Where Are the Other Nine?

Written to be performed as a monologue.

WHAT ARE YOU STARING AT?  Haven’t you ever seen a LEPER before?  Blasted people, never a moment’s peace!  I SEE YOUR SNARES!  Just remember, this could be YOU!!  Oh wait, what, you feel sorry for me now?  Isn’t that just special!  You think you know all about me.  Well, you DON’T!  You have no idea what it’s like to be in my place.  Just sit there for a moment, I’ll tell you what it’s like!

Life wasn’t always this way for me.  There were better times, better days.  I had a real life!  I’m from the house of Aaron!  It was the house of Aaron, our family, who saw the glory of the Lord fill the temple during Solomon’s reign, OUR family!  All the men in my family were in the priesthood.  I was next in line, and there were plenty of Rabbis considering me to be their disciple, let me tell you!  But leprosy knows no boundaries.

It didn’t take long for word to spread and for people to find out.  I was now an outcast, destined to live the rest of my life outside the village gates.  Not even my own family will speak with me now. At first I wondered aimlessly, not yet wanting to enter the leper’s camp, the death camp.  I wasn’t ready to die.  As I wandered, if it happened I came across travelers, by law I was ordered to cover my mouth and yell “UNCLEAN, UNCLEAN”, allowing the travelers to keep their distance.  How could they not know?  I had rend the garments I was wearing, as if I were in mourning.  It sure felt as if I was.

The Leprosy came with a fury!  I began to lose all feeling in my hands and feet.  I could walk across hot coals or sharp rocks and not realized it had it not been that my feet began to look like the torn rags that hung from my back, so I had to wrap them, too.

The highlight of my days became sitting just outside the village gates, as close as I was allowed, trying to capture anything that reminded me of days gone by.  The smells, the sounds, all of it.  The pain of not being able to experience those things again, the foolish dreams that someday I would, all combined to somehow comfort me.  I was not the only one to revel in these fantasies, however.  Sometimes there were as many as ten of us sitting there.

Oh, we talked of other things as well, sure.  Like that prophet-teacher named Jesus.  We had all heard stories of how he could cleanse our disease.  Some of us even began to believe it.  One day we even saw him as he was passing through our village!  Filled with hope and excitement, I too was caught up in the moment, thinking just maybe this man Jesus could really do something!  I even heard people say he might be the Messiah, the Promised One we had all been waiting for!

He sure did speak with authority, but you might say he wasn’t much to behold.  Just an ordinary looking man.  All he said to us, was “Go and show yourselves to the priests”.  That was it!  No ceremony, no prayer, no washing or even dunking in the river like Naaman.  Nope, just those few simple words.

There were ten of us that day.  We all turned and ran towards the village gates like mad men, hoping, believing we had really been cleansed.  One of us even turned back to thank him!  Me, well, as soon as I reached the gates, I stopped.  The same voices I had heard time and time again began to play in my head.  I knew it was just a foolish dream.  No one has ever been cleansed of leprosy in my lifetime that I personally know of.  I had to face it, I will never be clean.  My life is destined to remain outside these village gates.

What, you question my rags?  You’ve seen this Jesus before, eh?  You believe in his healing power?  What, you think I was really healed and just don’t know it?  What kind of fool do you take me for?  I should know my own body!  The answer is no, no I haven’t taken off these rags since that day, and no, I haven’t looked to see.  I simply cannot bear it, don’t you understand!  Just LEAVE ME ALONE!

At least this disease hasn’t eaten away my memories of yesterday.  Sigh.  Maybe someday the Messiah really will come and set us all free from our sins and diseases.  Probably not in my lifetime, though.  I’ll probably die just short of his coming!  I wonder what ever happened to that one guy who turned to thank the man they call Jesus, anyway.  I haven’t seen him around lately.

‘As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria. As he entered a village there, ten men with leprosy stood at a distance, crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy. One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? ‘ Luke 17:11-17, NLT

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