…inspiration & direction for 21st Century disciples…

“Amazing Grace!”

As I mentioned in last Sunday’s message…

  • I didn’t hear a lot about Jesus and GRACE when I went to visit other congregations these past two months;
  • I did hear a lot of what YOU need to do and what YOU shouldn’t do;
  • Only one person in one congregation invited me back and that was the pastor’s mother-in-law!

So, as we re-connect in this church thing called, NEW LIFE, I want to share a bit about this coming Sunday’s message…the second installment of a 6 part series on God’s “amazing grace!”

The text is from Luke’s gospel in the 15th chapter and is a story familiar to some about a time when Jesus was walking from Galilee south near Samaria on his way to Jerusalem.  His disciples were with him and if one reads a bit of the story on both sides around it, you discover that the Pharisees were not far off as well… so imagine taking a walk with your best friends and right behind them are the ones who want to do you in and then….

What happens is this… as Jesus enters the town… 10 lepers call out to Jesus (from a bit of a distance–as that was the rule of the day!) and ask him to “have mercy” on them.  So, Jesus says…”go see the priest” which was also the rule of the day as anyone ‘cleansed’ from leprosy or any other malady had to get a writ from that priest…kind of like a note from the doctor to go back to school or work…

And Luke writes….they became clean “on their way” to see the priest… and they all knew it, they all rejoiced but just ONE of the 10 returned to thank Jesus….and that’s when Jesus pointed out…”were not all 10 cleansed?  Where are the nine?”

Seems life hasn’t changed much since 1st century time of emerging Christianity… God offers healing to all…Jesus healed all those who asked and yet just a remnant returned to offer a word of gratitude…

Now, I need to tell you that I’m the first to cry out here..”hey, wait a minute…I don’t have to go to church to be thankful to God for all I have in life…”  In fact, I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m not a very ‘thanking’ guy at all…it was how I was raised…1st born son, 1st born nephew, 1st born grandson on BOTH sides of the family…spoiled kids aren’t thankful kids…PLUS couple that with a family value of “duty’ which results in no praise…well, there you go… and I know… it’s taken me a long time and a bunch of misses to correct this part of who I am and unless we pay a bit more attention to gratitude we come off so much more selfish and self-centered and rather than others seeing us a truly thankful people where gratitude lives and breathes in us and around us… and oozes into the lives of others…we just don’t and that’s when people talk…right?

But, at the same time…it’s this thing we call ‘amazing grace’ that draws us to Christ… this revelation that we’ve been given so much without deserving… the Word of God who is Jesus… the friend of sinners and ‘lepers’ and broken people like me and you… inviting us to his font where we are washed of sin and ‘robed’ in glory as well as this Jesus who bids us come to his banquet and feast on his promises… and when we come to that moment where we are overwhelmed by both our unwillingness and inability to re-pay him… we can do nothing but run to him at his father’s house to say…thanks, danke, merci’, shukran and gracias or whatever word expresses our deepest appreciation…

It’s like old Walter Johnson said…”the reason I go to worship is because I don’t want to…”  Makes perfect sense to God…and sometimes even limited beings like us!

So, what can ‘church’ be like for us with this story as background? 

  1. Do we recognize that we are blemished?  Some can see our dis-ease from the outside…but they cannot always see what it broken for us within…even though God does…
  2. Have we found ourselves ‘at a distance’ crying out to Jesus, “Lord, have mercy on me?”
  3. And what happens to us ‘on the way’ to see the priest?  On our way to worship?  On our way into the world with a ‘faith that has made us well?”  Perhaps, more than we ever knew…

As we celebrate Mission and Ministry Month @ New Life and as we seek to be faithful in all things… let me ask you to do your best imitation of old Walter Johnson and be at worship this Sunday…even if you don’t feel like it…

Jesus DOES bring healing to us and we discover this ‘amazing grace’ while we are ‘on the way’…

New Life.  Now!



About briangigee

Loves life; lives love! Bud and Doris' eldest son. Descendant of 'refiners' and 'reformers.' Husband to Margo. Father of 5. Grandfather to 4. Brother, uncle, friend and colleague. Working parish pastor. Became a naturalized Texan in February 2013.
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