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Season of Pentecost week 17, Common Lectionary year A

Thanksgiving Sunday

Luke 17:11-19   A Reading in 7 parts.

By Rev Elisabeth R. Jones

 Feel free to play up the character of your part: (Narrator = straight-laced, #1 Full of questions.  #2 Knows it all.  #3 and #4 are “Lepers” – with licence to act.   #5 is the grateful one.  #6 – don’t let it go to your head, but you’re Jesus!

No ‘acting’ is required, but evocative reading is! Because we won’t have much chance to practice it’s VITAL you a) prepare yourself well- read the script LOTS of times, and pay attention to the ‘stage directions’  b) stick to the script so others know when to come in!


Narrator:  Let me tell you a story from the Gospel of Luke about the time when Jesus healed ten people who had leprosy.

Reader 1: Leprosy?  What’s that?

Reader 2:  It’s the name that people used back then to describe all sorts of skin conditions….. sores, rashes, that sort of thing. They didn’t have creams and drugs back then, so lots of people got skin diseases.

Reader 1: Oh, okay. Seems an odd thing to tell a story about though.

Narrator: Well, let me tell the story and let’s see if it’s odd or not, shall we?  As I was saying this story is about the time when Jesus healed ten people who had leprosy.

Jesus was going to Jerusalem and he was travelling in the border region between Samaria and Galilee….

Reader 1: Ermm…. hang on a moment. What border region? In my Bible Atlas there was no border region, they were next to each other, like Beaconsfield and Pointe Claire.

Narrator: Well, that’s what it says in the Bible. Luke must have had a reason for saying that.

Reader 2: In Luke everything happens in the “border region” or just outside the gates, or ‘in between’ one place or another.  He seems to like living on the edge, even when there isn’t one.

Narrator: Can I continue? Are you done?

Readers 1 and 2: For now, yes. Go on.

Narrator:  “On the edge of a village”

Reader 2: There! See!!

Narrator: frowning at reader 2, and carrying on…. “On the edge of a village, ten people who had leprosy called out to him.

Reader 2: They were ‘on the edge’ because they weren’t allowed in the town.

Narrator:  I was going to say that!!

Reader 1: Why weren’t they allowed in the town?

Reader 2: Because they had those skin diseases, which were very contagious.  They kept lepers in shacks outside the villages so no one else would catch their disease.

Reader 1:  That’s pretty harsh, isn’t it? Not being able to live with your family when you’re sick?

Narrator: How about you two just hush for a little while and let me tell this story. Everyone else wants to know what happened.

As I was saying,  “Ten people who had leprosy called out to Jesus.”

Readers 3,4,5:  ringing bells, and crying out not together but over one another.      Jesus! Jesus! Master! Teacher! Rabbi!  Have mercy on us!!

Narrator:  You scared the daylights out of me! What are you doing? 

Reader 4: We’re helping tell the story. It’s a good one.

Narrator: Oh my, oh my, really? I assume you have a “Jesus” somewhere too?

Reader 6:  That would be me. But not just yet. (to congregation) Pretend you haven’t seen me yet.

Narrator:  Okay, back to this story. Now… where were we….?

Readers 3,4,5:  start ringing bells, and repeating “Jesus! Have mercy on us!”

Narrator: They were shouting because they knew they weren’t allowed to come close to anyone without ringing a bell in warning.  Jesus saw them and heard them (looks towards Jesus), and he had compassion for them all. He called back out to them:

Jesus: “Go, show yourselves to the priests!  Go on now! It’s okay!

Reader 1: leaning over to reader 2:  Why did he say that? Why do they have to go to the priests?

Reader 2: Because if for some reason you ever got cured from your skin disease,  you had to prove that you were healed by going to the priests who checked your skin to make sure it was unblemished …. all smooth…. again.  If the priest said it was okay, you were allowed to go back home, and join in the life of the community again.

Reader 1: Oooh… then….??

Narrator: kind of interrupting: As the ten went towards the village to the priests, all of a sudden they noticed one another:

Reader 3: Wow! Look at my hands!

Reader 4: Look at his face!  His feet! point to

Reader 5:  The sores have gone!  My skin is smooth as a baby!

Reader 3: Do you think….? Can it be?

Reader: 4:  I think he’s cured us! Quick let’s run to the village!!

Narrator:  And they did. They ran, laughing, crying, jumping, rushing to get to the priests as fast as they could.  But one stopped running.  She looked at herself from head to foot, and turned back to look at Jesus. She ran back to him.

Reader 1: Was it a woman? Really?

Reader 2: Well, Luke said it was a ‘he’, and said he was a Samaritan too, you know a bit of an outsider, but I think the Minister is trying to  include more people in the story, so she wrote “she”.  It works either way, really.  And remember it’s Luke; the one on the edge, he’s always talking about God’s blessing reaching out beyond the predictable boundaries. Woman, Samaritan, child, leper….. God’s healing is for all of them, not just the guys.

Reader 5: Jesus, Rabbi.  Forgive me for coming back first, but I …. I just had to thank you. You have no idea how much this means to me. How this will change my life! How can I thank you enough!

Reader 6/Jesus: God bless you for coming back! But the others, the other nine, where are they? Weren’t they healed too? Strange they didn’t come back with you to thank God.

Reader 1: But I don’t get it, why’s he asking that? He just told them to go to the priests!  They’re only doing what he told them to do. That’s not so fair, is it?

Narrator: It’s what it says here in the Bible, but I’m not sure I get it either. Luke writes “ Was none found to return to praise God except this foreigner?”

Reader 2: It is a bit weird, and it does look unfair, but I wonder if it’s Luke doing his thing again.  You know, the border that’s not there, the foreigner that “gets it” about God’s salvation being for everyone.  It does make Jesus seem a bit grumpy though.

Reader 1: And I don’t like that. Jesus shouldn’t be grumpy.  turning to Jesus reader: Can you try your part again a different way?

Reader 6/Jesus:    Ermm, let’s see….  

Well, first, God bless you for coming back to thank me!
That makes my heart glad, that you, of all people…
(sorry, but you are a foreigner, and in this version a woman too!)
should “get it” what God has just done here. 

Curing you all of your illness is one thing,
and I guess the others are busy making sure that the priest gives them the ‘all clear’, so that they can get on with their old lives again.
But for you, the gratitude in your heart is what’s going to make all the difference in the world.
It’s going to change your life, you’re going to see God’s blessings and healing at work in all sorts of places in your life and in the lives of those you know.  

I just really, really wish that it was possible for everyone in the world to understand that “giving thanks” for the ‘ordinary blessings’ of life and for those ‘extraordinary blessings’  is what makes all the difference.
It’s what heals the world and fills it with joy. 

That’s what I want the world to know. Gratitude is such a gift for living.

Reader 1: Well, now I see why you (pointing to narrator) you wanted to tell this story.  

Reader 2: (stunned, slow dawning) Oh my goodness! That makes sense, doesn’t it. Thank goodness!

Reader 3,4:   Noooo, “Thank God.”

Narrator: This is Gospel! Good News!

All: Thanks be to God!!


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