To me, the remarkable thing about the person with leprosy whom Jesus healed, is that he took the time to savour his healing, to feel the joy and gratitude, and to remember Jesus, the Giver of this gift of healing.
Where all the others healed were eager to rush back to Jerusalem, to show themselves to the priests who would declare them officially “clean”, this particular person, the Samaritan, allowed himself time to savour his joy and gratitude.
Not only was this a physical healing from a skin disease, it was also for him a social, emotional, and mental healing, affecting so many areas of his life in a positive way.
No longer kept in a lonely isolation away from family and friends – as prescribed by the Torah – no longer discarded and demeaned as some left-for-dead person, this man was now brought back into community, able to re-connect and live with his family and friends, and be fully re-integrated as a respected valuable member of society.
It meant the world for him.
And he savoured the moment in his expression of gratitude.
Do we do the same: allowing ourselves time to savour the goodness of God, not only on Thanksgiving Sunday, but in our day-to-day lives?
It was 10 o’clock one night. I was hungry like you wouldn’t believe, but I didn’t want to stuff myself with a lot of junk food, with chips – that’s not good.
And then I remembered, with a leap of joy in my heart, that we had some Swiss cheese in the fridge.
I love Swiss cheese.
There’s something about it that just hits the spot and satisfies that late night craving like nothing else can.
And so, there I was, in a flash, standing at the kitchen counter, knife in one hand, and block of Swiss cheese in the other, cutting off nice, thick slices,
truly savouring each morsel of Swiss cheese,
and immensely grateful for that moment.
I’d venture to say that even in the hyper busy-ness of our modern day lives, in the midst of the many distractions, challenges and troubles we all have, I think we’ve all at least caught glimpses of what it means to savour a good, God-filled moment.
Holding in your arms your newborn, sleeping grand-daughter.
In awe and silence.
Watching quietly, in the early morning, thick fog blanket the world.
And then, to remember, to recall the memory of these moments, and the good feelings around them.
Because the memories can really help us when long periods of dryness, sadness, difficulty or grief inevitably come our way.
Memories, for example,
of years ago, when you took that amazing trip,
or when you met those wonderful people, in high-school or university,
or when you participated in that meaningful ministry, that service, that compassionate gesture toward others.
Bringing to mind and savouring the memories of those good moments, even in the midst of tough times, can go a long way in helping us endure.
Our scripture readings have the same idea.
In the midst of their own terrible exile in a strange and foreign land, the Israelites were essentially prisoners among the Babylonians, lamenting their separation from their homeland Canaan and their beloved city Jerusalem.
But what does God say to them?
Live your lives fully. Build homes, plant gardens, marry, have children, seek the betterment and wellbeing of your community.
In other words, live fully your ordinary lives, take joy in what you can, appreciate what good life can offer, even in the midst of your exile, even in the context of your suffering.
For the Apostle Paul in his letter to Timothy, knowing Jesus, and being faithful to his mission and ministry, is his essential joy which he savours, even in the midst of his hardships.
Savouring the joy of God-filled moments, in every time, in every place.
I was in Ottawa this past summer, and I met up with an old friend from out west.
One day, we were walking downtown.
It was late morning. A warm, humid, hot July day.
My friend is a bit of a connoisseur of good food and good restaurants, and he had in mind a perfect little place to have brunch.
In fact, he had already researched this on internet, and according to Trip Advisor, this particular eating establishment was rated the best place in Ottawa for brunch.
And so my friend was determined to find this place and eat there.
We began following the map on his smart-phone.
But the thing was, we were in a bit of a time crunch, and so needed to hurry a bit.
And, what he thought would take just a short walk across the downtown core to where this place was, felt like hours. I think it took almost ¾ of an hour.
So there we were, on this hot July day, our backs and shirts soaked in sweat, walking briskly trying to find this restaurant.
As we hustled along, we were so tempted many times to abandon our mission, and duck into any one of the many attractive-looking restaurants lining the street.
But my friend was determined.
So, after what seemed like hours of walking, we finally arrived at the right intersection.
But we looked around, and didn’t see anything resembling a restaurant. Just old-looking, low-lying, brick apartment buildings.
We walked right up to the corner of one of these buildings, and finally noticed a small, narrow staircase leading down to a basement level, with an awning over top.
We figured, let’s just try this. We weren’t sure. It didn’t look very inviting. Somewhat dark and mysterious.
Reaching the bottom landing, we slowly opened the door … and what did we see?
Well. We were immediately met with
the sounds of friendly laughter,
the good- spirited conversations of happy university students and local residents who packed the place,
and the wonderful, savoury aromas of good food.
The sights, sounds and smells were glorious.
We savoured it, to be sure.
Even though on the outside, things looked drab, uninviting, and inaccessible, even though this place was set in an unassuming, uninspiring part of town, on the inside, there was joy, and goodness to be savoured.
May God help us cultivate an attitude of loving attentiveness to those grace-filled moments in our lives, in every time and every place.
And may God help us to savour those moments, be grateful for them, and hold on to their memories, as we walk in the light of God.