Saturday, October 09, 2004

The Alphabet of Grace

I'm preaching on the Gospel lectionary text for us tomorrow: Luke 17:11-19. It is the story of the ten lepers healed by Jesus who rush off after their healing. Only one, a "foreigner" returns to thank Jesus for healing. In the back of my mind I remember Frederick Buechner writing about "Where are the Nine" in one of his books. Off I went to the scattered throughout our home bookcases and pulled all the Buechner I could find. Some copies have my name written in them and others have my Mom's name. Both of us read Buechner in the 70's-80's. I think the sermon or story I'm looking for is in The Gospel as Comedy, Tragedy and Fairy Tale. Looked everywhere but could not find the book. Found seven Buechner books, some duplicates, but not that one. I spent part of an afternoon reviewing his books amazed at how much I can remember of his writing after all these years. Thank you, God, for Buechner and his talents which opened scripture for me then and now.
In the Alphabet of Grace (1977, Seabury Press) I found this at the end of the final chapter:

"Half drowned in my pillow, a sleepy, shiftless prayer at the end. Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. O Thou. Thou who didtst call us this morning out of sleep and death. I come, we all of us come, down through the litter and the letters of the day. On broken legs. Sweet Christ, forgive and mend. Of thy finally unspeakable grace, grant to each in his own dark room valor and an unnatural virtue. Amen".


Rev. Mike said...

Hi ... went back and dug up "Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Comedy, Tragedy and Fairy Tale." We had that assigned to us in our first homiletics class. I Can't find anything about "the nine" in it, but then I'm just skimming.

Anonymous said...

I am postpoing writing my sermon - reading old posts -- the story you are looking for is in "The Way of the Wolf" by Martin Bell.