This week we continue to look at some beloved Parables as we turn to what is possibly the best known of Jesus' parables -- the Good Samaritan.
The Scripture reading is Luke 10:25-37
The Sermon title is Who is my neighbour?
Early Thoughts: That is the question this Parable is meant to answer. Jesus has just plumbed his own tradition, and has called out from Torah the basics of what it means to live as a follower of God--love God, love your neighbour. It sounds so simple.
But like the questioner many of us sometimes want a way out. We want to know where we can draw the line. So who is my neighbour? Who do I have to act lovingly towards? Or maybe who can I not act lovingly towards?
That is the challenge I think. Christ calls us to look at everyone as a neighbour. Christ calls us to act lovingly (not necessarily to like or go out of our way to befriend) towards even those whom we have been taught to despise. This may even mean we accept help from them! [I have often wondered if that was part of the scandal of the story to Jesus' listeners--accept help, be dependent upon, a hated Samaritan.]
Pictures of shirts like these were very common on Facebook a while back:
There is a reason we continue to read this story. There is a reason we continue to talk about the Great Commandment to love God and neighbour.
Because we keep looking for the loophole.
Love your neighbour means love the ISIS member. Love your neighbour means loving the Charleston shooter. Love your neighbour means loving the unlovable. Not accepting all the choices people make, not allowing all actions, not saying that everything is okay. But it does mean loving them. It means putting aside desire for revenge. It means seeing hope for renewal. It means they are still valid children of God despite their (sometimes horrific beyond belief) actions.
We keep trying to live into that challenge. Hopefully we get better at it.