Be The Grateful Leopard
Be the grateful leopard. – Luke 17:12
As a children’s pastor for many years, Marie was known for creating these wild, funny yet profound skits for chapel services, retreats, or special programs. Most of the time, they involved “child actors” recruited by Marie and their collaborative classroom teachers, and the students would then invite their parents, grandparents, or anyone else who was willing to attend. One of those skits was designed to tell the story of “The Ten Lepers” (Luke 17) about how Jesus healed ten men with leprosy but then only one returned to thank Him. Well, Marie took some “creative license” with Jesus‘s words, and the result was the story of “The Ten Leopards” complete with young students in costume and stage makeup. The significance of that story is that the one grateful leopard who returned to thank Jesus was a Samaritan, so he was, unfortunately, double-marginalized. Jesus was especially empathetic to those who were living life on the edge or on the margins— the hurt, the sick, the poor, the wounded, the ignored, the labeled, the misunderstood. Marie loved everybody, but she was especially empathetic to those particular people because she had been all of those things at various times during her life. And that depth of suffering also created a very deep well of gratitude (like the grateful leper) and a heightened sensitivity to the suffering of others. Be the grateful leopard and do it for Jesus and Marie.