Greetings from Cactus Texas!
My name is Dana Franchetti, I am the Children and Youth Program Director at Cactus Nazarene Ministry Center (CNMC), in Cactus Texas. Cactus is a small town in the northern part of the Texas Panhandle and our community is made up of primarily refugees and immigrants from over 20 different cultural background. My neighbors are from places like Mexico, Guatemala, Brazil, Sudan, Eritrea, Congo, Somalia, and Burma. CNMC is a Compassionate Ministries Center that serves our community through English as a second language classes, connecting people to resources for citizenship and GED classes, a community soccer program, an after school program, parenting classes and more. I have the joy and honor of working with the children, teens, and their parents in this community. That means that much of my time is spent running around soccer fields, hosting safe events for kids and teens to come and hang out, stretching their imaginations for what their futures can hold and what they are capable of, and sitting in homes, hearing stories and sharing meals.
This Sunday, I am going to share some of those stories with you. One story in particular about a Somalian man named Amiir. Amiir was born into a Muslim family, and was a devout Muslim until about 9 months ago when he began to hang out with some Christian Sudanese men who attend African Mission Church of the Nazarene. I wont give away anymore spoilers about Amiir’s story, other than to say that because of Amiir, over the last couple of months a passage in Luke 17 has been working on me. The story of the ten lepers who were healed by Jesus, but only one returns to give thanks, always struck me as a pretty straight forward narrative. God provides for us and so it is right and good to give thanks.
This is obviously a true statement; however, if we focus only on that reality, we miss all the other details of this story. What does it mean to say that this one leper that came back was a Samaritan? Scripture tells us that they called out to Jesus from a distance. What does it do to a person’s self-worth to have to constantly stand at a distance from the rest of the world? Jesus, Lord of all creation, asks the question where there not ten of you who were healed? He is the one who healed them, why would he need to ask such a question? Unless he were trying to make a point. Sometimes, when I read through scripture, I am reading to try and “get to the point” but in doing that, I often miss the details that might be communicating more about God than the moral of story.
If you have a few free moments this weekend, take some time to spend in Luke 17:11-19. Pay attention to the details, take some time to think about the different people in the story and consider things from their perspective. Maybe, as we start to notice God in the details of this scripture passage, it might help us to notice God in the details of our lives.
Grace and Peace,