Thanks From An Unexpected Source
After the 2016 shooting of five Dallas policemen protests led to at least 309 arrests from New York to Chicago, from Baton Rouge to St. Paul. Many protested peacefully, but flying bottles, fireworks, and Molotov cocktails rivet attention. But in the wake of violence, we need to remember what Shetamia Taylor, the Dallas mom shot in the back of the leg, who pulled her son to the ground and then, lying on top of him, had this to say about the Dallas police.
After asking her if she had been hit and getting her response, she shared this.
“The officer got on top of me and covered me and my son. Another one was at my feet and another stood by us and they protected us. I saw another officer get shot in front of me. They had no regard for their own life. They stayed there with us. They surrounded my son and me.”
She stressed that most of the officers shielding her were white and then she said, “I’m so thankful! Thank you for being heroes.”
There’s power in that word. Thanks. And Luke knew this power. Two thousand years ago in his Gospel he shares a story about Jesus where thanks came from a distant, marginalized outsider -- a leper and a Samaritan.
“Now it happened as Jesus proceeded to Jerusalem that He passed through the center of Samaria and Galilee. And as He was passing through one of the villages ten men, lepers, met him and stood at a distance. With one voice they said, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.’ Seeing them, Jesus said, ‘Go, show yourselves to the priests.’ As they were in the process of leaving, they were cleansed. Now one of them seeing that he was healed, turned back and with a loud voice was glorifying God. He fell on his face at Jesus’ feet thanking Him. Now he was a Samaritan.
Then Jesus responded, ‘Were there not ten who were cleansed? Where are the other nine? They did not turn back to give glory to God—only this one of another race.’ And He said to him, ‘Arise! Go! Your faith has saved you.’” - Luke 17: 11-19
The racial divide between Samaritans and Jews in the first century was even greater than the racial divides in our culture. Jesus used the outsider to teach His disciples about the power of thankfulness and the connection between faith and salvation.
Over the last few years my African American brothers and sisters have been teaching me a lot about the need to say thanks and also to lift up my voice to glorify God in worship.
LORD, during this week help the voices of thanks, forgiveness, and faith in Your Son to be louder than the voices of rage, hatred, and racial division.
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