Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7, Psalm 66:1-12, 2 Timothy 2:8-15, Luke 17:11-19
Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7:
- Even though the people are in exile, God tells them to live their lives anyway - to get in with building and planting and marrying and giving birth. On the one hand, the passage suggests, this is so the people can remain strong and even increase even though they are in exile. But on the other hand, I see this as God saying - "hey, this is life, right now, and it is still rich and abundant even in the midst of chaos. Get on with it!" Do you ever use your bad situations/circumstances to put God and your spiritual life on hold?
- God tells the people to pray for the city where they are in exile. Pray for those who have separated them from their homeland. Pray for those probably thought of not-too-fondly...
- "for in its welfare you will find your welfare." I think this is hands down the best sentence in this passage. We're interrelated. We're a global community. We're all God's children. We share a home. Our welfare is tied up in their welfare and vise versa. If we could get this in our heads, and get "us" vs. "them" out of our heads...
- Mostly a praise psalm here, but with some specific perspectives. This psalm directly addresses God's hand in leading the Israelites out of Egypt into "a spacious place."
- God "rules by his might forever." I guess we do say that God is mighty, but something about this wording turns me off - I don't want God to rule by might - sounds too much like rule by force. Ruling by force is not a powerful act, in my mind, but a cowardly act. I'd rather God rule by moving us, luring us to want relationship with God.
- vs. 10-12 speak of all the 'testing' sort of tasks the people have endured at God's hands - the net, the burdens, through fire and water. Do you feel your trials have been laid out to you by God? That God has set you up to be tested? This idea has never set right with me, not quite.
- "The word of God is not chained." Thanks to God for that! Do we hear this? Live this? I think it is a miracle that the word of God is not chained, because we are constantly trying to do just that - confine it, constrict it, contain it, use it for our very specific purposes. We abuse God's word and use it to chain people, hurt people, keep people out of the church. But God's word is not chained!!
- "if we deny [Christ], Christ will also deny us." Is that true? Do the gospels even support such a statement? I don't think so. The follow up, "if we are faithless, he remains faithful," rings more true to me.
- "wrangling over words." I love this phrase - church is such a place for wrangling over words. But, we are warned, it "does no good but only ruins those who are listening." We should read this passage at General Conference!
- "your faith has made you well." Ten are healed, but only one is "made well" or "saved" as the Greek seso^ken suggests. How is this man who returned going to be different then the others, who also were cleansed from their disease? What does it mean to be made whole or well as opposed to being cured from a sickness.
- When the ten leave at first to show themselves to the priest, as Jesus commanded, this would have been part of the Mosaic law. When someone was healed, or claimed to be healed, going to the priests was a way of 'officiating' the results, so to speak. So the one man returns after his healing is 'confirmed' by the religious leaders.
- Just a note of interest - the word for "master" that the lepers use here is in this instance a Greek word epistata, which literally means 'the one set/placed over [others].'
- Note the importance of the man's identity as an outsider - Luke points it out - "and he was a Samaritan." And so does Jesus, saying, "this stranger/foreigner/one of another race."