The text for Sunday was a familiar one for me.
Ten men with a skin disease that kept them separated from everyone but themselves called out to Jesus. “Have pity on us,” they said.
Jesus didn’t touch them, didn’t talk with them, didn’t teach them, didn’t comfort them. He said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” It was the way that you proved that you had recovered. You didn’t go for healing, you went after you were healed. You didn’t go for prayer, you went for verification.
They weren’t healed. There was nothing to verify. They went, probably because Jesus told them to.
On their way, they realized that the disease was gone.
One of the men turned around. He was shouting. As he got closer to Jesus and the disciples, they realized that his shouts were about God, they were to God. “Hosannah,” perhaps. “Praise the Lord,” likely.
When he got close, he fell on ground, grabbing Jesus feet. After his season of illness, of distance, of not touching anyone, the first person he touches is Jesus. “Thank you,” he says.
Jesus looks around at the disciples, at the audience, at the empty space around the man. “Where are the rest?” he asks. “Why did only the Samaritan return?”
He looks at the man. “Rise and go,” he said. “Your faith made you well.”
Go back to your family. Go back to being viewed as the other nine men as unclean, as a Samaritan. Go back to life. But you are healed. Not just cleansed, healed. Not just physically well, in a relationship of gratitude, of touching, of conversation, of commissioning.
The man was able to say, “Jesus sent me here. Jesus healed me. Jesus looked at me and saw me as a person.”
I think we can, too.