This summer I got into some poisonous plant life, the effects of which have been difficult to eradicate. I jokingly spoke of being struck with leprosy. But of course leprosy is not a laughing matter. If you know the biblical story to be a "leper," which likely wasn't Hansen's Disease (leprosy proper), but other forms of skin disease that led to people being segregated, then you know something about the issue. If you know the story of Father now Saint Damian and the lepers of Molokai, then again you know something of the social and physical dimensions of this disease.
Because I'm not preaching this morning I'm sharing the Sightings essay of Mark Lambert, a PhD student at the University of Chicago, who writes of a recent outbreak of Hansen's Disease and the religious dimensions of that outbreak, as well as the broader conversation about disease and separation. I invite you to consider his message in lieu of my sermon!