How often do you take a minute to reflect upon your week? As you do so, you offer yourself a chance to reset for the coming week. Church on Sunday is a wonderful opportunity for us to give thanks to God and to be nourished at the table as we encounter Christ in the bread and wine. It is our faith that makes us well and renews us.
Reflecting involves both the good and the bad. We tend to steer away from those bad experiences and sweep them under the rug so that they are hidden. Unfortunately, sometimes they rear their ugly heads in a more dramatic way then when the negative experience first happened. In the bad we often times find ourselves in a no man’s land. A place in between. Or, if you have watched Stranger Things on Netflix, it may be a place as bad as the Upside Down. It is a place that none of us truly want to go, however we are all affected by it. In no man’s land we are outcasts, bullied, and rejected and much more.
The lepers in this morning’s gospel lesson find themselves in no man’s land. The region between Galilee and Samaria where only those that have been rejected from society find themselves. The lepers have no where else to turn to and those that are clean are afraid to come near them for fear that they may catch the same awful disease. Even in the midst of their seclusion they find Jesus. They have heard what Jesus can do and they know that they cannot be healed on their own. In this, they call out to Jesus and ask for him to have mercy on them. A mercy that cleanses and a mercy that allows them to enter back into society.
Jesus too, is in our midst, even when we find ourselves in no man’s land. And the thing is, we cannot get out of there on our own. For we live in a broken world in which humanity struggles to get it right. We need help and we need healing. It is in Jesus that we find mercy and Jesus cleanses us too. Not only does Jesus cleanse us, when we profess our faith in him, we find we are made well. Through our faith in him, we find salvation. Salvation from a no man’s land that only wishes to reject us and cast us aside. All of the lepers were cleansed, more importantly, it was the Samaritan that saw God in the process and made a conscious decision to turn around and give thanks. In this he found true salvation in being made well.
Confirmation is a conscious decision. Our teenagers make the decision to affirm their faith and the vows that were made for them in their baptism. In baptism and confirmation alike, God is present. The three young ladies that are affirming their faith this morning are aware of that and have recognized God in the process. Jesus has lifted them up when they have found themselves in a no man’s land. In Jesus, they have found a place to turn to. They have reflected it in the Bible verses they have selected and their faith statements they have shared.
They have learned over the past couple of years that Jesus is present in their lives and provides hope in times of struggle. It is my prayer, as it should be all of ours, that they do not forget this day and the faith that they have shared.
It is pretty much guaranteed that they will find themselves in no man’s land again at some point. We all do. The challenge is, how long do we allow ourselves to stay present in it? Or, do we turn to the truth that cleanses and loves us? For it is only in Jesus Christ that we can find salvation. In this we give thanks and are made well.