Salvation Beyond Healing

Luke 17:11-19

We called across a chasm
as deep as any canyon,
we, the reviled, whose household
was held in common through outcast state.

The rabbi called to us
and answered our longing
with a wave of his hand.

Part of the gift
was being told to go
and believe in the miracle
even before it happened.
But even as we healed, we began
to break apart as kindred. Desperation
no longer drew us together. Squabbles arose.

Nine of us
scurried off, propelled by promise (nothing
to lose) and as we watched,
our flesh restored like a child’s,
scrubbed clean by a holy wind,
we stumbled on in awe and wonder, impatient.

Restored, renewed, healed–
whatever name used,
we dared not question
the fragile compact as we understood it.
What if we looked back
and were turned to pillars of salt, what if
we broke the gossamer hope of healing
through hesitation, what if
we were forever marked as lepers? Besides,
our families awaited us.
Best to hurry to the priests,
and escape this shadowland, this
half-life that was no life.

One of us
only one– a foreigner, too–
his faith an anomaly, dared to turn back
and kneel in gratitude
before the holy man.

We were obedient, but
the Samaritan was grateful,
and, therefore, made well, welcomed,
and whole, finally fully known and loved
just as he was. And as the scars vanished,
and the wounds became smooth as silk,
he returned to praise the Living God.

All ten healed,
but one
received home.

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