Sunday 9 October 2022. Sermon is by Revd Bruce Woolley

Liturgy for Services:

The full Service Slides, including the hymns, readings, prayers, other liturgy and notices may be found on our website.

NOTICES

Cell: 081 240 0964
031 305 4666

Date of Fete 29 October

There is a large box near the pulpit to receive items. Please make your donations there or to the church office.

There are different coloured envelopes available for you to make a contribution towards the fete fundraising.

Planned Giving (PG) forms

PG forms are available at the desk. We encourage everyone to be on the PG Scheme. Thanks to all those who have been faithful to their giving.

Receipts for PG are available for collection. Please check your details are correct. In future, we would like to email the receipts.

Mothers’ Union:

The MU is having their Annual Conference at Skogheim in Port
Shepstone, 7th 9th October.

AWF Seafarers Outreach:

St Pauls on Saturday 15 at 9:00 am

Archdeaconry Youth Leaders’ Meeting:

St Pauls on Saturday 15 at 9:30 am.

Archdeaconry Lay Ministers’ Meeting

St Pauls on Saturday 15 at 14:00.

Vestry on Sunday 16 October:

There will be a combined service at 7:30 am that day. Thereafter, the Bishop has called a Vestry to discuss the new Rector.

AmaShova Cycle race:

Please note there will be road closures on Sunday 23 October.

Rector’s farewell:

The farewell service for the Rector is on Sunday 20 November 2022. Please keep this date in mind.

Chapter meeting: The Rector will be at the Cathedral for the day on Thursday this week.

Staff appreciation:

The Parish would like to show appreciation to our 3 staff members (Sithembile, Freda, Sizwe, and Sikhubuzo) in December, who work tirelessly behind the scenes to keep the church going. Donations would be welcomed in cash or kind.

Music Concert:

“Melvin Peters and Jeff Robinson in Concert,” 15.00, today at St James Church, Morningside.

Thanks and appreciation

Chang & Toni De Carvahlo (R2000) in thanksgiving for their wedding and their daughter Sophia’s baptism
Themba Ndaba (R400) in thanksgiving for her birthday
Dolly Ndlovu – biscuits
Senoge Family – 2 x boxes of printing paper, teabags and coffee
AWF- items for the soup kitchen
Mrs. P Gasa – toilet paper & cleaning detergents
Chibuzor Udoka Items for fete
Tsepo Makhanya – Pine Gel, Window cleaner, Bleach,, Dish washing liquid, Floor polish liquid, Handy clean

Needs of the church

Charcoal, Incense, Priest Wafers, People Wafers

A4 Papers, cleaning products (toilet paper, garbage bags, dishing washing liquid, handy andy, bleach, jik, furniture polish, window cleaner, wax polish for floor)
Items for soup kitchen

Candles -Those wanting to donate candles rather donate the money so that the church can buy the correct candles

Birthdays 9 – 15 October

9 Nobuntu Mahlati
10 Monwabisi Dlamini
13 Athie Maduna
14 Bonga Shozi
15 Terence Pillay

Wedding anniversary

9 – 15 October
12 John and Ros Clark

Contacts

Rector
Rev. Dr. Andrew Warmback 083 693 6745
Asst. Priest Rev Bruce Woolley 079 544 7566
Church Wardens
Dr. Egerton Hingston 073 080 4113
Mrs. Yolisa Mapasa 082 435 8170
Alternate Church Warden
Mr. Bheki Shabalala 082 086 9548
Church Treasurer
Mr. Lethu Mkhize 082 053 9004
E-mail: paulsdbn@mweb.co.za
Website: www.stpaulsdurban.org.za
Facebook: @stpdbn
Instagram: stpaulsdurban
Twitter:@StPaulsDbn

 

Sermon by Revd Bruce Woolley Luke 17:11-19 Being Grateful

At some point you have probably heard a story about someone who won a huge jackpot in the lottery. They win more money than they have ever dreamed of in their lives, and they are overjoyed by their new found wealth. Inevitably they find that they are suddenly much more popular. Their families make sure that they spend time with the lottery winner and do their best not to make them mad, because if they do they might not get to share in the winnings.

Old friends from high school and from their old jobs start showing up, eager to “catch up” and rekindle the friendship that they once had. The lottery winner suddenly feels like they are the most popular person ever. The sad thing that many lottery winners discover is that once the money is gone, so are all their “friends”. The friends really didn’t care about them at all, they were just looking to get something from them.

This morning we will be looking at a story that involves much the same dynamic. We will see Jesus grant healing to ten lepers, most of whom were more excited for the healing they had received than they were about the one who had given it to them.

Faithful Obedience

As we begin the story we read that Jesus was making his final trip to Jerusalem when he was getting ready to enter a village near the border of Samaria and Galilee. Verse 12 tells us,

As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

You may already know something about leprosy in the Bible, but it is important to mention a few things because they will help our understanding of the story. First, leprosy in the Bible may or may not be the disease we would call leprosy (or Hansen’s disease) today. It was a blanket term used of contagious skin diseases. Regardless of the exact medical definition, the Jewish law was very clear about how contagious skin diseases were to be dealt with.

Anyone who had such a disease was to go and be examined by the priests, and if it was determined that the disease was not going to go away any time soon, the person was deemed unclean. They could no longer be part of civilized society. They had to live outside the town to ensure they did not infect others with their disease. To make sure they didn’t spread the disease they had to constantly keep their distance and cry out, “Unclean!” when anyone came near. Needless to say, this was a depressing and demeaning kind of life.

If you add to the social pressures of leprosy the potential physical pressures, you realize the horror of such a diagnosis. If the disease they had was like our modern-day leprosy, these people would begin to lose sensation in their extremities and start to have deformities caused by injuries as well as the course of the disease. Since they couldn’t feel their fingers and toes they would do things that would injure them without even knowing it. Their fingers and toes might become mangled by repeated injuries and covered in ulcerous sores. They hardly looked human after the disease had been
allowed to run its course for a long time.


This is what the people Jesus came across were probably like. There were ten men who were probably living together in a kind of camp outside the city since no one else was allowed to be near them. As Jesus approached, they kept their distance, but called out together in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” The fact that these men called out to Jesus indicates that they believed he could do something about their condition.

Maybe they had heard the stories of others who had been healed of leprosy; surely they had heard the reputation of this teacher named Jesus. They must have known that this man could heal people with all sorts of infirmities. When they found out that the man walking into the village was Jesus, they must have yelled with all their might for him to come and help them. They weren’t going to wait to see if he came over—they knew
this was their one and only shot at healing, and they weren’t going to leave it to chance.

In verse 14, we see what happened, When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

It’s not surprising to most of us that Jesus healed these people—he had made a habit of healing people who asked him to do so. What is interesting in this account, however, is how he healed them. He did not touch them; he didn’t pronounce healing on the spot. Rather, he told them to go and show themselves to the priests.

This command makes little sense to us, but it made sense in the context of the Jewish law. Since not all skin diseases were permanent, there was a provision in the law for a person to be declared cured. When they believed the skin disease was gone, they were to go to the priest to be examined. If the priest agreed the disease was gone, they would have to spend a period of time under observation to be sure it didn’t come back. If, after the allotted time had passed and the priest still could find no trace of the skin disease, they would be declared clean, and would be permitted back into the society. So Jesus’ command to the lepers is interesting. He told them to go to the priest before they had been healed. He was basically telling them to act in faith, believing that somehow they would be cleansed.

Apparently all ten of the lepers did as they were told. They all believed in Jesus enough to take him at his word, even though it really didn’t make much sense from a human perspective. In the account in Luke, we don’t have any indication that these ten men argued with Jesus. They may have been somewhat reluctant to do what he said, thinking that they would be embarrassed to show up before the priest without having been healed, but
they did it anyway.

The result was that all of these men were healed. They did what Jesus told them to do, even though it didn’t make much sense from a human perspective. They knew that the only chance they had at healing was to do what Jesus said. When they did, they received blessing.

True Gratitude

All ten of the men were apparently healed of their leprosy, but the story doesn’t end there. Instead, we see one man’s response to Jesus’ healing.
One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.


Of the ten men, only one came running back to Jesus to thank him. The others were apparently so focused on their physical healing that the prospect of going back to thank the healer probably never occurred to them. I imagine these men suddenly dancing in the streets at the fact that their leprosy was gone. They probably began to imagine being able to go home and spend time with their wives and kids, about being able to go back to work, about being allowed to spend time with their friends.

They knew that the quicker they could get to the priest, the quicker they could get back to life as usual. The Samaritan who was healed thought it best to run back to Jesus and fall at his feet in gratitudeprobably before he’d even been to the priest. This man seemed to recognize that he had been healed of leprosy, but that something even greater had happenedhe had met God himself. He realized that not only had he received healing
of his physical ailment, but that God had taken the time to care about him. So he ran back to Jesus, praising God and thanking Him. I don’t think he was just thanking Jesus for taking away his leprosy, I think there was something even more important to this man.

When he arrived before Jesus and thanked him for what he’d done, Jesus responded almost with sadnessnot sadness that this man had come to thank him, but that the others did not.

Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:17-19, NIV)

Jesus was saddened that the only one who responded to the healing he had given was this Samaritan man. The simple way to look at this passage is to conclude that Jesus wants us to come back to him and thank him for what he’s done in our lives. While I think that’s true, I also think there’s more to this story than just asking people to come back and thank him. All of them were certainly grateful for the healingI think Jesus recognized that the man who came back to thank Him was grateful for more than just being cleansed of leprosy.

The Samaritan man seemed to recognize that there was an opportunity for something even greater than just physical healing. He realized that there was an opportunity for spiritual restoration. The most important thing for the nine was being able to get back to life as usual, being able to get back to their families, and being able to be accepted again in the eyes of the world. The most important thing to the Samaritan man was that he could have a relationship with God.

As a result of this man’s response, Jesus told him to get up and go because his faith had made him well. Some translators point out that the literal translation of these words is, “your faith has saved you.” I think Jesus was pointing out that this man received more than just cleansing from leprosyhe had been made well, he had been saved, he had experienced forgiveness and a new relationship with God.

Conclusion

This passage is one that is difficult because it seems to indicate that not everyone who receives blessings from God is necessarily a follower of God. Sometimes people will follow Him only as long as they will continue to get something from Him. It’s a lot like the way people treat a lottery winner. They are grateful for what he can give them but they have little interest in him beyond that. Jesus points out that even though we can receive blessings from God without really following Him, we will only find life the way it was meant to be if we take advantage of the relationship he offers
us.

Here’s the question we must ask: if we were one of the ten lepers would we have been content with the healing or would we have come back to get to know the Healer? Would you have been more excited to get back to your family, your job, or your friends, or would you have gone back to Jesus first?

We have to askare we using God? Are we seeing only what He can give us while missing the splendor of who He is? If you think you might be the way you are living, let me give you some suggestions of how to move forward.

View obedience to God’s commands as a way to honor God rather than as a way to earn points toward blessing. Use your prayer time to get to know God rather than merely giving Him a list of what you want.

Make it a point each day to list the specific things for which you are grateful and turn back to God each day to show appreciation to Him. Read the Bible seeking to know the person of God, rather than just looking for promises of how God will bless you.

Try to make a list of reasons you should worship God that have nothing to do with what He can give you. We need to change the way we view our faith. We need to work at consistently putting God first in our lives, not because it will benefit us, but because He is worthy of our worship. As you go into this week work at becoming more like the Samaritan than the other nine lepers. Be grateful for what He has given you, but also for the fact that He
wants a relationship with you. Strive to live for Him…without asking what’s in it for you.

Giving:

You are invited to make a contribution to the ministry and mission of our church by making a donation to the following account: Account Name: St Paul’s Church Account Number: 50854628623 Bank: First National Bank (FNB) Branch Code: 2214