Sunday October 14 Won’t You Be My Neighbour?

Pastor’s Blog October 14, 2018 “Won’t you be my neighbor?”
Social Justice.
A Buzz word.
A concept that belongs in a Philosophy class or Courtroom. Not. Social justice and responsibility is the heart of God.
Social justice is really all about loving your neighbor as yourself. Love is the answer, the only answer to the question “Am I my brother’s keeper?” We are created for relationship because God is a relational God. We need others and others need us.
Unfortunately, the basic instinct to run to the aid of someone in need is being nuked out of us. “Look out for number one” seems to make sense unless you are the one in need of help.
My text? Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan found in Luke 10:17-37.
A man simply minding his own business on the road between Jerusalem and Jericho gets jumped by a gang of thugs who beat him, rob him, and leave him for dead. Two religious leaders, one a priest and the other a Levite, catch a glimpse of this man in dire straits and choose to walk on the other side. (Notice I did not call them worshippers of God). “Not my issue.” “Not my responsibility.” Not my problem.”
Along comes another man: a Samaritan. Jews of the day saw this group as less than human. Worthless. Lesser. Maligned. Put down. The victims of social injustice and prejudice. You can’t judge a book by his cover or the quality of another human being by the color of their skin or their ethnic origin. This Samaritan responded. He stopped. He tended to the beaten man’s wounds. He put him on his own donkey. He took him to a place where the man could be cared for. He paid for this stranger’s treatment out of his own resources. (I don’t think the man was a stranger for long. He had a name. He was a person not a problem).
Jesus told this story in response to a religious lawyer who asked how to receive eternal life. When pressed by Jesus to love his neighbor, the man wishing to justify himself (always a sign of sin in my books) responded “And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus inverted the question to illustrate the heart of the matter: “To whom will you be neighbor?”
Jesus is asking us the same question. Will we be a neighbor, not someone who lives next to us (although that is a good place to start) but my neighbor is anyone who is in need.
I need help…often and regularly. So do you.
Won’t you be my neighbor?
Pastor Tom

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