Last week during the sermon I looked at the link between Faith and Trust with an understanding that faith is foundational to our lives and trust is where we begin to see growth in faithfulness and our understanding of God. Trust is one of the essential tools when we think about faith, because it is only when we trust God that we can begin to allow God to transform us.
This week we expand on the tools God gives us to one that is similar to trust but also very different. This week we explore acceptance as a tool of faith. One of the great struggles, as well as the great strengths of our congregation is the fact that we are truly accepting. Regardless of age, sexuality, ethnicity, theological background, economic status, etc. there is a place for you within our community. However, this accepting culture has cost us over the years with people leaving because they did not care about this theology or that one or they just did not like this or that.
The problem with living out the accepting nature of Christ is that sometimes we have to struggle, and often we have to humble ourselves to realize where God is at work within our community.
The Sermon passage this week looks at a community of lepers. The thing about a leper colony at the time of Christ and before is the unifier in that community is leprosy. Once made an outcast, all within the community were equal within the disease and unwelcome. When Jesus himself asked to heal the men, he gives them orders to make their way to the ruler, along the way the Lepers realized that they were healed. Nine of the ten (the nine who were fully Hebrew) continued their journey as the one, the Samaritan man, an outsider, turned back to Christ, recognizing who healed him, and offered a word of thanks.
Who really knows what went through the minds of those who were in the Hebrew community, but Jesus responds boldly saying:
17b “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? 18 Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.” 
When engaging the healing, Christ did not check for appropriate faithfulness or piety, he accepted the need of all the men and granted them health. However, it is through the action of being thankful that Christ knew the faith that was on the heart of the man who returned.
The lesson in ministry that we learn from Christ is to minister first, ask questions later! If Christ were to have asked and given a litmus test to the ten of who was worthy and who was not, the mere fact that the man was a Samaritan should have kept him from being healed, but because Jesus knew enough and healed all, the truly faithful one showed himself.
When we are quick to judge, we often turn away the people who might have the greatest faith.
In the first reading this coming Sunday we come across this saying :
11 The saying is sure: If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
12if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he will also deny us;
13if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself. 
In other words, when we give ourselves over to God, we must do so in ways that are full and complete and that whenever we deny God, even that part of God that is within each of us, we deny Christ and His ability to work.
Learning to be accepting and to give grace is another essential tool in becoming more faithful, because when we are open to the way God is working, we can be open to the amazing way in which Christ can touch us.
 The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. 1989 (Lk 17:17–19). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
 The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. 1989 (2 Ti 2:11–13). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
Rev. Dr. Bryan James Franzen