The Republic of Ireland Department of Health launched a YouTube video in March of this year to help people with social distancing. It started by asking the question “How far is 2 metres?” and then went on to provide some helpful hints …
… 2 metres = 200 centimetres
… or 6 feet 7 inches
… about the length of a double bed
… or about the arm span of an average adult
… or about twice the arm span of an average child
I prefer this visual reminder from Coult Decorators at their premises in Aintree, that reminds people to “keep 2 Beetles apart”!
Whilst we have become familiar with social distancing in the 21st Century, social-distancing measures date back to at least the 5th Century before the birth of Christ In the book of Leviticus, chapter 13 and verse 46 we read these words in association with someone suffering from plague, “All the days in which the plague is in him he shall be unclean. He is unclean. He shall dwell alone. His dwelling shall be outside of the camp.”
In the Gospel of St Luke chapter 17 and verse 12 we read, “As Jesus entered into a certain village, ten men who were lepers met him, who stood at a distance.”
Jesus is travelling along the border of Samaria and Galilee when the lepers call out to him, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” “Go and show yourselves to the Priests,” Jesus replies. The lepers go to the priests and are cleansed, but the story doesn’t end there. A single leper, a Samaritan, returns and throws himself at the feet of Jesus to give thanks. Ten lepers are healed and a single one returns. “Weren’t the ten cleansed? But where are the nine?”, asks Jesus, before saying to the one leper, “Get up and go your way. Your faith has healed you.”
As humans we struggle with gratitude. We intend to “say thanks” through sending a card, making a phone call, or sending a short e-mail and yet often we forget and the moment is lost. The story of Jesus and the ten lepers reminds us to be thankful, even when we may feel isolated or be in difficult circumstances and, like the one leper who returned, to praise God for his goodness to us, whilst making sure our thankfulness leads to action.
Listen to “Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart":
The reflections here are written by members of our congregation.