Luke 17 – Sozo

There’s a distinctly poxy feeling about this week’s passages, with Naaman and the Ten Lepers. I hope you’ve had your vaccinations! Checkout the links below for some upfront activities, reflections and even a drama script.

Alternatively, you may be Harvest-focussed. See this post for a load of Harvest resources and there’s a great craft below as well.

Plus, of course, your Confession and Absolution, Blessings and Dismissal based on a selection of lectionary passages and some notes on the wholesome nature of healing (sozo) in the Bible.

And don’t forget your (shhh, whisper it) Christmas resources. Brand new scripts for Nativity plays that are faithful to the Bible and let you tell the good news in a non-cringy manner, with some laughs along the way. Checkout the books in the sidebar or read more in this post. [Click]

Links for Lectionary Passages

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Reflection on Luke 17:11-19

Something that struck me in this passage, which links with something that struck me on Sunday (is that not so often the way?) is the narrowness of our English translations, sometimes.

In this passage we read of ten lepers being ‘made clean’ (v 14, 17), ‘healed’ (v 15) and ‘made well’ (v 19).

Now,  the reference to being made clean is linked to the Levitical law of dealing with leprosy, hence the instruction to show themselves to the priest. (Interesting that they had to set off to the priest before they received their cleansing.) But all three words have a broader meaning in Hebrew than in English.

We have inherited something of a spirit/body duality from later Greek thought, but the Hebrew idea (and thus Christian) is of a much more wholistic approach – which Western medicine substantiates – that we are integrated creatures. Our minds/bodies/souls are not separate entities, and the New Testament writers realised that.

The Greek word Jesus uses for ‘has made you well’ is σῴζω (sōzō) ‘to save’. It’s the same word as in John 3, “For God so loved the world … that the world might be σῴζω through him.” We normally limit this salvation to redemption from sins, which is important, obviously, but the word is so much bigger than this.

Jesus asked whether it was lawful on the Sabbath to σῴζω a life or destroy it. On the cross, he was challenged to come down and σῴζω himself. Jairus’ daughter was σῴζω, the demon-possessed man was σῴζω and the angels said the infant Jesus would σῴζω his people from their sins.

σῴζω means to rescue from physical, mental and spiritual danger, to restore life, health and well-being, to save in the fullest meaning of the word. Our ten lepers were σῴζω from more then their skin disease. They were made clean on the inside as well as the outside, restored to family and society, returned to the worshipping congregation, made right with God, with people and with themselves.

σῴζω It’s quite a big word for four letters!

Here are ‘saved’, ‘healed’, and ‘made clean’ if you’re interested:

  • σῴζω (sōzō) = to save, to bring safely, restore to health
  • ἰάομαι (iaomai) = to heal, cure; metaphorically to heal, spiritually, restore from a state of sin and condemnation
  • καθαρίζω (katharizō) = to cleanse (from leprosy), purify; metaphorically to cleanse from sin, free from the influence of error and sin

Harvest Craft

Make your own growing wheat to harvest. (Images from Montessori Mum, with thanks)

You will need:

  • penne pasta (preferably whole wheat)
  • string or yarn
  • green paper or white paper and green pens
  • scissors
  • sticky tape
  • optional, a small plant pot
  • for harvesting, a small bowl

What to do:

  1. Cut a 1m length of string and tie a piece of pasta on one end.
  2. Thread the rest of the string with pasta, leaving 30cm free, and tie the top piece in place. (You can put tape on  the end of the string to make a ‘needle’ to help with threading if you like.)
  3. Draw some leaf shapes on the paper and cut them out.
  4. Stick three leaves to the pasta near the spare string (this will be the top), and the rest along the length.
  5. Tape the bottom end of the pasta stalk into a flowerpot or to the floor. If you use a flowerpot, leave the spare end of string dangling over the side.
  6. To make your what grow (parable of the sower, wheat and tares, lord of the harvest etc) simply pull the string upwards to see it grow. If you wan to do this invisibly, you can substitute the 30cm of spare string for 3m of fishing line and drape it over a door or other horizontal edge, then pull the fishing line from behind the door and the wheat will ‘magically’ grow.
  7. If you want to harvest the wheat (pasta), have someone hold a bowl under the string while you cut it near the base. Wholewheat penne pasta, helpfully, looks like grain as well as stalk.

Liturgy for Proper 23  Sun-09-Oct-2022

Psalm 111, Luke 17:11-19, 2 Timothy 2:8-15

Confession and Absolution

If we have died with him, we will also live with him.
Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!

If we endure, we will also reign with him.
Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!

If we are faithless, he remains faithful
Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!

Then he said to the one cleansed,
“Get up and go on your way;
your faith has made you well.”

Blessing and Dismissal

May the Lord, whose righteousness endures forever, rain his blessing upon you.
May the Lord, gracious and merciful, be ever at your side.
May the Lord, holy and awesome, surround you with his peace.
And may the respect and honour of the Lord
be for you the beginning of wisdom.

Go now, and take his praise into the world,
for great are the works of the Lord.

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