I enjoyed listening to my intern preach a couple of weeks ago. Her text was Luke 17:11-19: the story of Jesus healing 10 lepers. Something struck me this time as I listened to this very familiar story: The lepers were standing off at a distance, as the law required, as they “called out” to Jesus, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” (NRSV)
In response, Jesus “said to them ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’” Now, I’m not enough of a Greek scholar to do a study for you here about the difference in the words used for “called out” and “said,” but this is what struck me that morning as my intern preached.
I wonder how much of the mercy the lepers were asking for was merely having someone speaking to them rather than “calling out” to them or communicating from afar. Though Luke does not explicitly tell us that Jesus went up to them, it is clear that he took them up on their request.
I cannot help but wonder how much of the mercy that today’s young people call out for is merely that of someone engaging them; listening to them; being present with and for them.
In both Andrew Root’s books Revisiting Relational Youth Ministry and Relationships Unfiltered he makes the case that God is IN the relationships we build with youth. These relationships are not merely to introduce youth to Jesus and then pass them off to Him.
Have mercy on your students, volunteers, parents, and your own family. Be present. God Is IN your presence!
Rev. Steve Heyduck
Methodist Children’s Home
1111 Herring Ave.
Waco, TX 76708
254-750-1310 – office
254-715-4956 – cell