"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:15

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Won't you be my neighbor?

So today I decided that having supper up in the Sem lounge four flights up is a bad idea. I was thinking when i was on the first floor how funny it would be if somone forgot their silverware and had to go all the way back down to get it. Then when I got to the top, and told everyone how funny that would be,I realized that I did. Oh irony, you are such a jerk.

I remember watching Mr. Rogers as a child, and how as he approached the end of his theme song, he would sit down, cross his legs, remove his shoes and say, “Won’t you be my neighbor?” If only we all were as eager and willing to accept neighbors as Mr. Rogers. A man in the book of Luke Knowing that the greatest Commandments were to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and to love your neighbor as yourself, wanted to justify whom he should love so he asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus responded with this story:

The dust was itchy in his eyes. It was a hot day, sun beating down on his back. His stomach was noxious from the up and down movement of the camel. Neither the air conditioning nor the radio in this camel was working. It was a pretty lousy trip. It was about to become a whole lot lousier. Hiding behind some rocks were a couple of thugs. They jumped him! Ripped him off his camel, stole his wallet, and ipod, tore off his American eagle robe, and Nike sandals, gave him a couple of kicks to the stomach for good measure and left him for dead in the gutter. Bloody, and bashed, he was looking pretty helpless at the moment. This guy didn’t have a hope, that is until a Jewish Priest walked by. If any one would help a hurting guy out, it would be him, right?
“Oh my goodness, this fellow is in some bad shape…what time is it?” He looks at his Rolex and realizes he’ll be late for an appointment if he doesn’t hurry.
“He probably got what was coming to him.” He huffs to himself, and looking from side to side to make sure no one else is around, he walks on.

Later a Levite casually moves down the road. He was headed to the temple to perform his duties no doubt, but a mound lying in the opposite gutter caught his attention.
“What is that?” He smells at the air? “Is, is that road kill?” He crosses to the other side to get a closer look, but when he realizes that it’s a man, and not some rotting animal, he quickly turns back to the other side of the road and continues on. Making sure no one steals his parking spot at the Temple is more important to him at the time.

Things were not looking good. The situation seemed as black as his bruised skin. A Samaritan walked on by. Now, in our books, “Samaritan” is a word that isn’t usually said if it’s not accompanied by the word “good”. A wise man once told me it would be like a North American saying the “Good Jihad Islamic Extremist Terrorist”, words that anger us when put together. The Samaritans were Scum to Jews. They were nothing more then mutts who had compromised their Jewish blood line by marrying into other people groups. Jews despised them. They would rather spend there time with brick walls then with Samaritans, if they could have their way. Yet it was the Samaritan who saw this man and took pity on him. It was the Samaritan who pulled out his first aid kit and put Neosporin on his wounds, rapping them with gauze and band aids. It was the Samaritan who took this Jewish man to the Holiday Inn, paid for his medical bill, and told the Keeper if the poor guy needed anything to put it on his tab. It was the Samaritan who showed love.

I find it interesting in this story That Christ chose someone his listener would despise to be the most neighborly. When Christ asked who was a neighbor to the man, his listener responded with “The one who showed him mercy?” as if saying “the Samaritan” would be too difficult to have pass his lips. Christ did this to show that everyone is our neighbor, and we are to love all people. I also find it interesting how it was the religious leaders who expected someone else to come along and care for the hurting. We are the church. Christ has called us to care for hurting people. Are we too expecting others to do the job Christ has given to us?

Matthew 25: 37-41 says,
"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

Do we realize that when we are looking into the eyes of a hurting person that we are looking into the eyes of Christ. Perhaps we should all learn a lesson from Mr. Rogers, accepting all people as our neighbors. This is what the Samaritan did. ‘“Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”’


Anonymous said...

you should write stories for a living.

Anonymous said...

i concur