By Elizabeth Baumann

A Reading from the Gospel of Luke 17:11-19

11 On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he entered a village, ten men with a skin disease approached him. Keeping their distance, 13 they called out, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” 14 When he saw them, he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were made clean. 15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. 16 He prostrated himself at Jesus’s feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? So where are the other nine? 18 Did none of them return to give glory to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.”


In many ways, the Old Testament is about remembering and forgetting. People have to remember and tell their history orally until a time comes when it can be written down. Then they constantly forget who God is and what he has done for them. At one point they lose all the Scriptures, only to rediscover them generations later. The story goes back long before the printing press — it goes back before paper! Without having written copies of the Scriptures readily available, people depend on telling, repeating the stories about God. And the thing about that is that people fail: they simply forget.

We may have lots of Bibles these days, not to mention lots of paper, but we also simply forget.  There have been times for all of us when we were like the ten lepers. We desperately needed something only God could do for us; we begged him for it, and he granted it. Nine times out of ten, we basked in relief and hurried to carry on with our lives. Maybe, yes, we stopped to give thanks for an hour or a day or a week, but pretty soon we adjusted to the new circumstances, and — we forgot. It’s what humans do, what we have to do: we adapt ourselves to the “new normal” and carry on, even when that “new normal” is built on a miraculous healing or some other lavish gift only God could give.

So we need the reminder every bit as much as our ancient ancestors who couldn’t write things down: remember the great things that God has done for you. Repeat the stories. Continue to give him thanks.

Elizabeth Baumann is a seminary graduate, a priest’s wife, and the mother of two small daughters. A transplant from the West Coast, she now lives in “the middle of nowhere” in the Midwest with too many cats.

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The Diocese of Niger Delta North – The Church of Nigeria
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