treading the borderlands
In Tom Wright’s book, “Luke for Everyone”, he translates a phrase in this passage – Luke 17:11-19 – using the word “borderlands”. It sounds like, and is, the title of a book (see Borderlands) which aims to be a
guide through the borderlands of life’s changes and transitions
As I read the review of Borderlands I reckoned Mark Brickman’s book might be a good one to read, as it combines a deeply evangelical, deeply spiritual, deeply Easter based theme.
Tom Wright uses the word borderlands, probably because it evokes the sense of a place of interaction between different cultures, different traditions. like the Jews from Galilee and the Samaritans from Samaria: here we are on the borders.
The culture we enjoy in our delightful fellowship here is nothing like the borderlands Luke is describing. But, sometimes, we are cast into those borderlands by circumstances, by accident, or by following God’s calling!
dealing with distance:
Tradition and regulation required a distance. Imagine Jesus in the church car park, and the leprosy sufferers on the other side of the river in the park. Shouting was the only way to deal with the distance.
When we really need help, both dignity and concern for what other people might think of us must be set aside: we need to shout for help.
Imagine suffering a heart attack silently because you don’t want to upset the neighbours.
unity in adversity:
when adversity occurs we need to embrace the people around us whether we would normally choose them as friends.
It is great to see the barriers come down in hospitals as people of different religion and different class learn to get along in shared wards!
So it was for these people with leprosy in the borderlands.
faith that saves:
The man who had been one of those shouting from the far side of the car park runs back to Jesus with evidence of healing already happening, and falls at his feet. What would make you fall at someone’s feet?
Gratitude is the answer. and while many read this story from Luke with an emphasis on the nine who healed people who did not return thanks, I rejoice in the one who did. He is our example, and such gratitude is a sign of true Christian spirit in the midst of the borderlands and adversities of life.
‘Get up, and be on your way,’ he said to him. ‘Your faith has saved you.’ see Luke 17:19.