Luke 17: 11-19

Recommended Resources

{Based on requests from several members (although I am reluctant to do so since my favorites may not be those of others), I am listing here some of my own favorite resources. FWIW!!]
  • Where Are the Nine?

    by Martin Bell, from The Way of the Wolf
    ("Ten lepers were cleansed and one of them returned to give thanks. That must be a nice thing to be able to do. What about the others? It's simple, really. One of them was frightened - that's all. He didn't understand what had happened, and it frightened him. So he looked for some place to hide. Jesus scared him...")
  • Cleanse, Cure and Make Whole

    by D. Mark Davis
    (lots of Greek exegesis)
  • Healing of Lepers

    by Jerry Fuller, OMI
    ("Darryl Dawkins went straight from a high school in Orlando, Florida, to play professional basketball in the late 1970's for the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA. He quickly became famous for his Godzilla approach to basketball. With his 6'11" frame and 265 pounds of muscle, Dawkins developed a patented 'Gorilla Dunk' that sometimes shattered the glass backboard in arenas..." and other illustrations)
  • Healing and Faith

    by Jerry Fuller, OMI
    ("Dr. Paul Brand has worked with lepers for many years in India....He remembers one man in particular who, especially, struggled with deep hurt and anger over his disease. John Karmegan's leprosy had already decimated his feet and hands, and had partially paralyzed his face. Also, in order to protect his eyes from the effects of the disease, a doctor had sewed his eyes partially shut..." and other illustrations)
  • Getting It Right

    by Sil Galvan
    There is a movie called Groundhog Day in which the actor Bill Murray portrays a weatherman who is sent on assignment to cover the annual appearance of Punxatawny Phil, the groundhog, on February 2. He winds up being snowed in by a blizzard and wakes up day after day and discovers that he is reliving Groundhog Day all over again..." and another illustration
  • Much Obliged

    by Steve Goodier
    ("The late Dr. Fulton Oursler used to tell of an old woman who took care of him when he was a child -- a woman who not only expressed her thanks, but felt it. Anna was a former American slave who, after emancipation, was hired by the family for many years. He remembered her sitting at the kitchen table, her hands folded and her eyes gazing upward as she prayed, 'Much obliged, Lord, for my vittles.'...")
  • Proper 23C

    by Bill Loader
    (Always good insights!!)
  • Exegetical Notes (Luke 17:11-19)

    by Brian Stoffregen
    (always excellent exegesis)
  • Illustrations, Quotes and Lectionary Reflections (Ordinary 28C)

    by Various Authors
    (lots of good stuff here!!)
  • Don't Touch Anyone

    (Video Clip from "Molokai")

Narrative Sermons from the Archives

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tab”. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)
  • The Ten Lepers

    by James Batchelor
    ("I will never forget that day. We were heading with Jesus to Jerusalem. We had taken the old border road that ran between Samaria and Galilee, and it was a hot day. It was the kind of day when the dust of the road lies thick on the bushes and puffs up around your feet with every step you take...")
  • He Comes to Save Us All

    by Mark Bringman
    ("Unclean, unclean! Beware, leper, outcast, unclean! Sorry about that folks. It's been so long since I didn't have to say that! I've been a leper more than half of my life. And there are rules that you have to follow as a leper...")
  • The Ten Lepers

    by Richard Fairchild
    ("We were heading with Jesus to Jerusalem. We had taken the old border road that ran between Samaria and Galilee, and it was a hot day. It was the kind of day when the dust of the road lies thick on the bushes and puffs up around your feet with every step you take. The kind of day when the sweat runs down into your eyes and turns the grime on your face into streaks of mud...")
  • Monologue of a Samaritan Mother

    Narrative Sermon by Beth Johnston
  • The Samaritan's Story

    by Anne Le Bas
    ("I lived in the land between Galilee and Samaria. Now, look on a map and you'll see that there is no land between Galilee and Samaria. They are right next to each other. Technically you are either in one country or the other, but real geography isn't about lines drawn on paper...")
  • A Tithe of Thankfulness

    by Jim McCrea
    ("My name is Jeroboam - a rather grandiose, regal name from the history of my people that is perhaps ill-suited to one like myself who, at one time, would have even been refused entrance to a beautiful house of worship such as this. And yet, I do share one amazing characteristic with my namesake. That first Jeroboam was a great hero to my people...")
  • The Anderson Reunion

    Story Sermon by Gary Roth
    ("Art and Pearl lived most of their lives here, and all of their married life. They were in the same confirmation class, and were childhood sweethearts, back when most of the area was still farmland. He was a skinny little farm boy who, when he grew up, wanted to be a teacher, and she was the girl next door. There were only two times they were ever really apart from one another...")
  • The Lottery

    Story Sermon by Gary Roth
    ("Agnes Fitch was in the congregation Sunday morning, sitting in her usual seat - right in front of the pulpit, three rows back. She always liked being right in front of Pastor Shulz, but didn't want to seem too forward, although she'd been trying to land him ever since he came to Our Redeemer. He just didn't seem to get it...")

Illustrated Resources(and Other Resources of Merit) from 2019 and 2020

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tab”. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)
  • After the Miracle

    by Jim Chern
    Usually the story of someone being released from jail doesn’t become newsworthy to an international audience. But over the summer, a man by the name of Dennis Libonati found a way to make that happen for himself. After serving almost 5 months in jail for charges of assault and battery, he was told that he was free to go after now being sentenced to attend anger management classes during the upcoming 9 months of probation he was set to begin. Minutes after his release – he was observed on surveillance cameras attempting to steal 26 different vehicles in the parking lot for the jail, including 2 sheriffs office vehicles. He could be seen grabbing the handles, attempting to break in, even getting so far as trying to hotwire one of the over 2 dozen cars, ATV’s, pickup trucks in the lot. When confronted by police officers he didn’t even try to lie or spin this in any way at all. He straight out admitted he was trying to steal a car as a way of getting home. He was re-arrested, brought right back into the jail he just been let out of, now with a slew of new charges: 26 counts of attempted burglary (one for each car he tried to get into) 1 count of grand-theft auto, one of auto burglary – oh and a count for violating the demands of his parole...
  • Sermon Starters (Proper 23C)(2019)

    by Scott Hoezee
    In the film The Remains of the Day, Anthony Hopkins plays a butler to a super-rich family. While researching this role, Mr. Hopkins interviewed a real-life butler. This butler told Hopkins that his goal in life is complete and total obsequiousness–a skilled ability to blend into the woodwork of any room like a mere fixture, on a par with table lamps and andirons. In fact, Anthony Hopkins said one sentence he will never forget is when this man said that you can sum up an excellent butler this way: “The room seems emptier when he’s in it.” The room seems emptier when he’s in it. The goal is to do your work, fill your wine glasses, clear the plates and silverware without being noticed, much less thanked. But that’s just the problem with routine ingratitude: it makes people disappear. You are the center of your own universe and others don’t warrant entree into that inner sanctum of yourself...
  • Reckless Generosity

    by Dawn Hutchings
    Joan Chittister tells a wonderful story about how one might go about proclaiming an alleluia of money. Sister Joan was attending an international conference in Asia on the status of women. Most of the participants were women she describes as “well-funded activist types or official observers. They were all there to professionally analyze various women’s issues around the world, especially of the needs of women in developing countries. They were busy discussing all sorts of issues that kept women everywhere in some kind of bondage to a money-driven world. At the gathering, these professional women called for more education for girls, more equality through government legislation, more birth control training, better health-care programs, and most importantly more participation of women at all levels of the political process. It was a good conference and every one was very sincere. But it was what happened on the margins of the conference that moved Sister Joan...
  • Thanksgiving Day (C)(2019)

    by Richard Johnson
    Do you remember the story of Jean Valjean in Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables? By cruelty and inhumanity, he had been turned into a bitter criminal. He had been jailed, and when he was released he had a major chip on his shoulder. He was given lodging by a kindly priest—actually, it turned out, a bishop; Jean promptly helped himself to the bishop’s silver and took off in the middle of the night. He was stopped by the police, and he improbably claimed that the silver had been a gift. Dragged to the bishop’s house by the gendarmes, he was astonished when the good man confirmed to the police his ridiculous story and then chided him for having forgotten to take along the candlesticks. When the police had left, the bishop said to him, “Remember, Jean, life is to give, not to take.” That comment changed Jean’s heart. The rest of his life became a channel of grace, bringing help and hope to all whom he met...
  • Gratitude, Not Guilt, Is the First Step to Knowing God

    by Terrance Klein
    The Little Flower, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, wonderfully illustrates her Carmelite forebears’ wisdom. God touched her first with gratitude, not guilt. She straightaway recognized who God was in her life when she first felt grateful for that life. And this happened incredibly early. We know this because her beloved older sibling, who was also her prioress at the time, sensed that God was doing something extraordinary in the life of Thérèse. She asked her little sister to write down what would eventually be called The Story of a Soul. Thérèse began, like Augustine before her, saying that she was compelled to praise the mercies of God. Then she wrote what might be called a parable of lilies. Do not let Thérèse’s tone, so devoid of worldliness, blind you to her acuity...
  • The Secret

    by David Lose
    As it turns out, it all comes down to how you translate a single Greek word. That word – sozo (pronounced more like sod-zo) – can indeed be translated as “made well,” in the sense of being healed. But it can also be translated as “saved,” in the sense of being brought through mortal danger. And it can be translated as “made whole,” in the sense of being completed and made to be what you were meant to be all along. So ten were indeed made clean, but only one was saved. Ten were made clean, but only one was made whole. Ten were made clean, but only one recognized it and gave thanks and, in giving thanks, became what God had intended all along. And that, I believe, is pretty much the secret to life: gratitude...
  • Where Are the Nine?

    by David Russell
    But why the Samaritan? Why was his life changed in a way that the others were not? Fred Craddock puts it this way: It is so often the outsider, the stranger, the visitor who sees and appreciates and responds with gratitude for countless gifts that we have come to take for granted. The visitor in my home talks with and enjoys the children I hardly noticed between coming home and reading the evening paper. The visitor thanks my wife for the meal I have eaten 1000 times in silence. It is so often the stranger who notices and expresses appreciation for what familiarity has blinded us to. This is the truth that hurts. But it is also a truth that can heal. He is not just someone who shows us up for the ingrates we are. He is one sent by God to give us new eyes and ears. And hearts. The point is not to simply feel shame for our lack of gratitude. The purpose of this story is not just to make us feel bad about ourselves. The word for us is that we may need to learn from outsiders, like the Samaritan, how to see with grateful eyes...
  • Gratitude Matters

    by David Rutledge
    I once led a youth mission trip to New Orleans, LA. We set up to minister each day in a grassy median between two busy streets in the St. Roch community. As soon as our tailgate tents went up, the neighborhood children came out eager to engage and play. The intermittent thunderstorms and muggy weather didn’t dampen spirits as we enjoyed a successful week of ministry in the community. One day as we were preparing to leave, I noticed an elderly woman sitting on the porch that I had not yet met. I approached her and introduced myself and began to learn her story. Lucille was a former freedom walker for MLK Jr. and told me amazing stories of her activity during the civil rights era. She was no less committed to her community in her older age and appreciated our involvement with the neighborhood children. She also told me of the deep abiding faith of her mother who was instrumental in her upbringing. In her recollection she called to mind a prayer that she heard her mother pray over and over again in her childhood which said, “Lord, thank you for a day that I’ve never seen before, and will never see again.” I paused. I had never heard a prayer like that before. The deep sense of gratitude reflected within challenged me deeply, and I began to incorporate it into my prayer life...
  • Ordinary 28C (2019)

    by Dennis Sanders
    There is a map of Minneapolis that dates from the 1930s. The city is divided up by where certain kinds of people lived. One area is labeled “slum”; another says “middle class.” There are other areas marked “foreign-born” and “negroes.” This map, which was used by realty companies, is clear about which neighborhoods you might consider living in and which ones you might want to skip. Being at the threshold or the frontier is something Jesus was familiar with...
  • A Foreigner's Praise

    by Debie Thomas
    A few years after I turned my dad’s study into an ill-fated art studio, we took a family trip to India, my parents’ homeland. One morning, as my father was standing in line to buy tickets at a village train station, my little brother pointed to two figures hunched in a corner. “What’s wrong with them?” he asked. By then we’d been in India for several weeks, and I was accustomed to seeing the abject poor. Exhausted women with too-thin babies on their hips. Men who were blind or lame. Pot-bellied children who stared at my Western clothes. My brother and I spent a lot of our time asking my parents for spare change to share. But these two figures at the train station were different. Their faces were distorted, their fingers were half-missing, and their feet were scary, mottled stumps. Though I had coins ready in my fists, I was too afraid to approach them. We asked our father a second time what exactly we were looking at. “They’re sick,” my father answered after a quick, pitying glance in the direction of the two figures. “They have leprosy.” The train station was very crowded that day. I remember it swarming with travelers, vendors, squatters, and beggars. But those two individuals huddled in the shadows were alone in a way I’d never seen before. Their aloneness was otherworldly. It was as if some invisible barrier, solid as granite, separated them from the rest of humanity, rendering them wholly untouchable. Yes, their wasted limbs and marred faces frightened me. But what frightened me much more was their isolation, their utter and complete non-belonging...
  • Ordinary 28C (2019)

    by Tamora Whitney
    When I teach World Literature, I teach the French classic Candide. In the novel, Candide finds himself in El Dorado, a Utopia set apart from the rest of the world. He is curious about their life and culture and asks about their religion – if they have religion, if there are various sects and if they fight about religion. The priest tells him that of course they have religion, and they only have one, the only one possible – they thank God constantly for everything they are given. The priest seems confused that anyone could even conceive of any other religion. What else should people do but thank God constantly for everything they are given...
  • How Great Journeys Begin

    by Carl Wilton
    In the words of Episcopal preacher and writer Tom Ehrich, “Following Jesus isn’t about attaining a specific, measurable goal,or grasping a finite, literal truth. Following Jesus is about following. It is about movement. It is about days that haven’t happened, people one hasn’t met, places one hasn’t gone, and forgiveness one hasn’t requested — not yet. Following Jesus starts wherever it starts but then goes on to the edge and around the corner. Clinging to the “hour I first believed” is never enough. Telling yesterday’s story and polishing yesterday’s truth are never enough. Faith is a journey. It takes us beyond memory, beyond understanding, beyond comfort, beyond control. Faith is about a road, not a specific place on the road.”

Illustrated Resources (and Other Resources of Merit) from 2016 to 2018

  • Bart Simpson's Lesson on Prayer

    by Jim Chern
    It’s hard to believe that the prime-time cartoon "The Simpsons" has been on for close to 30 years now. While "new episodes" about the dysfunctional Simpson family of Bart, Homer, Marge, Lisa and Maggie doesn’t seem to be as good as it used to be, I still crack up at re-runs from the early seasons. One of my favorite episodes from those first seasons, is called "Bart Gets an F." The episode sets up what a terrible student Bart is. After he fails his book report on Treasure Island, Mrs. Krabappel keeps Bart after class and points out that his grades are steadily falling and reminds him about the major history test the next day...
  • Living the "Thank You"

    by Ben Day
    As a child, whenever I received a gift, I was not allowed to play with it until a thank you note was written, signed, addressed, and mailed. My parents wanted to instill in my siblings and me the practice of expressing gratitude to those who offered something to us, and it has served me well throughout my adult life and ministry. I am grateful for this practice that my parents instilled. That was not always true, though. Around the second grade, I was not yet reading, so my parents had me tested by an educational psychologist and discovered that I am dyslexic. There are degrees of dyslexia which gauge the severity of one’s learning disability, and on the scale used at the time, I was a 6 of a possible 7 on the scale...
  • Thanksgiving

    by Owen Griffiths
    If you check out her story online, you'll find that Mary Dague was a rather shy, sentimental kid growing up in Montana. She was engaged to be married right out of high school, but her future mother-in-law scared her—unintentionally, I'm sure—with thoughts of an oppressive domesticity. Mary wanted to be something more than just a housewife. She broke her engagement and, determined to do something that mattered, joined the United States Army. In her second enlistment she rose to the rank of sergeant with the frightening Military Occupation Specialty of Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD), the “Bomb Squad” of the Army. (She also fell in love and married a fellow soldier named Jared) In November of 2007, while on deployment in Iraq, a small IED detonated in Mary's arms. She lost both of her arms slightly above the elbows, received lacerations to her face, and lost a good portion of her hearing...
  • Inside an Abandoned Leper Colony

    by Hugo Gye
    Run-down and left to the elements, these abandoned buildings offer a sometimes macabre, often poignant insight into their history - as a leper colony. The centuries-old institution on the Greek island of Chios once housed dozens of outcasts who had contracted the disease, which is still often misunderstood today. These evocative photos by Kelly Katsarou vividly reveal the environment in which the lepers were forced to live out their lives.
  • The Blessing of Michael's Story

    by Dawn Hutchings
    I remember one damp and dreary day in Vancouver that stands out from all the other damp and dreary days. It had been a particular damp, grey February. It had been overcast or raining for weeks and weeks and weeks. I was riding on the busy to work. It was the same bus that I had been riding on for two years. Every weekday morning, I would commute by bus from the suburbs into the heart of the city. At six-fifteen, I would stand with the same people at the same bus stop and get on the same bus, that carried all the same people to their same jobs. On a good day, the trip would usually take 45 minutes. Nobody ever spoke on that bus. Occasionally people would nod or smile at the all too familiar faces of their daily travelling companions, but conversation would be reserved for sunny days, when people could only manage a word or two. It was like there was this unwritten rule that nobody had the energy or the inclination to break. We saw one another almost every day, and yet, we knew absolutely nothing about one another and that was the way we were determined to keep it. On this particular dull, depressing, February morning, in addition to being tired, I was also wet. The wind was really blowing so I carried my umbrella in vain. Unable to open my umbrella, I had to rely on my hooded jacket to keep me dry. The bus was running late and the water was just beginning to seep through my jacket...
  • Thankfulness in the Midst of Chaos

    by Beth Johnston
    A few years ago I saw a very moving video, from Thailand, I think. In this video a boy was caught stealing medicine for his sick mother and was harshly scolded by the shop-owner. A nearby business owner intervened, paid for the medicine, and in addition to the medicine gave the boy some vegetables. Fast forward to 30 years later; this same man, now older collapses in his shop, just after giving food to a beggar. He hits his head and ends up in hospital. He is still in a hospital bed when his daughter receies the bill. She is forced to put a “for sale notice” on the shop because she can’t pay. We see a doctor looking over the shop-keeper’s MRI images. The next day the daughter receives a revised bill of 0.00 and a note saying that it was paid for him all those years ago - when the man had showed mercy and generosity to a young boy who had to become a thief to survive. It’s the true story of Dr. Prajak Arunthong. He noticed and said thanks in a very meaningful way!...
  • Gratitude

    by John Kavanaugh, SJ
    Perhaps the most grateful person I’ve ever heard of was an old woman in an extended care hospital. She had some kind of wasting disease, her different powers fading away over the march of months. A student of mine happened upon her on a coincidental visit. The student kept going back, drawn by the strange force of the woman’s joy. Though she could no longer move her arms and legs, she would say, “I’m just so happy I can move my neck.” When she could no longer move her neck, she would say, “I’m just so glad I can hear and see.” When the young student finally asked the old woman what would happen if she lost her sense of sound and sight, the gentle lady said, “I’ll just be so grateful that you come to visit.”
  • Maybe There Is a Beast...Maybe It's Only Us

    by Terrance Klein
    Coming together, after their plane crashes onto a deserted island, the lost boys of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies (1954) remind themselves of an important resource, which they still possess, their national identity. Abandoned, without adults, they nevertheless insist, We’ve got to have rules and obey them. After all, we’re not savages. We’re English, and the English are best at everything. So we’ve got to do the right things. Their time on the island begins admirably. They elect a leader and promise to listen attentively to whoever holds the conch, a seashell they use to summon themselves together. But readers of this classic know that dread has a way of driving us apart.
  • A Little Leper in All of Us

    by Nicholas Lang
    There is a story of three young men who fought in World War II. While in Italy, one of them was killed. Out of love for their friend, the other two decided they would give him a proper burial. That night, while all was still, they carried his body to a nearby cemetery and began digging his grave. The local priest spotted what he considered suspicious activity in the parish graveyard and confronted them. “What are you doing out here in the dark?” “Our friend’s been killed, and we want to honor him with a proper grave,” they explained. The priest was moved with pity. “Is your friend a Roman Catholic?” “No Father, he’s not.” “Then I’m sorry, but that means he can’t be buried in our cemetery. It’s consecrated ground. You’ll have to bury him outside the fence.”
  • Expressing Gratitude

    by Kate Matthews
    (includes several quotes)
  • God in the World

    by Jim McCrea
    Mark Lykins and his wife are the founding pastors of Good Shepherd United Methodist Church in Durham, North Carolina. It is an intentionally multicultural congregation that drew its member from 18 different nations. And for that reason, nearly from the beginning of the church, the Ku Klux Klan openly opposed them. For seven years, the KKK intimidated property owners from selling land to the congregation. When the church finally found a property owner willing to sell to them, the KKK organized massive protests against the rezoning of that land. But that’s not all by any means. Bricks where thrown through Mark’s car windows. Klansman stood outside the church and intimidated the members as they tried to enter or leave worship. They even threatened the lives of both Mark and his children. A new church building was built anyway and Mark moved on to other ministries, but the emotional scars remained.
  • Keeping Their Distance

    Art and Faith by Lynn Miller
    The leper colony called Lovokomeio on the Greek island of Chios, was opened in 1378 as the first leper colony in Greece. On the island is a church dedicated to St. Lazarus, patron saint of lepers. The colony was officially shut down in 1957, after a cure for leprosy (Hansen's disease) had been found.
  • The Test of All Happiness Is Gratitude

    by Joseph Pagano
    In his memoire, All I Could Never Be, Beverly Nichols, recalls an experience of gratitude in his garden. He says, “It was inevitable, I suppose, that in the garden I should begin, at long last, to ask myself what lay behind all this beauty. When guests were gone and I had the flowers all to myself, I was so happy that I wondered why at the same time I was haunted by a sense of emptiness. It was as though I wanted to thank somebody, but had nobody to thank; which is another way of saying that I felt the need for worship. That is, perhaps, the kindliest way in which a person may come to his or her God. There is an interminable literature on the origins of the religious impulse, but to me it is simpler than that. It is summed up in the image of a person at sundown, watching the crimson flowering of the sky and saying–to somebody—‘Thank you.’”
  • Given to Good Works

    by Steve Pankey
    Several years ago, there was a viral story making its way around the intertubes about Pastor Jeremiah Steepek who supposedly dressed himself up as a homeless man in front of the megachurch to which he had been recently called, to see if anyone would stop to care for him. As the story goes, “He walked around his soon to be church for 30 minutes while it was filling with people for service….only 3 people out of the 7-10,000 people said hello to him. He asked people for change to buy food… NO ONE in the church gave him change. He went into the sanctuary to sit down in the front of the church and was asked by the ushers if he would please sit in the back. He greeted people to be greeted back with stares and dirty looks, with people looking down on him and judging him.”
  • Thanksgiving

    by Andrew Smith
    We’re all familiar with the Pilgrims’ and Indian’s first thanksgiving in 1621, even if it stirs some controversy today. And most of you are probably familiar with the stories of George Washington issuing a Thanksgiving Day Proclamation in 1789 to commemorate that first Pilgrim celebration. You might not be aware that our third president, Thomas Jefferson discontinued thanksgiving, calling it “a kingly practice.” And so, after this, a day of Thanksgiving was observed by some individual states, and on whatever date suited them. Until 1828. In that year, a woman named Mrs. Hale, editor of the magazine Godey’s Lady’s Book and author of the poem “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” began campaigning for the restoration of Thanksgiving as a national holiday. She wrote letters and sought appointments with national leaders from the President on down. Time after time she was politely rebuffed, sometimes being told it was “impossible” and “impractical,” and sometimes being dismissed with a this-is-none-of-your-business scolding. Finally, in 1863, (after 35 years!) President Lincoln listened seriously to her plea that North and South “lay aside enmities and strife on (Thanksgiving) Day.” It was Lincoln who proclaimed the fourth Thursday of November to be the official “National Thanksgiving Day.” This day was finally ratified by the U. S. Congress in 1941...
  • Faith That Makes Us Well

    by Kristen Leigh Southworth
    Much has been made in recent years of the doubts that plagued Mother Teresa in the last half of her life. Time magazine called it a “crisis of faith.” And yet what is truly remarkable, what actually makes her a stalwart of Christian faith and worthy of sainthood, is that she continued to act with overwhelming trust in God’s reality and presence, even when she could not personally perceive or feel that presence. That is Biblical faith...
  • How About Something Different?

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    I can recall three rhetorical questions that accompanied me throughout my childhood. The first was, "Were you born in a barn?" That usually came when I left a door open, or didn't clean up my room. The second was, "When will you ever grow up?" Which was a question my sisters asked me as a carefully planned, relentless program of persecution. The third one was, "Have you forgotten something?" That was the parental admonition, usually for not saying thank you after receiving some gift. Which is what I thought of when I read the New Testament lesson for this morning from Luke's gospel, the seventeenth chapter, the story of Jesus healing ten lepers.
  • All He Has

    by Paul Tellstrom
    Finally, I once read a sermon years ago that has changed how I hear this passage. The preacher pointed out that, "All this man had...was Jesus." While the other nine may have had a welcome place to return to, this Samaritan returned to give thanks to Jesus because Jesus was the only one who would embrace him. It reminds me of the poor job we do, even sometimes in our churches, of welcoming people who are different in any number of ways.
  • Proper 23C

    by Debie Thomas
    Three years after that day in the study, we took a family trip to India, my parents’ homeland. One morning, as my father was standing in line to buy tickets at a village train station, my little brother pointed to two figures sitting hunched in a corner. “What’s wrong with them?” he asked. By then we’d been in India for two weeks, and I was accustomed to seeing beggars. Exhausted women with too-thin babies on their hips. Men who were blind or lame. Pot-bellied children who stared at my Western clothes. New to witnessing such relentless need, I spent my days digging in my father’s wallet or my mother’s purse, handing out every bill or coin they’d spare. But these two figures were different. Though I guessed they needed help, too, I didn’t want to approach them. Their faces were distorted, eaten. Their fingers were half-missing, and their feet were scary, mottled stumps. “They’re sick,” my father answered after a quick, pitying glance in their direction. “They have leprosy.”
  • Crossing Borders

    by Anne Williams
    Rami Adham, a Syrian-Finnish (yes, he lives in Finland) father of 6 is known as Uncle Toy among Syrian refugee children. Adham collects toys and money in Finland then gets himself smuggled into Syria through Turkey to deliver toys and goods to people living in refugee camps. He has made the journey 28 times in five years. It can be dangerous, as he has to be smuggled across the border both ways each time he travels. It’s not unusual for him to walk six or seven hours at a time, sometimes dodging bullets. He says that Syrians have lost faith in others in the world because of the terrible violence in their country. Adham says no one will ever stop him. He’s completely dedicated to the kids of Syria.
  • Love Freely Given

    by Carl Wilton
    In a few weeks it will be Thanksgiving. Extended families will come together, across the miles, and sit down together at the dinner table. Many are dreading the encounter. One such person is a woman named Deena Winter. Deena’s a journalist. I read about her in a column she wrote online. Not long ago, Deena unfriended her own uncle on Facebook. She’d posted some things she’d written that reflected her own political viewpoint, and what he said about her in response was so harsh, she felt she just had to get out of there. What Deena said at the conclusion of her column was the real kicker: “I don’t want to go home for Thanksgiving this year — for the first time in my life. We are not a family that dreads Thanksgiving. We are not a family who fights. We’re a family who loves each other truly, madly, deeply. But I know my father won’t be able to restrain himself from talking politics, no matter who wins the election, and a battle will ensue.
  • Images of Healing

    Compiled by Jenee Woodard
  • Movies/Scenes Representing Faith

    Compiled by Jenee Woodard
  • Movies/Scenes Representing Healing

    Compiled by Jenee Woodard

Illustrated Resources (and Other Resources of Merit) from 2010 to 2015

  • The New Copernican Revolution

    by Phil Bloom
    ("Besides being a brilliant scientist and the most important modern astronomer, Copernicus was a devout Christian. He studied theology and received minor orders. In the year 1500, when he was twenty-seven years old, he made a pilgrimage to Rome for the Holy Year...")
  • Proper 23C (2013)

    by Delmer Chilton
    ("In a Peanuts cartoon, Lucy is doing her math homework. She is working on a word problem. She is stuck, so she asks Charlie Brown for help. 'I'll be eternally grateful,' she promises. Charlie Brown says 'Fair enough. I've never had anyone be eternally grateful before. Just subtract four from ten to get how many apples the farmer had left.' Lucy says, 'That's it? That's all there is to it?...")
  • Just Do It!

    by Tom Cox
    ("Back in 1986, Irish Writer Colm Toibin undertook a walk along the whole 'border' between the Republic and Northern Ireland. Sometimes a red or green Post Box or different road markings and signage are today the only indication that you had changed jurisdiction. But somehow even where there is really no border, like in Ireland, the human instinct is always to make borders and divisions...")
  • Practice Gratitude

    by Steve Garnaas-Holmes
  • God at the Center

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ("Frank Selak, a Croatian music teacher, began his lucky or unlucky streak (depending on how you look at it) in 1962 on a train going from Sarajevo to Dubrovnik. The train inexplicably jumped the tracks and fell into an icy river killing 17 passengers. Frank managed to swim to the shore. A year later while travelling on a plane, its door flew off and Frank was sucked out of the plane. He woke up in a hospital. He had fallen into a haystack...")
  • Jesus Is With Us Now and Every Moment

    by Thomas Gumbleton
    ("We don't know it as we're reading the lesson, but as they're walking along, the one Samaritan must have been saying to himself, 'Where shall I show myself to the priests?' because Samaritans didn't worship in Jerusalem. But then they're cured, and the man gets an extraordinary insight: 'No, God is not at Jerusalem or at Garasene -- God is in Jesus'....")
  • Proper 23C (2010)

    by Scott Hoezee
    ("In her novel Ladder of Years, Anne Tyler introduces us to Delia Grinstead. Delia is a lovely, loveable, and utterly giving wife and mother who regularly does her level best to keep her household running smoothly. But as her children grow up, they become 'great, galumphing, unmannerly, and supercilious creatures' who ignore Delia and who flinch from her hugs....")
  • Writing Your Thank You Notes

    by Charles Hoffacker
    This is what Henri Nouwen learned when he left Yale Divinity School after teaching there for a decade and began ministering among the poor in Lima, Peru In his book Gracias! A Latin American Journal he tells us: "Gratitude is one of the most visible characteristics of the poor that I have come to know. I am always surrounded by words of thanks: 'Thanks for your visit, your blessing, your sermon, your prayer, your gifts, your presence with us.' Even the smallest and most necessary goods are a reason for gratitude. This all-pervading gratitude is the basis for celebration. Not only are the poor grateful for life, but they also celebrate life constantly. A visit, a reunion, a simple meeting are always like little celebrations. Every time a new gift is recognized, there are songs or toasts, words of congratulation, or something to eat and drink. And every gift is shared. 'Have a drink, take some fruit, east our bread' is the response to every visit I make, and this is what I see people do for each other. All of life is a gift, a gift to be celebrated, a gift to be shared." We can learn from poor people to celebrate life as a gift...
  • Expressing Gratitude

    by Kate Huey
    includes several quotes
  • Between Samaria and Galilee

    by Janet Hunt
    ("The land between Samaria and Galilee is neither one or the other. By its very existence, it is a place where it is impossible to forget that the two had once been one. It is a location which causes one to remember how things were before long before the experience of exile left its mark on both kingdoms. It is a place where one might find oneself unsure of who belonged and who didn't...")
  • Self-Made? Think Again!

    by Beth Johnston
    "How many Vicar of Dibley fans are here today? (The Vicar of Dibley is a British comedy set in a fictional English parish and the Vicar of Dibley is female. It is British humour at its finest!) Well, do you remember when the tall, dark and handsome accountant moved to the Parish and took up residence in a cottage near the church..."
  • Cataract Surgery

    by David Lose
    ("Whatever else this story may be about, I definitely think it's about sight. Ten men are healed, but only one sees what has happened. And that seeing makes all the difference. Not only does the tenth leper change direction, moving toward Jesus rather than the Temple priests, but he also has the opportunity to worship God with thanksgiving and hear the pronouncement of blessing from Jesus...")
  • The One That Didn't Get Away

    by Jim McCrea
    ("Some time ago, a group of parents sued the parents of a young boy from their town. The boy had cerebral palsy but he desperately wanted to play soccer with the other neighborhood children. So his parents bought him a specially-designed sled-like device that supported his weight on the soccer field and allowed him to push himself around with his weakened legs using a pair of braces...")
  • An Attitude of Gratitude?

    by Alyce McKenzie
    ("I have written to the pastor of our former church in Yardley, Pennsylvania to try to get the email of a woman I knew there 22 years ago. Her name is Dot and she was on the welcome committee. Whenever a family had a tragedy or a joy, Dot was there with food and a kind presence. She was the church for those families...")
  • Ordinary 23C (2013)

    by Paul O'Reilly, SJ
    "When the Falklands war started, I was about 15 and we happened to be living next door to the Argentinean naval attaché My mother heard the news on the radio and immediately went next door to ask him what it was all about. He was horrified at the news, broke down in tears and could not be consoled. Probably he was the only man in Britain who really knew what was going to happen next..."
  • One Came Back

    by Larry Patten
    ["Last year I read Jana Riess' reverently irreverent Flunking Sainthood (an account of her year-long quest to practice spiritual disciplines). Then I became her "friend" on Facebook. Not long after friending Riess, she challenged all her digital pals to express five daily gratitudes on Facebook during August 2012. Riess cautioned in her book: 'Does my gratitude practice reduce the frequency of negative thoughts? Not so far.'..."]
  • How Does the Creature Say Thanks?

    by Nancy Rockwell
    ("There is an old movie, Places in the Heart, a tale of depression era life in the American south. Murders, lynchings, and betrayals occur in it, and the bond between a white woman and a black man save a family. But they are eventually torn apart by racial bigots. The final scene takes place in a small country church, where communion is being passed among the pews...")
  • Thanksgiving

    by Andrew Smith
    ("In 1863, during the terrible war between the states, President Lincoln wrote: 'I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens...")
  • Adjacent Possibility

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    ("Ever get overwhelmed? When my Gramma would get overwhelmed--with work, anger, excitement, whatever--she would exclaim: 'I am just beside myself!' What she meant was that there was just too much of what she was feeling to be contained by one person. To be 'beside yourself' was not a good thing...")
  • The Gratitude Factor

    by Todd Weir
    ("Thank someone else every day. Shawn Achor, a Harvard researcher who wrote The Happiness Advantage, found that people increased their happiness by writing one email every day praising and thanking someone else in their social network. Thanking people re-connects us, and we are likely to be happier with renewed bonds with others...")

Illustrated Resources (and Other Resources of Merit) from 2007 to 2009

  • Proper 23C (2007)

    from the Center for Excellence in Preaching
    ("In the film The Remains of the Day, Anthony Hopkins plays a butler to a super-rich family. While researching this role, Mr. Hopkins interviewed a real-life butler. This butler told Hopkins that his goal in life is complete and total obsequiousness--a skilled ability to blend into the woodwork of any room like a mere fixture, on a par with table lamps and andirons....")
  • Name It. Claim It. Give It to the Lord

    by Dennis Clark
    ("A woman accompanied her husband to the doctor's office for his annual physical. Afterwards the doctor asked to see her privately. 'Your husband is a very sick man. His heart could give out at any time. If you want to keep him alive, you've got to shelter him from all anxiety and stress. Don't argue or disagree with him. Do whatever he asks...")
  • The Gospel in Disney: The Hunchback of Notre Dame

    by George Cushman
    ("Today, we reflect upon one of my favorite all-time Disney movies The Hunchback Of Notre Dame. The movie is about lepers. Not in the physical sense of having Hansen’s Disease, but in the social sense of being someone who is not only pushed to the fringes of society, but who is fully rejected by their society...")
  • Returning Thankfully

    by Richard Niell Donovan
    ("Henri Nouwen, a Catholic priest, went on a mission to Peru and Bolivia. He wrote a book about his experiences there, and entitled it Gracias! He said: 'The word that I kept hearing, wherever I went, was 'Gracias!'. It sounded like the refrain from a long ballad of events. Gracias a usted, gracias a Dios, muchas gracias—thank you, thanks be to God, many thanks!..." and other quotes)
  • Improvisational Gratitude

    by Robert Dunham
    ("Henry Ward Beecher, the nineteenth century American preacher, employed a wonderful image to describe what it means to live the life of gratitude: 'Suppose someone gave you a dish of sand mixed with fine iron filings. ...")
  • Jesus and the Ten Lepers

    by Nora Gallagher
    ("The scene I imagine is like a story I heard at San Francisco General Hospital in the AIDS ward, when I visited that place as a reporter, in 1985, when AIDS was like the plague.")
  • Dead Men Walking

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ("A newspaper reporter came up to Rudyard Kipling once and said, 'Mr. Kipling, I just read that somebody calculated that the money you make from your writings amounts to over one hundred dollars a word.' The reporter reached into his pocket and pulled out a one hundred-dollar bill and gave it to Kipling...")
  • Thanksgiving

    by Jennifer Gold
    ("There is a story that is told about a man whose wife had left him. He was completely depressed. He had lost faith in himself, in God, and in other people. One cold and wet dreary morning, he went to have breakfast in the small neighborhood restaurant...
  • The Hand

    by Steve Goodier
    ("Thanksgiving Day was near. The first grade teacher gave her class a fun assignment -- to draw a picture of something for which they were thankful. Most of the class might be considered economically disadvantaged, but still many would celebrate the holiday with turkey and other traditional goodies of the season...")
  • Ordinary 28C (2007)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Once upon a time there was a man who was struck down in his early thirties who was diagnosed with brain cancer. He had a wife and young children and a promising career. Suddenly all of that was swept away from him. He could barely talk or walk. He was in constant agony...")
  • The Ten Lepers

    by Fred Hoeweler
    ("There is a story about a woman who grew tired of shopping and sat down to eat and have a coffee break. She bought herself a little bag of cookies and put them in her shopping bag. She then got in line for coffee, found a place to sit at one of the crowded tables, and then taking the lid off her coffee and taking out a magazine she began to sip her coffee and read..." and another illustration about Ryan White)
  • Thanking Outside the Box

    by Fred Kane
    ("Dance like no one can see you; Love like you've never been hurt; Sing like no one can hear you; Live like heaven is on earth...")
  • Gratitude

    by John Kavanaugh, SJ
    ("Perhaps the most grateful person I've ever heard of was an old woman in an extended care hospital. She had some kind of wasting disease, her different powers fading away over the march of months. A student of mine happened upon her on a coincidental visit. The student kept going back, drawn by the strange force of the woman's joy...")
  • Giving Thanks

    by David Martyn
    ("This week I finally read a book I bought some time ago, The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. The promise of the book is “as you learn The Secret, you will come to know how you can have, be, or do anything you want. You will come to know who you really are. You will come to know the true magnificence that awaits you in life...")
  • Thanksgiving and Worship

    by Jim McCrea
    ("Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe is a popular program on the Discovery Channel. The idea of the series is simple to show those occupations that few people know anything about nor want to know about it. Here's how the producers describe their show: 'In the feisty Dirty Jobs, host and everyman Mike Rowe gets the grimy scoop on downright nasty occupations...")
  • Thanksgiving Day

    by Joseph Pagano
    ("The Grammy-award-winning singer Mary Chapin Carpenter recently suffered a pulmonary embolism. She was admitted to an emergency room after experiencing terrible chest pain. A scan revealed blood clots in her lungs...")
  • The Faith That Makes You Well

    by Martin Singley
    ("Tony Campolo tells the story of flying out to a conference where the effects of jet lag interfered with his ability to get a good night’s sleep. At about 3 o’clock in the morning, he was wide awake, so he got up and left the hotel to go to a little diner down the street. While he was sipping on some coffee and chatting with the husband and wife who ran the diner, the door opened and into the restaurant stepped a group of streetwalkers...")
  • All Ten Lepers Got Better, One of Them Even Got Well

    by Ron Starenko
    "Richard Lyon wrote: 'Friends, Colleagues, and whomever...I have an 'alien' cancer...The outlook is soon terminal for this life. The good news is that I have become more healed than I ever thought could happen to me. (To be 'healed' comes from the same word root as to be 'made whole' - not to be confused with 'cured'..."
  • Giving Thanks: An Invitation to Live

    by Alex Thomas
    ("Rupert Brooke made an inventory of the things for which he was grateful. Each item revitalized a memory, started a happy thought, brought back a picture, and revived a joy. His list included: White plates and cups; wet roofs beneath a lamplight; the strong crust of friendly bread; rainbows...")
  • But Are We Grateful?

    by Keith Wagner
    ("An old legend tells how a man once stumbled upon a great red barn after wandering for days in a forest in the dark. He was seeking refuge from the howling winds of a storm. He entered the barn and his eyes grew accustomed to the dark. To his astonishment, he discovered that this was the barn where the devil kept his storehouse of seeds..." and another illustration)

Illustrated Resources (and Other Resources of Merit) from the Archives

  • A Eucharistic Leper?

    by Alastair Barrett
    ("Claire came home the other day, having spent the day visiting people who were facing major operations, and people who were suffering with illnesses that may well be terminal. Claire was there to listen to them, to give them space to talk about how they were feeling, how they were coping with pain and the isolation of hospital, to share with them their experience of illness..." and another illustration)
  • Your Faith Has Made You Well

    by Glenn Berg-Moberg
    ("In his mystery novel Talking God, Tony Hillerman, whose stories are set in the Native culture of the American Southwest, tells of a Navajo woman who has fallen ill. Following tribal custom, the entire community takes responsibility for her health. They gather around her for the Night Chant ceremony, a ritual of singing, dancing, bells, drumming, and sand painting that lasts for nine days...")
  • Why Do We Worship?

    by Peter Blackburn
    ("Many years ago a new Tsar came to the throne in Russia. One day as he walked around the palace grounds, he noticed a guard posted at a particular spot. He could see no reason for a guard just there, and the guard was under orders and had no idea what he was guarding. Digging back into palace records he unearthed the surprising story...")
  • Two Classes of Men

    by Phil Bloom
    ("A dozen years ago a movie came out which humorously depicted that division of humanity. Titled What About Bob?, it stars Richard Dreyfuss as a psychologist who has everything: a lovely wife and children, a dream home, a successful practice and a best selling book which gives advice for problem solving...")
  • Thanksgiving

    by Robert Brow
    ("My wife Mollie and I worked for eleven years in India. In those days lepers were a common sight with their hands and feet and faces horribly disfigured. They lost all feeling in their body, and they didn't know when they had been cut or burned. You could see them wandering around in search of food or begging by the roadside...")
  • Ten Thousand Lepers

    by John Christianson
    ("generations of salesmen have been quite satisfied with the 7-3-1 rule. They are told that, with dry calls, they have to make ten contacts before three people will even listen to their presentation, and then, of those three that listen, only one can be expected to buy....")
  • The Attitude of Gratitude

    by Tom Cox
    ("Along with 'take your bath' – 'say thanks' must be in every mother's relentless repertoire. We do need reminders to be grateful and yet while gratitude is beautiful – it is so rarely done....")
  • Sacrifice of Thanksgiving

    by Ernest Munachi Ezeogu, CSSP
    ("Harry Ironside, the great American Bible teacher, went into a crowded restaurant to have a meal. Just as he was about to begin his meal, a man approached and asked if he could join him. Ironside invited him to have a seat. Then, as was his custom, Ironside bowed his head in prayer...")
  • More Than Normal

    by Richard Fairchild
    ("Robert Capon, in his book Parables of Grace urges us to think about it this way. The ten lepers are all dead people. Whether you are talking physically, spiritually, or socially, they are dead. They would love to get healed which, in this context, means they would love to get raised from the dead, and return back home to a 'normal life'...")
  • Remembering to Give Thanks

    by Richard Fairchild
    ("One afternoon a shopper at the local mall felt the need for a coffee break. She bought herself a little bag of cookies and put them in her shopping bag. She then got in line for coffee, found a place to sit at one of the crowded tables, and then taking the lid off her coffee and taking out a magazine she began to sip her coffee and read. Across the table from her a man sat reading a newspaper...")
  • Focusing on God's Goodness

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ("Bill suffered a massive heart attack and while being treated, a drug he was given caused a severe allergic reaction. His heart stopped for fourteen minutes, and he went into a coma. Twelve days later, he woke up and recovered fully. But the story has barely begun...")
  • Cultivating a Grateful Heart

    by Bruce Goettsche
    ("Philip Yancey in his great book WHERE IS GOD WHEN IT HURTS tells of a NBA basketball player by the name of Bob Gross, who wanted to play despite a badly injured ankle. Knowing that Gross was needed for the important game, the team doctor injected Marcaine, a strong painkiller into three different places of his foot...")
  • Ordinary 28C (2001)

    by Thomas Gumbleton
    ("I read about one young woman who was killed in United Flight 93. She was a junior at Santa Clara University in California, a Catholic school. And the president of that university, a Catholic priest, a Jesuit, was speaking with her parents, who said to Father Locatelli, the president, 'Look, we know that our daughter would not want anything done out of hatred in her name. Nor do we..." and another short illustration)
  • Recovery of Gratitude

    by Timothy Hart-Andersen
    ("My first pastorate was at Old First Church, an urban congregation of about 200 members in downtown San Francisco. Like many historic city churches, the building was old and in need of repair. We had no room for expansion, no parking, no endowment. The neighborhood was overrun with homeless, addicted or mentally-ill men. It was tough going...")
  • Ordinary 28C (1998)

    by Charlie Irvin
    I came across this story about an old farmer who, with his wife, was celebrating fifty years of married life. Life on a farm can be tough; commitment is required. And you have to be frugal. Their children gave them a party during which lots of friends congratulated the honored couple. They looked at old pictures, brought out old phonograph records. The fifty-year couple even danced a bit to the old, familiar music. When the party was over and all had gone home the happy couple found themselves alone. It was a tender moment. The old farmer, who was careful with his money and even more frugal with his words, felt moved to speak. “You know, Ma, over these fifty years, sometimes I’ve loved you so much that I could hardly keep from telling you.” She reached for a hankie tucked up in her sleeve, dabbed her eyes and said: “Thank ya’, Pa.” Why are we so reluctant to let others know how we feel?...
  • Gratitude: This Attitude is No Platitude

    by John Jewell
    I will never forget a visit with a dying woman at the hospice unit where I served as an "on call chaplain." She was a young mother and it was difficult to see her, her two young children and her husband going through the anguish of a life cut-off too soon. I received a call that she wanted to talk with me late one Saturday evening. When I arrived, she said, "Pastor, I am sorry to bother you so late. I know you have so much to do tomorrow." It hit me like a spiritual "ton of bricks". So much to do??? My God -- how fortunate could I be?" This woman had very little left to do. Once again I encountered something I had discovered in clinical training. Some of the greatest lessons I have ever learned have come from dying people. This young mother wanted to talk about her life and her relationship with God and I went to help her as God enabled me. But, I was the one who received the blessing. Something she had to say was so powerful, I would like to have her help me conclude this sermon. One of the things dying people frequently have to work through is a sense of anger and I assumed -- mistakenly -- that this would be a part of this last visit with her. A part of our conversation went something like this: "Do you have any sense of anger with God?" I asked. "Oh, heavens no!," she replied, "Not at all. I am sooo grateful!" Quite honestly, I was taken aback. Inside I was thinking, "Grateful? How can you be grateful?" Outwardly, I simply said, "Really?"...
  • Seeing Is Believing

    by Beth Johnston
    "As some of you know, I am a big fan of Harry Potter. In various episodes Harry and his friends, Ron Weasley and Hermionie Granger struggled against a snake-like monster called a basilisk, a vicious three headed dog by the name of 'Fluffy' and even a whole army of giant spiders..."
  • Surprise and Gratefulness: When Healing is More Than Skin Deep

    by Fred Kane
    ("as ee cummings puts it: 'i thank You God for most this amazing day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything which is natural which is infinite which is yes'....")
  • Attitude of Gratitude

    by James Kegel
    ("In his play, Brand, Henrik Ibsen, the Norwegian playwright, has the character of the pastor trying the most arduous disciplines to meet God's standards. In the last scene, just before an avalanche buries him, the pastor cries out, 'Can nothing avail?'...")
  • Leaping Lepers

    by David Leininger
    ("'How about a word or two on behalf of the nine lepers who did not return to give thanks?' That is how Martin Bell begins his essay on this text in an intriguing collection entitled The Way of the Wolf...")
  • Whole and Thankful, Holy Thankful

    by Linda Loving
    ("Episcopal priest Martin Bell in his story Where Are the Nine reflects: 'Ten were cleansed and only one returned. What shall I say now, that the real point is not that one returned but that ten were cleansed? You already know that...")
  • Where Are the Other Nine?

    by Edward Markquart
    ("Let me tell you a story that illustrates what I am saying. It is the story of a man by the name of Pastor Rinkhart. He was pastor of one congregation for thirty years, just as I have been a pastor to you for nearly thirty years. He was pastor of a church in Prussia from 1619 to 1649, during the Thirty Years War in Europe. From the year the war began until the year the war ended, he was the pastor in the same walled city...")
  • Sheer Gratitude

    by Donel McClellan
    ("Fred Craddock reflected on this intriguing passage and wrote 'It is often the outsider, the stranger, the visitor who sees and appreciates and responds for countless gifts that we have come to take for granted. The visitor in my home talks with and enjoys the children I hardly noticed between coming home and reading the evening paper...." and other quotes)
  • Healing Through Death

    by Paul Nuechterlein
    For those of you who aren’t trekkies like me, Star Trek centers around a starship from earth called the Enterprise. The particular episode I have in mind involves the most terrible enemy that these humans had ever faced, the Borg, who themselves are virtually like a living cancer spreading throughout the galaxy. The Borg are terrifying creatures who are part humanoid and part machine. They are implanted with many bionic devices that enhance their strength and perception. Most terribly, the implants even extend into their brains so that they are all interconnected like one huge machine. In other words, the Borg are one huge collective, who like a cancerous tumor, have no other purpose than to take over everything else. They don’t explore; they don’t even simply conquer; they “assimilate.” Each Borg has no individual identity. A single Borg on its own would be compelled to talk, not in the first person, but still in the third person: “We are Borg. We have come to assimilate you. Resistance is futile.”...
  • We Are the Nine

    by William Oldland
    ("In Martin Bell's book The Way of the Wolf, he has a short story called 'Where Are the Nine?' In this story he gives credible explanations for why the nine other lepers did not return. One of the healed lepers did not return because he had lost the ability to say thank you. For years he had been on the street begging for a few coins from every person who passed. At the beginning he said thank you to everyone, but as time went on he lost the ability to say thank you...")
  • Proper 23C (2001)

    by Joe Parrish
    ("Oprah Winfrey said she was able to finally get through a long siege of serious bouts of depression when she finally decided that each night she would write down ten things she was grateful for during that very day. And once she began to do the process of daily thanksgiving as a nightly ritual her depression went away and has never returned...")
  • A Lesson in Thankfulness

    by John Pavelko
    ("A minister began talking with the businessman seated next to him on an airplane bound for St. Louis. After the businessman learned that he was seating next to member of the clergy, he shared the story about his wife's yearlong struggle with a terrible illness and her intense suffering...")
  • Living in Gratitude

    by John Pavelko
    Merging onto the busy freeway, Lisa headed for the convention center. She was supposed to work an exhibitor's booth that day at a Christian educators convention. She could hear the gentle sounds of her new baby daughter from the backseat. She also caught the familiar scent of a rather pungent odor. "Just my luck," muttered this mother of four. Traffic was heavy and she did not have time to pull off the freeway for a diaper change. Her little darling would have to endure her discomfort. Once they arrived at the convention center, Lisa plopped Charli into the stroller, grabbed the diaper bag and raced 9,000 convention goers to the exhibit hall entrance. Weaving through traffic she was forced to make some rather daring maneuvers with the stroller. She hoped that the Spirit and not the aroma were helping to move people out of her way. Upon arriving at the booth, she began the decontamination process. People were streaming into the hall and strolling by her booth as she frantically juggled baby, wet wipes and diapers. Lisa tried desperately to flash her best, "I've got everything under control" smile but she could feel the strain in her cheeks...
  • The Virtue (and Vice) of Gratitude

    by Gerry Pierse, CSsR
    ("Some years ago I visited a doctor friend of mine. He showed me an envelope which contained an amount of money and a letter which said, 'Doctor, when I was sick you helped me and never asked for anything because you knew that I could not pay...")
  • The Anderson Reunion

    Story Sermon by Gary Roth
    ("Art and Pearl lived most of their lives here, and all of their married life. They were in the same confirmation class, and were childhood sweethearts, back when most of the area was still farmland. He was a skinny little farm boy who, when he grew up, wanted to be a teacher, and she was the girl next door. There were only two times they were ever really apart from one another...")
  • Turn To God

    by Judith Schenck
    ("Her name was Edna Miller and she was about as plain as her name implied except when she was inside the walls of a classroom with chalk in hand. She stood barely five-foot tall yet could look eyeball to eyeball with the biggest bully in the school and stare him into repentant submission. And could she teach. Man, could she teach!...")
  • Seeing Healing

    by Mary Hinkle Shore
    "Fred Gaiser makes several points about what the tenth leper gets and how that multi-faceted healing is available to God's people today. His first point is that the healed one who returns does so because he sees God at work in the world..."
  • A Gratitude Adjustment

    by Billy D. Strayhorn
    ("We've got a little girl living with us, right now. Her parents no longer want her. They brought her to Mary's class one day and when the Christmas holidays came, told Mary to keep her, they didn't want her any more. So, Pearl has exchanged her home with one of the students to a home with one of the teachers. But that's OK, Pearl, she's a guinea pig by the way, fits into the menagerie of pets in our family quite well...." and other illustrations)
  • Show and Tell

    by Billy Strayhorn
    ("In an old peanuts, Charlie Brown, Linus, and Lucy are on their way to school. Lucy asks Linus if he remembered to bring something for show-and-tell that day. Linus answers, 'Yes, I have a couple of things to show the class.' He then unfolds some papers. 'These are copies I've been making of some of the Dead Sea scrolls.'...")
  • Giving Thanks: An Invitation to Live

    by Alex Thomas
    ("Rupert Brooke made an inventory of the things for which he was grateful. Each item revitalized a memory, started a happy thought, brought back a picture, and revived a joy. His list included: White plates and cups; wet roofs beneath a lamplight; the strong crust of friendly bread; rainbows...")
  • How About Something Different

    by Mark Trotter
    ("Donald Streater graduated from Georgetown Law School when he was forty-seven years old. For twenty-three of his forty-seven years he was an alcoholic and a drug addict. At thirteen he had his first drink. At fifteen he smoked his first marijuana. At eighteen he began shooting heroin into his arm..." and another illustration)
  • Health and Wholeness

    by Keith Wagner
    ("Victor Frankl, an eminent psychologist, died recently at the age of 9l. He was a prisoner in a concentration camp in World War II. During those dark days of his life, Frankl suffered from hunger, cold, brutality and the eminent possibility of being exterminated....")
  • To God Be the Glory

    by Keith Wagner
    ("There was a movie that aired on television recently called, 'City of Angels'. In the movie there is a doctor, played by Megan Ryan, whose name is 'Maggie'. During heart surgery her patient dies. She is devastated and feels guilty that she was unable to save the man’s life. She finally realizes that she is not totally in control of her patient’s fate...")
  • Proper 23C

    by Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson
    ("in a World War II concentration camp, there were a number of Christians; some were Baptists, some Roman Catholics, some Lutherans. All of them wanted to have their own worship services at first. However, they found that this was not working out so the Baptists, Roman Catholics and Lutherans all got together to organize one worship service for everyone..." and another illustration)
  • The Thankful Leper

    by Ralph Wilson
    (good exegesis, etc.)
  • The Leprosy Doctor

    by Philip Yancey
    ("We made an odd couple. When we first met, I was a punk in my mid-20s with bushy Art Garfunkel hair. Dr. Brand was a dignified, silver-haired surgeon characterized by proper British reserve. We went on to write three books together, and I now view the ten years I worked with him as an important chrysalis stage of my faith...")
  • Lord, Have Mercy

    by Tim Zingale
    ("Androcles was a young boy who wandered off into the forest one day. Suddenly he came upon a lion which was groaning in pain. Androcles turned to run away as fast as he could, and as he glanced over his shoulder to see how close that lion was, he noticed the lion had not run after him. So Androcles, sloped, turned back to the lion to see what was the matter...")

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Children's Resources and Dramas

The Classics

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Currently Unavailable