Sunday, October 9, 2016

Accepted

Today's reflection on the Daily Texts:

The Lord said, "I do forgive, just as you have asked." - Numbers 14:20

Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. - Colossians 3:13

Lectionary texts: 2 Kings 5:1-3,7-15c; Psalm 111; 2 Timothy 2:8-15; Luke 17:11-19

Themes of forgiveness, acceptance, healing, and cleansing are all connected in today's scriptures - as well as the theme of being a part of the community of God, and useful for God's work in the world.

We all have some flaw, or sin, or "strike against us" that keeps us from being able to live perfect, holy lives according to God's full design. The root of the problem might be within ourselves, or it might be caused by some damage done to us. The burdens we live with might be visible, even obvious to others, or they might be invisible. Whatever the details, these things are real.

With God, there is Law that reveals to us what is not acceptable in God's way of life. Yet there is also Gospel that proclaims the grace of God in wanting, even initiating, a relationship with us, even when we fall short of the Law. Our behavior can never be totally acceptable - but we are deemed to be acceptable. God's love in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus shows how far God is willing to go for this.

My sermon today focuses on this Gospel (Good News) in the life of the Samaritan man who was healed of leprosy, and declared "clean" and "saved" by Jesus. I'll encourage today's listeners to think about what Law and Gospel mean in their own lives. And I pray that I, and the congregation I serve, will be able to identify that Law and Gospel, and praise God, and help make the good news of God's acceptance known to others. May the news go out to many, who can hear and understand and live out what Paul says in 2 Timothy 2:15: "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly explaining the word of truth."

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