its been a crazy week. I’ve in essence heard the Good Samaritan story three times.
First time was with Alton Sterling, then Pilando Castile and finally with the Dallas police officers who were targeted. This in the wake of Orlando is wearying.
And then we hear the story of the Good Samaritan and the lawyer asks but…who…who exactly is my neighbor?
My flippant answer is whoever is close enough to annoy you. And as you know people can be pretty far away and still be close enough to annoy you.
My more serious answer is those you are close enough to hurt. This is an amazing thought because you can be very far away–all across the world or thd internet and still be able to hurt someone.
The counter to that is that if you are close enough to hurt someone then you are close enough to hurt someone then you are close enough to help them.
the Good Samaritan story was so revolutionary because the Samaritans were so politically and religiously at odds with one another. They would desecrate each other’s temples, burn each other’s buildings and fight over the same land and water. When Jesus tells this story it angered people because it’s like telling about Muslim and a Christian or an African American young man and a police officer. This was Jesus’s answer to Who is my neighbor.
The Belhar Confession, which is being adopted by the PCUSA was written by Africa about apartheid. We in the USA don’t seem to have apartheid until you look at the kind of violence that is going on and how it hurts African-Americans until you look at the kind of violence that is going on and how it hurts police officers.
Belhar Confession is about unity being both a gift of God and our duty. I don’t know what to do about African-Anericans being stopped for minor violations and things escalating so quickly. I don’t know what to do about police officers being targeted for violence. Unity Both a gift and a duty because God says we belong to one another.
We belong to one another because we each of us are called to bind up the wounds of the cops and the African-Americans. We belong to one another because Jesus has loved us into being showing us how love affirms our??? identity. Christians need to love like Jesus. There are no “buts” I this love, it’s not I love you but… It’s I love you and We belong to each other.
Real love is the kind that takes nothing away from you it affirms and does nothing but add to your identity it’s a live not based on your value or progress or perfection. God made us each unique and still belonging to one another. The word of God is not to believe in God and be the same, but love one another and affirm each identity so we add to each other.
Love is a language that doesn’t even compute in the financial, political and corporate world . That is the kind of love we are called to practice because we belong to one another God gives us to one another as a gift and it’s something to also work for. We belong to one another. Who is my neighbor? All those whom we are close enought to help. This is the word of the Lord thanks be to God!