Sunday, July 10, 2016

And Who Is My Neighbor?

"For this command that I enjoin on you today is not too mysterious and remote for you. It is not up in the sky, that you should say, 'Who will go up in the sky to get it for us and tell us of it, that we may carry it out?' Nor is it across the sea, that you should say, 'Who will cross the sea to get it for us and tell us of it, that we may carry it out?' No, it is something very near to you, already in your mouths and in your hearts; you have only to carry it out."  Deuteronomy 30:11-14

For in him, all the fullness was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile all things for him, making peace by the blood of his cross through him, whether those on earth or those in heaven. Colossians 1:19-20

"But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Luke 10:29

“I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.  Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.  All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”  Luke 10:21-24

There is much happening in the tenth chapter of Luke’s Gospel. First, Jesus sends out 72 disciples on a mission from God.  They work wonders in far off lands and return and report on their mission.  This is the high point of the chapter and maybe of the entire Good News. The Spirit of the Lord was not only upon Jesus at this juncture but also upon those surrounding him.  

We share in the privilege of discipleship, too.  The rest of chapter ten explains how we are to exercise those rights and responsibilities.  First, we must follow the Parable of Unexpected Mercy (aka the Good Samaritan).  Then, Jesus stops by to visit his friends Martha and Mary in Bethany and makes a monumental revelation.  It is not only that we must focus on our study and action.  We cannot leave out the better part.   

(Note that Mary’s action is not the BEST part.  Integrating piety, study, AND action is the best part. Pious reverence for the Lord is better than study and action standing alone.)

What did the 72 accomplish?  If they were half as effective as the Good Samaritan and Mary of Bethany, they had a very good, wonderful, miraculous day.

There is much happening today on the pages of the Washington Post, the Dallas Morning News, the Baton Rouge Starr, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

It sure does not feel like the spirit of the Lord is upon us.  We are drowning in blood-soaked grief. The demons we face do not seem to be subject to our God.   

Do not let the headlines or TV news stop you from your appointed task.  Have you tried to answer the title question yet?   Keep that question with you and ponder it with EVERY person you encounter today.  Your family.  Your neighbors on your street.  The cashier at Safeway.  The attendant at the gas station.  The guy driving the bleeping beeping Mercedes who cut you off on I-95 North.  (Or Lord, won’t you buy ME a Mercedes-Benz, too?).   The waitress at the restaurant.    

"And who is my neighbor?" He goes by many names.  He wears many different clothes and uniforms.  His skin is different colors.  His gender is different than yours even though this list is all male…

David Francis Michel, Jr.
Alton Sterling
Lorne Ahrens 
Freddie Grey
Patrick Zamarripa 
Trayvon Martin
Michael Krol 
Mike Brown
Brent Thompson
Philando Castile
Michael Smith
Eric Garner

Everyone.  Even those you least expect to serve will serve to fulfill your discipleship. Your neighbor is someone very near to you, already in your mouths and in your hearts; you have only to carry out love.  

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