10:25 Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” 27 He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.” 29 But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” [NRSV]
How Radical is My Hospitality?
Our first practice is to be a good neighbor. What does it mean to be a ‘good’ neighbor. Sometime we want our neighbors to be quiet, private and not bother us. I happen to live in a neighborhood where neighbors genuinely look out for one another. But these are not my only neighbors.
There are neighbor that live less then a mile from my house that I have never met, but may know and see my witness.
We are neighbors with those who we work and interact in our daily living. People we know well and those we simply cross paths.
All my life I have heard some one say, “I’m not good a telling about my faith, I just try to live my life as a witness.” I suggest that is very dangerous. What if someone sees us on a bad day? What is the measure if they come in the room when we hear our frustration and fears without the rest of the story?
This story is about the part of neighborhood life that gets messy and involved.
If we are avoiding looking at the poverty, racism, crime, or other uncomfortable things, we are like those who keep their eyes on their own task and missed the neighbor in trouble. The jury is out on a case where the idea of neighbor has broken, badly. <comments on response based on trial outcome>
Just as that story is not in our neighborhood, neither is the Jericho story.
There is part of us that wants to applaud the neighbor who stayed out of the controversy and didn’t get involved in the politics
There is a part of us that wants to exclude the community folks who have important work that
There is a part of us that is afraid that trouble, danger and evil will come upon us if we get involved.
There is apart of us that knows being a neighbor will cost our time, energy, money and heart.
Jesus’s question is on who receives the title of GOOD.
Everyone’s work was important, one was Good.
Everyone’s was involved in some part of the community, one was Good.
Everyone was spending money, time, energy and heart, one was called Good.
Jesus’s definition of Good Neighbor is modeled by the person who got involved, got their hands dirty, got their heart mixed up with dangers and strangers,…
and responding in the way we would want someone to respond if we were in there victims situation.
So Aren’t we Good Neighbors?
The story does not point to how we are in relationship to the people most like us, or near us, our in our own circle, rather
How do we treat people who are different, injured, rejected, in trouble, and difficult.
Good neighboring is not convient, east, comfortable, affordable nor safe.
As the person near you, “Am I a Good Neighbor?”
Encouragement: We need to recognize, teach, model and celebrate when we see Good Neighbor are revealing Christ,
Not for ego’s sake, but that the world might know when Christ has come near in our hearts and lives.
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