Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Holy Twins, St Benedict and St Scholastica
I've been thinking about the story of the good Samaritan, probably because something I heard over the weekend isn't settling in me. How many times have we heard the story? A bizzilon. Always the question comes up"Who's is my neighbor?" What do we answer? "Everyone on the earth ends up being my neighbor." But is that truly the answer to the question? I don't think it is. At first it seems that all sick, beat up, marginalized, poor, hungry and dying person would be my neighbor. Yet that's not what Jesus told is in Luke 10:29-37. Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers? (vs. 36) So it would be the Samaritan who crossed the road and poured oil and wine on his wounds. So, my neighbor is the one who crosses the road for me. It's not the guy that got beat up, it's the one willing to cross the road. Isn't that a different way of looking at it? Or is it the way you've always looked at it? See, for me, when people talk about the Bible being a living book, this is what comes to mind. I have heard this story a ton of times and this is the first time I've though about it like this. Does that ever happen to you? 
So who crosses the road for you? I don't think I'm being hard on myself when I honestly say there are only a handful of people that cross the road for me. Most see me coming and cross so they don't have to run into to me. I really am ok with that, cuz there are folks out there that I pray won't cross the road for me! Seriously, they need to just stay on the other side of the road! 
So how about this question, who do you cross the road for? Who are you a neighbor to? I think this is where the rubber hits the road, cuz it's so much easier not to look them in the eye. If I don't look them in the eye, I don't really see them and I don't have to cross the road. Yet, it's in this story that we are told the neighbor is the one who showed mercy, and what does Jesus say? Go and do likewise. Shoot, there it is! We can't get out of this one, cuz Jesus said, go and do. He didn't say, well, sit down and talk about it with your closest friends and take a vote. If everyone agrees then go and do it.
We are called to cross the road, we are called to look at others to see if they might need some help. We get so comfortable in our churches with people who look just like us, and we go to that service because we like the music and we don't go to that service cuz we don't like the way they dress. Is your church big enough that you just don't know everyone that attends?  Would you cross the road for the people in your church? If you wouldn't do it for the folks in your church, who are so much like you, what makes you think you would cross the road for someone that's different than you? Think about it? Do you go on mission trips to work on your tan and hang out with the IN crowd, or do you go someplace and clean up after a EF5 in 105 degree heat? We have a group that goes to Joplin every Wednesday to do just that. You would think in a church that see's 6-700 people in service's a week that we would be hauling a bunch of folks up there. 7 went last week. But it requires crossing the road, and we're just too comfortable right where we are doing what we've always done.
But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him... He saw, was moved and went to him. Go and do likewise. Me? Really?        

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