When ten lepers came to Jesus seeking healing from their disease, he said, Go, show [yourselves] to the priests. Obediently doing so, they were healed as they went.
Of course, their healing was not the result of simply going to one or more priests, although the “law of lepers” required exactly that (Leviticus 14). Rather their act of obedience is but a sign of their larger submission to the whole truth of the tradition the priests represent: God’s sovereignty over all, his self-revelation in Old Testament Scripture, his sending the Messiah promised therein, and his ultimate healing of sin in his son’s Name.
By extension, for faithful, modern Anglicans this tradition extends to the fundamental truth of all Scripture, the creeds it has engendered, the incomparable theological content of its historic Book of
Common Prayer, and the joyous songs of its rich liturgy. A full embrace of such brings about full healing according to God’s plan.
Jesus was clearly perturbed that of ten lepers healed, only one, a dreaded Samaritan, returned praising God and falling at his feet in thanksgiving.
This fact has numerous implications. Most important of all, the nine who neglected to return and do so failed to hear the Lord of life say, as did the lone Samaritan, Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well! He was well of his disease, but he was doubtless also well-ready for God’s plan for him presently and in eternity.
These things are a parable for the parish. We have come to the Lord seeking relief of pain, banishment, and suffering for our steadfast faith in him.
Inasmuch as we have stood foursquare for full Gospel truth in his Name, we know without doubt that he has made us well, spiritually and materially, personally and collectively, beyond all expectation.
Who could not count the ways? A solid core of earnest believers. A model of hope to others praying about their own faithfulness. A promised land of milk and honey. We know, then, what it means to be healed as we go. We, too, have a sense that the Lord’s hand is indeed upon us for the present and for eternity.
Even so, we dare not miss his other, implied word, Return [from all this healing] and give thanks! The nine who failed to do so, though healed physically, are lost spiritually. Like the faithful Samaritan, we are called to give thanks by regular attendance at services, disciplined Bible study and prayer, and generous offerings of time, talent, and treasure for the work he is clearly setting before us.
– JR Hiles
Adapted from Homily of 10/10/04, Luke 17.11-19