As Jesus entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” When he saw them, he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were made clean. – Luke 17:12-14 (NRSV)
A common focus in this story is the one healed leper, an outcast among outcasts, who came back to say thank you. But there’s something else that also speaks to me:
Jesus didn’t immediately heal the lepers; he simply told them to act as if he had. And so it was that with the disease still ravaging their bodies, the outcasts set out to be declared clean. As they went, they were made whole.
And isn’t that how faith works?
We make the hard decision to undergo the chemo and radiation, not knowing if the misery will be worth it, but as if it will. We decide not to drink today, not knowing if we’ll be able to do the same tomorrow, but trusting we’ll get sober one day at a time. We reach out to that person who’s angry with us, as if forgiveness is possible. We work for racial justice, as if both hearts and systems can be changed. We care for creation, as if the worst of the climate crisis is not inevitable.
And as we go, we find companions along the way. As we go, we build community. As we go, we come to realize that we must live each day as if God’s love is at work in our lives and in the world, whether we see it or not.
Day by day, step by step, keep me going in the way of faith.