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August 22

Matthew 8, 1-4

Something to read

When Jesus had come down from the mountain, great crowds followed him; and there was a leper who came to him and knelt before him, saying, 'Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean.' He stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, 'I do choose. Be made clean!' Immediately his leprosy was cleansed. Then Jesus said to him, 'See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.'
New Revised Standard Version

To read the King James Version, click here

Something to think about

It's surely no accident that the person who expresses doubt about Jesus' willingness to heal him is a leper. Here is someone who is used to being excluded and on the margins of society. He just accepts it. Everyone just accepts it. It's the way life is, the way life has to be.

We all need the world to be the way it is, for our part of it to carry on as normal. But once we accept this way of dealing with chronic problems in the world – like leprosy, or poverty – then all the urgency goes out of finding solutions. And the poor come to doubt whether the rest of humanity really is willing to find the solutions – while knowing (like this leper knew) that if only we were willing, we could change their situation.

Jesus did not heal every leper in his day, or invent a cure for leprosy. But he helped this one. And in the process he changed attitudes – which in turn changed the world.

Something to do

Identify someone you come across frequently in your life, who is a kind of 'untouchable' like this leper. Try to have a conversation with them today. Don't be put off by the fact that they may not trust you, and in particular don't trust that you are genuinely willing to do anything for them. Try to establish a relationship and break down the barriers.

Something to pray

Father, forgive me that I just go along with the way life is. Grant me grace to cross over the boundaries that keep the rich rich and the poor poor. And help me to serve you in the lives of those who no longer believe you are willing to help them.

Today's contributor is JUST LIVING, a fresh expression of church in Devon devoted to the Christian pursuit of justice for the poor and closely linked to Christian Aid.


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