Faith of a mustard seed

Barbara A. Woods Washington, M. Div.

Barbara A. Woods Washington, M. Div.

“Then said Jesus, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” And he said to him, ”rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:17-19).

Hard to leave Luke’s single tradition recording of ‘The Healing of Ten Lepers’ without taking a look at the ‘praise’ theme. This ‘one of ten’, the ‘talented tenth’ the ‘grateful tenth’ turned back when he saw that he had been healed, and he praised God with a loud voice.

‘Doxa/glory’ stands in this text’s translation of ‘praise’. The oldest and most concrete meaning of ‘doxa’ has the sense of ‘light’ or ‘radiance’. Where in the Old Testament it very early has the sense of something ‘weighty’ in (hu)man(ity) which gives him importance, honor— (referenced by his riches, wealth, prestige); it soon develops from glory or honor ascribed to man to a complete transference to God. The term ‘doxa’, in an unexplained shift in it’s meaning, is now only found in an expression of the ‘divine nature’, ‘power’ and ‘honour’ given only to God. Glory is given by God to man, but man must give his glory back to —and only to God!

To be sure, it is the Psalmist who so poetically gives meaning to this term as it rings throughout the book—“But Thou, O Lord, art a shield for me, my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.”; “The heavens declare the glory of God, …”; “His glory is great in thy salvation: honor and majesty hast thou laid upon him.”; “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name…”; “The Lord is high above all nations and his glory above the heavens.”; “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to thy name give glory, for the sake of thy steadfast love and thy faithfulness!”

By New Testament times, ‘doxa/glory’ is strictly used to express ‘the divine mode’ of being. Jesus references Soloman ‘in all of his glory…’, but yet, when The ‘doxa/glory’ of The Lord is shone ‘round about’ the Shepherds who kept watch over their flock by night, it made them afraid.

Sometimes I feel like a foreigner in a Church where Christians can’t quite get the meaning of ‘doxa/ glory/ praise’. Is the Church so bound by it’s tradition that it is unable to see the Glory of the Lord shining ‘round about’ it? Church, like the Shepherds— ‘so afraid’. Call me ‘holier than thou???’ Call me crazy, but, let me tell you, praise(ing God with a loud voice)… is what I do!

Ten Churches— and ‘His Glory’ can only be seen and felt in one! Ten Homes— only one! Ten Christians? Ten Lives? Ten Lepers! Were not Ten cleansed? Where are the Nine?

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Reprint #84 – Oct 23, 2008