The “big top” (as it was called) was filled with people from what seemed every nation upon earth. Everyone was absolutely silent and watching heartbreaking pictures of a terrible disaster. On the screen, we saw the lush and beautiful landscape of Burma or Myanmar and yet its beauty had been shattered by a terrible monsoon.
We saw pictures of homes destroyed, dead men and women and children floating on the swollen waters of the Irrawaddy, and then we heard the wonderful stories of loving service provided by so many. In particular we saw on the screen the work of the Anglican Church of the Province of Myanmar. It’s not a large church but one whose members sacrifice so much to bring relief to the suffering around them. And then we all sang together a hauntingly beautiful Burmese rendition of the Magnificat.
In the gospel according to Luke we read that Jesus was approached by ten lepers. They asked to be cured. Jesus cured them all, but only one said thank you. Ten were cured by Jesus. And only one leper, a Samaritan, turned back to Jesus and kneeling at his feet, thanked him and praised God with a loud voice.
The words of Psalm 145 are familiar to many of us, especially those who have been here, or in other churches where verses from psalms are used in the liturgy and as prayers on various occasions. The words I am most familiar with in this psalm are those that were for many years used as the Blessing Prayer at meals here at the Monastery until about 35 years ago when we decided to use more contemporary forms. The same words were also used at many other monasteries and retreat houses. Those words in contemporary English are: The eyes of all wait upon you, O Lord, and you give them their food in due season. You open wide your hand and satisfy the needs of every living creature.” (Psalm 145:16-17)