Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, Toledo, Ohio
A congregation of the Northwestern Ohio Synod
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Sunday, October 9, 2022
Introduction & Welcome
Thank you for accepting God’s invitation to worship today, God’s gift to us because God is
good, all the time, and all the time, God is good! (Keep that phrase in mind as we read today’s Gospel)
It’s a miracle! Multiple miracles! The waters of holy baptism have healed us. The body and blood of Jesus in holy communion have made us clean. We have died with Christ and been raised with him. For all this we have returned to offer thanks. From this place we are sent on our way rejoicing to share the good news.
Confession and Forgiveness
All may make the sign of the cross, the sign that is marked at baptism, as the presiding minister begins.
Blessed be the holy Trinity, ☩ one God,
who is eager to forgive
and who loves us beyond our days.
Dear friends, together let us acknowledge
our failure to love this world as Jesus does.
Silence is kept for reflection.
God of mercy and forgiveness,
we confess that sin still has a hold on us.
We have harmed your good creation.
We have failed to do justice,
and walk humbly with you.
Turn us in a new direction.
Show us the path that leads to life.
Be our refuge and strength on the journey,
through Jesus Christ, our redeemer and friend.
Beloved of God:
your sins are forgiven ☩ and you are made whole.
God points the way to new life in Christ,
who meets us on the road.
Journey now in God’s abiding love
through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Prayer of the Day
Almighty and most merciful God, your bountiful goodness fills all creation. Keep us safe from all that may hurt us, that, whole and well in body and spirit, we may with grateful hearts accomplish all that you would have us do, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.
First Reading: 2 Kings 5:1-3, 7-15c
1Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man and in high favor with his master, because by him the Lord had given victory to Aram. The man, though a mighty warrior, suffered from leprosy. 2Now the Arameans on one of their raids had taken a young girl captive from the land of Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. 3She said to her mistress, “If only my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” 7When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to give death or life, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Just look and see how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me.”
8But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent a message to the king, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come to me, that he may learn that there is a prophet in Israel.” 9So Naaman came with his horses and chariots and halted at the entrance of Elisha’s house. 10Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go, wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored and you shall be clean.” 11But Naaman became angry and went away, saying, “I thought that for me he would surely come out, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and would wave his hand over the spot, and cure the leprosy! 12Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them, and be clean?” He turned and went away in a rage. 13But his servants approached and said to him, “Father, if the prophet had commanded you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? How much more, when all he said to you was, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” 14So he went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; his flesh was restored like the flesh of a young boy, and he was clean.
15a-cThen he returned to the man of God, he and all his company; he came and stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel.”
Psalm: Psalm 111
1Hallelujah! I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
in the assembly of the upright, in the congregation.
2Great are your works, O Lord,
pondered by all who delight in them.
3Majesty and splendor mark your deeds,
and your righteousness endures forever.
4You cause your wonders to be remembered;
you are gracious and full of compassion.
5You give food to those who fear you,
remembering forever your covenant.
6You have shown your people the power of your works
in giving them the lands of the nations.
7The works of your hands are faithfulness and justice;
all of your precepts are sure.
8They stand fast forever and ever,
because they are done in truth and equity.
9You sent redemption to your people and commanded your covenant forever;
holy and awesome is your name.
10The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all who practice this have a good understanding. God’s praise endures forever.
Second Reading: 2 Timothy 2:8-15
8Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David—that is my gospel, 9for which I suffer hardship, even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But the word of God is not chained. 10Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, so that they may also obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. 11The saying is sure:
If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
12if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he will also deny us;
13if we are faithless, he remains faithful—
for he cannot deny himself.
14Remind them of this, and warn them before God that they are to avoid wrangling over words, which does no good but only ruins those who are listening. 15Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly explaining the word of truth.
Alleluia. Give thanks in all | circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Alleluia. (1 Thess. 5:18)
Gospel: Luke 17:11-19
11On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. 12As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, 13they called out, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” 14When he saw them, he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were made clean. 15Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. 16He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. 17Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? 18Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19Then he said to him, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.”
Meditation by Vicar Dave
I want to talk today about second chances. Much of the ministry I envision myself going into involves second chances. After all, the people that go to prison and then get out certainly had problems with their first chance. Many of these people have broken the law not just once, but several times. Once they have served their sentence, and are returning to society, they are being given, in lots of cases, not just a second chance, but perhaps a third or fourth chance. In today’s Gospel, Jesus is giving the ten leprous men a second chance at life. That’s not to say that these men did anything to deserve their affliction, but none the less, their being healed gives them another chance to reenter their communities. Once healed, these men will likely need the support of their families and those around them so that they can begin their lives anew. Similarly, persons returning to society after incarceration, need plenty of services in order to be successful. Some are still suffering from addiction issues while others have significant mental health concerns. A lack of housing and employment are also significant barriers to success that these people may have to contend with. Then there’s the stigma of having been incarcerated, which also creates barriers to their successful reintegration. Having pro-social family members can be helpful, but often the family that they return to gets them right back into the anti-social thinking patterns and behavior that resulted in their incarceration to begin with. What I’m hoping to do in my ministry, is to connect these people with churches in their community so that they can have some pro-social people in their lives that will not only help them find the services they need, but also provide good examples of how to live in a community. As a parole officer, I attempt to give them some of these things, but also being charged with enforcing rules with them, I tend to be seen more as an authority figure than as someone there to help. I recently had a fellow that completed his supervision call me after he had been off for about 3 months. He was under no obligation to do so that one of two let me know that he had obtained a good job. He also wanted to say quick thank you because he felt as though I have been part of his being able to move forward. Of all the folks of supervised over the years he was the first one to call back after he was done.
In a sense, I can understand some of what Jesus must have been feeling when only one of the lepers that He had healed came back to thank Him. But then again, I’m just as guilty as the nine of not showing my gratitude to the Lord as often as I should. The Lord has heaped blessing upon blessing on me and yet, often I forget to even say thank you. When I wake up in the morning, that in and of itself is a blessing that is not given to many folks anymore. I may grumble about my job from time to time, but that is also a blessing that many would love to have. I have enough food, as attested to by my expansive girth, and I have a wife that loves me very much. These are things for which I should be eternally grateful to the Lord, and which should cause me to sing his praises every minute of every day.
There was something else about the Gospel reading which caught my attention. The grateful former leper was a Samaritan. You may recall that the Jews and the Samaritans were not on the best of terms, to put it mildly. We’re not told about the ethnicity of the nine but is seems to be implied that at least some of them were Jews. Here, at least in my mind, is another example of how Jesus showed, in His life here with us, that He came for everyone, including the outsiders. It also strikes me that the one who was most grateful for his healing, or at least expressed his gratitude directly to Jesus, is probably the one whom the Jews would have considered unworthy of such a blessing. That’s an allegory for all of us, I think. None of us are worthy of the gifts that Jesus brings to us. Forgiveness of sins, eternal life with the Father and salvation, just to name some of the big ones. Yet Jesus came down to us and gave them to us anyway. Like the Samaritan, we should all show our gratitude to the Lord by singing his praises and glorifying Him every day.
Prayers of Intercession
In gratitude and humility, let us join together in prayer on behalf of all of God’s creation.
Gracious God, we give you thanks for bishops, pastors, and deacons. Inspire leaders of the church, such as Brenda, our pastor, and Elizabeth & Daniel, our bishops, to proclaim your mighty deeds, that your saving faith may be known to all. Hear us, O God.
Your mercy is great.
Majestic God, we give you thanks for land and water, seedtime and harvest. Break down boundaries we construct between ourselves and the rest of your creation. Bring renewal and restoration to places affected by pollution and deforestation. Hear us, O God.
Your mercy is great.
Mighty God, we give you thanks for those in our community, nation, and world who work for justice and peace. Guide those who govern to act on behalf of those marginalized by race, ethnicity, or religion. Hear us, O God.
Your mercy is great.
Merciful God, we give you thanks that you hear the cries of those in need. Restore to community those who are stigmatized by illness, feel rejected, or who live in isolation. Send healing to all who suffer especially those on our prayer list and those we bring before you now, both out loud and in the quiet stillness of our hearts. Hear us, O God.
Your mercy is great.
Faithful God, we give you thanks for the healing ministries of this congregation. Equip those who visit, care, and pray for the sick. Give insight to doctors, nurses, home health aides, and all practitioners of medical arts. Hear us, O God.
Your mercy is great.
Eternal God, we give you thanks for your faithful people who have gone before us to your glory. Renew our trust in your eternal promises of mercy, redemption, and new life. Hear us, O God.
Your mercy is great.
With grateful hearts we commend our spoken and silent prayers to you, O God; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Together, let us profess our faith using the words of the Apostles Creed:
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy
Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and
was buried; he descended to the dead.* On the third day he rose again; he ascended
into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the
living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
And now, as our Savior, Christ is teaching us, we boldly pray:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be
done; on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our
trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into
temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the
glory, for ever and ever.
God, who gives life to all things
and frees us from despair,
bless you with truth and peace.
And may the holy Trinity, ☩ one God,
guide you always in faith, hope, and love.
Go in peace, with Christ beside you.
Bless the world and be God’s grace!
Thanks be to God!