July 31, 2016

Reading Luke 10:25-37 (NRSV)

In today’s reading, a lawyer asks Jesus how to inherit eternal life. Jesus affirms what the lawyer already knows: to love God and your neighbor as yourself. Sometimes we are like that lawyer. We actually know what we’re supposed to do. But the lawyer asks anyway, “who is my neighbor?”

Jesus says a neighbor is like a Samaritan traveler who helps an injured man on the road when nobody else will stop. Are you like the Samaritan, willing to help no matter the ethnicity, race, or condition of the person hurting?

What about the innkeeper? The innkeeper could have refused a room to Samaritans, or declined responsibility for a half-dead body. Are you like the innkeeper, willing to serve when called upon, even if the call is not from your group?

What about the injured man? Perhaps he would have rejected care if he knew it was from one of the despised Samaritans. Have you ever refused help because of the differentness of the person who offered?

Who is our neighbor? In this story, it could be anyone who helps us or accepts help from us even if we are different.

Loving God means loving all of God’s creation, including ourselves and all types of neighbors.

Let us pray. Gracious God, thank you for the lesson Jesus gives about loving our neighbor. Help us to give to and receive from others without regard to differences between us. Amen.

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