Please read Luke 17:11-19
Once upon a time, there was an orchestra. This orchestra was, in some ways, quite ordinary. It was a regular kind of orchestra; you might know there are four main types of instruments in any full orchestra:
- The string section – with violins, cellos and
- The woodwind section – with oboes, flutes and
- The brass section – with trumpets, horns and
- And, the percussion section – with timpani
drums, harps and cymbals
But at a concert that they were giving for the Queen, the entire percussion section didn’t show up for the rehearsal scheduled right before their performance. All the other members were there, so they tried anyways to play their pieces for practice.
But, as you may know, one of the purposes of the percussion section is to help everyone else keep the beat. Because the percussion section wasn’t there, and the rest of the orchestra didn’t have the beat to keep them in sync, their rehearsal flopped – they sounded terrible because everyone was playing their parts to different rhythms.
Everyone was quite worried. How would they sound for the Queen without the percussion section? Would they even be able to perform? In the moments before their performance when the percussion section still hadn’t showed up, the conductor seriously considered cancelling their performance, which would have effectively ruined their reputation as one of the best orchestras in the country.
Thankfully, just before the conductor went to tell the bad news to the Queen, all the members of the percussion section rushed through the door. How grateful everyone else in the orchestra felt to see their friends from the percussion section!
I think the church is like that orchestra. In baptism we become members of the church. Each of us has a specific and vital role to play in the healthy functioning of the church. Each of us has specific gifts of offer, so that under the direction of the conductor – Jesus – when we play together we make a beautiful sound to the world around us.
The moral of the story is: we need everyone’s input in order to be healthy as a church. Everyone has to do their part for us to be effective in our ministry. And, basically, how
our parts get played out — if it’s good and healthy — is from an attitude of gratitude for being included in God’s church and God’s mission.
When Jesus healed the sick people – the ten lepers – in the story from the bible, he was blessing them. When Jesus healed them, he effectively invited them into the family of God, welcoming them to belong.
When we belong to the family of God, Jesus promises to bless us with his grace and love forever. This belonging is a wonderful thing because no matter what happens in our lives, no matter where we go or who we’re with, God will always be there for us.
It’s a cause for thanksgiving, is it not? To be thankful? One of those who was healed came back to thank Jesus.
And that’s what the church is all about. In all that we do and are, we give thanks to God by giving our gifts – our gifts of music, song, words, love, money, help, service – whatever. We give thanks.
Lukas asked to sing a song at his baptism, I believe as a gesture of thanksgiving to God, for inviting him and welcoming him into the family of God. Thank you, Lukas, for your witness and expression today of thanksgiving.