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Sunday, May 8, 2016

To Inherit Eternal Life: 1) Hug a Gay Democrat, 2) Hug a Racist Trump Supporter, and most importantly, 3)...

And behold, a certain lawyer, a well-respected activist, all dressed in a sleek black suit and winning grin, stood up and tested Jesus, saying, “Rabbi, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

Jesus knew the whole "ask questions to look smart" technique--he knew plenty of over-achievers--so behold, he asked one back, “What is written in the Bible? What is your reading?”

The lawyer answered like a memorization machine: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’"

“You have answered rightly," said Jesus. "Do this and you will live.” Short and sweet--bam, answered. No ceremony.

But the lawyer wanted ceremony to justify his question: he looked around at the other folks nodding in the oaken pews, and with an easy answer like that he looked stupid, like he'd asked the teach what's 2 plus 2. He didn't want to talk the simple stuff, he wanted advanced theology, stuff this construction worker Jesus couldn't handle. Yeah, okay, smart guy, the lawyer smirked, “And who is my neighbor?”

“A certain man," Jesus looked the lawyer in the eye, almost as if the lawyer was that man, "went down from New York to Washington, and his GPS got him lost in a back-alley neighborhood where a gang robbed him, stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and left with his car, leaving him half dead."

The lawyer didn't like imagining himself half dead in a back alley, but Jesus went on,

"Now by chance a certain pastor, a respected pastor, or your yoga guru, the guy who wrote that life-changing spiritual book you love, he came down that road. And when he saw this man bleeding out--he hurried by on the other side.

Likewise a founding member of your political party--the guy you look up to and retweet, the guy you wish noticed you--he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side.

Then a third guy came along. What are you, a Democrat? Then this third guy's a hardcore Republican, maybe even a Trump worshipper. Real redneck. You a Christian conservative? This third guy's super liberal and agnostic--his theology's all twisted up. He believes the opposite of all your most important beliefs. Total idolator. Probably gay, too.

So this third guy you don't like, he journeyed, came where the broken man was.

And when he saw him, he had compassion.

So this Third Guy went and bandaged the broken man's wounds, kneeling under the streetlights to pour on expensive antibiotic ointment and empty his first aid kit with balms; and he set the man, dirty and bleeding, right on the upholstered seat of his car and brought him to the hospital. Third guy texted and cancelled all his appointments, and told his wife he wouldn't be home for dinner, and stayed by the broken man's side all night taking care of him. The monitors beeped and the blood seeped through the bandages, but the broken man made it to the next day.

On the next day, when Third Guy departed, he took out his wallet, gave it to hospital billing, and said to them, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’

So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”

And the lawyer said, “He who showed mercy on him.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

Your neighbor isn't the buddy you invite to barbecue. He's the guy on the street corner who kind of scares you. On the opposite end of your Jew/Samaritan divide--opposing color, wrong belief, and your hated lifestyle.

Do you love your neighbor?

1 comment:

  1. Dear Petre Pan,
    Thank you for putting the Good Samaritan Story in words to which we can relate. Wonderful!