Duwayne and I did notice the absence of a “community” Thanksgiving service.

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