Sunday, June 10, 2018

Lord have mercy - love us as we are!

Luke 17:11-19 by Rev. Susan Lukey
Series:Daring Hope in Turbulent Times

Kyrie eleison! Lord have mercy! With those words, the lepers by the side of the road call out to Jesus, expressing the deep yearning of human hearts for healing and wholeness. Kyrie eleison! Lord, have mercy! Mercy is a deep and complex word. It does not mean “forgive me,” as is often thought. Rather it is about something freely offered, with no expectation of action or a returned favour. Mercy is compassion, kindness, gracious favour, an understanding of what the other person is going through. To offer mercy is to open one’s heart unconditionally to the other. So, when the ten lepers call out for mercy, they are not asking for forgiveness. They are not even asking specifically for healing. They are asking for something so much more than either of those. They are saying: We are shunned and ostracized by society; look at us & love us as we are. Kyrie eleison! Lord, have mercy! We are worn down by our disease; understand what it is like for us. Kyrie eleison! Lord, have mercy! We long to be touched and cared for; open your heart to us. Kyrie eleison! Lord, have mercy! We have done nothing wrong, nothing to deserve this;show us compassion Kyrie eleison! Lord, have mercy! Mercy – that’s what the lepers ask for. Mercy! “Leprosy,” in the time of Jesus, was not likely the leprosy, or Hansen’s disease, today. Lepers could have had any manner of skin diseases, defined in Leviticus 13 as “a swelling or an eruption or a spot, with white hair in it and/or more than skin deep.” This could have included what we would call today ringworm, psoriasis, eczema, allergic reactions, boils, burns, among other skin irritations and diseases. In fact, houses and clothes could be declared to have leprosy if they had reddish or greenish spots appear – perhaps a type of mould or lichen. Strict rules were followed if it was determined by a priest that leprosy existed. The person wore torn clothes, let the hair on their head be disheveled, covered the upper lip and cried out, “Unclean, unclean,” if anyone came near. They had to live alone, outside the village, until a priest declared them to be clean, at which time they had to go to the temple to make specific offerings before being welcomed back into their village. Kyrie eleison! Lord, have mercy! When the lepers call out for mercy, they are asking for compassion, for understanding, to be treated as human again, to be welcomed back into the community – which would require healing from their skin disease. This is a fascinating story. The writer Luke, in just 12 sentences, touches upon multiple themes. I’ll explore just a few.
Duration:19 mins 16 secs