January 1, 2013 Volume 27, Number 01
Shout it from the rooftops
By Kelly Rempel | Senior Editor
"Shout it from the rooftops" by darrianamaker via Flickr
Leprosy isn't a disease we hear much about anymore, at least not in North America. It's often relegated to little more than a fact from a Bible story, hardly given a second thought in contemporary circles.
And yet, it's all too real for up to 700,000 new patients diagnosed each year with the disease and the estimated three million who currently suffer from its long-term effects. Most are among the poorest of the world's poor.
The Leprosy Mission Canada is at the forefront of helping those suffering from the ravages of this disease. January 27 is World Leprosy Day, dedicated to raising awareness. We need to "let people with leprosy know they are loved and welcomed even though they may be deformed," says executive director Peter Derrick.
In Bible times, leprosy was a death sentence. Lepers were cast out and cut off. Dead before death took them.
So, then what are we to make of this story from Mark 1:43-45, set just after Jesus heals a man suffering from the disease?
"Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: "See that you don't tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them." Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere."
This man's life has just been radically changed, and he's not supposed to say anything?
Jesus had His reasons for the request, but the cured leper wasn't about to stay quiet. He shouted his news from the rooftops. Was it "me" focused? Look what happened to me! I'm healed! Or, did he give the glory back to Jesus? Look what Jesus did for me! He healed me!
I'd like to think it was the latter. The man believed enough to come to Jesus in the first place. He had faith. Maybe he wanted others to experience Jesus' power as well. If he had waited to share his news perhaps others would have missed out on Jesus' healing touch.
Thankfully, there are no restrictions on telling others what Jesus has done for us. We know the Good News. Shout it from the rooftops! Who knows how we might affect history, even for just one other person.
The pages of ChristianWeek are full of stories about people who are sharing the Good News. They're shouting it from their rooftops, and stages and bars, in the suburbs and in the inner city. They're in Canada and Haiti and Syria.
Inform. Encourage. Inspire. Those three words are the tagline that you'll often read when we talk about this publication. These are stories of changed lives and passion for the hurting.
There is a cure, and not just for leprosy. We are all loved and welcomed, even though we may be deformed. It's good news all around.