Luke 17:1-37 1 Jesus said to his disciples, “Things that cause people to trip and fall into sin must happen, but how terrible it is for the person through whom they happen. 2 It would be better for them to be thrown into a lake with a large stone hung around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to trip and fall into sin. 3 Watch yourselves! If your brother or sister sins, warn them to stop. If they change their hearts and lives, forgive them. 4 Even if someone sins against you seven times in one day and returns to you seven times and says, ‘I am changing my ways,’ you must forgive that person.”
5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”
6 The Lord replied, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.
7 “Would any of you say to your servant, who had just come in from the field after plowing or tending sheep, ‘Come! Sit down for dinner’? 8 Wouldn’t you say instead, ‘Fix my dinner. Put on the clothes of a table servant and wait on me while I eat and drink. After that, you can eat and drink’? 9 You won’t thank the servant because the servant did what you asked, will you? 10 In the same way, when you have done everything required of you, you should say, ‘We servants deserve no special praise. We have only done our duty.’”
11 On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he entered a village, ten men with skin diseases approached him. Keeping their distance from him, 13 they raised their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, show us mercy!”
14 When Jesus saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” As they left, they were cleansed. 15 One of them, when he saw that he had been healed, returned and praised God with a loud voice. 16 He fell on his face at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. 17 Jesus replied, “Weren’t ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 No one returned to praise God except this foreigner?” 19 Then Jesus said to him, “Get up and go. Your faith has healed you.”
20 Pharisees asked Jesus when God’s kingdom was coming. He replied, “God’s kingdom isn’t coming with signs that are easily noticed. 21 Nor will people say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ Don’t you see? God’s kingdom is already among you.”
Jesus told his disciples they should forgive “even if someone sins against you seven times in one day.” (Luke 17:4. Matthew 18:21-22 said either “seventy seven times” or “seventy times seven.”) In any form, that’s more forgiving than we do naturally! “Increase our faith!” the disciples said. Jesus told them even a little faith is powerful. He healed ten lepers who showed just a little faith. Asked when (in the future) to expect God’s Kingdom, Jesus instead spoke of the need to trust God today to be ready for any trial that might come.
Today, in these times of being shut in may each of us hear these words of Christ and bring them to life. Who do we need to reconnect with? Are you questioning your faith with God? Especially in these times of trouble. If so remember, it is God who tells you that His healing powers are upon you with the smallest amount of faith. For me that's reassuring. And finally, today is the day you have. Do not worry about tomorrow, do not waste your time with when God will return.It will happen in his time. Instead take this time of isolation to talk with God, listen to His whispers, and know He is with us.
Gracious God, too often we fail to see the moment we are in because we are so concerned about tomorrow or things that are not in our control. Lord, help me to focus on the now, to make connection today, to give generously knowing you will provide what I need. Lord, thank you for those who are still able and willing ot the work. Thank you for those who are listening to the experts and staying home and spreading this terrible virus further. Lord, may the experiences we are now experiencing lead us to a deeper love for you and each other. May good come from this. Lord, I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen
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Meet the pastor
Rev. Pastor Carl Schreiber has been serving East Orrington Congregational Church (EOCC) since March 12, 2006