In the gospel of Luke we find a story about 10 lepers who came to Jesus for help. They are a lot like people in our neighbors today. They knew that Jesus cared about their needs and has the ability to help. These 10 men also were ready to immediately do anything that Jesus asked.
Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God
Jesus had made an impression on people because they knew that He was willing to touch lepers and that He had the power to help them Because of how Jesus ministered He was continually surrounded by people longing to get close. Some wanted to touch Jesus, others hoped just to see Him and still others sat quietly listening to what He had to say. It must have looked a little bit like a hospital emergency room. People were lined up waiting to be seen. Others brought their loved ones and family to Jesus. He was constantly presented with opportunities to demonstrate the love of God.
Sadly our local church today bears a distant resemblance to the ministry of Jesus. Too often we seem to function more like an understaffed medical clinic. Sick people still show up regularly but they find few people around to help. Our nurses are out on strike for a better benefits package and our doctors are having coffee together reviewing their retirement program. When folks press their nose against the glass and look inside the office they hear the sounds of a business meeting called into session to discuss how to reduce the number of sick people allowed in! If any hospital functioned like our churches they would quickly find themselves in court. The front page of the paper would be filled with angry headlines. The 6 o’clock news would begin with a lead story demanding immediate change to how that medical facility functioned.
So as we approach this Thanksgiving let’s consider what we can each do differently. The world has as much need as it ever did. Do our altars act more like walls to keep folks off the podium rather than a meeting place for prayer? God is still willing to cleanse. Jesus is still ready to heal. He still welcomes the sick, the blind and the sinner. They are outside looking in our windows. What will they see this Thanksgiving?