Thursday, 18 July 2013
Today we hear the so well know story of The Good Samaritan.
The question was asked who was my neighbour.
This happened in Scotland not very long ago:
Fiona, who had been out late in the nearby town, had to catch a bus back to her home. It was about 10 o'clock and she managed to get on a bus that would drop her off quite near to her home. She was thankful to have caught this bus because it saved a long walk along dimly lit paths.
As the bus was approaching the area in which she lived, another girl flagged the bus down. The bus driver stopped the bus, and the girl ran onto the bus in quite a disturbed state of mind, pleading with the driver and the passengers for help. Her friend was being beaten up by two youths in the subway just next to where the bus had stopped.
The driver turned to the passengers and said, "Did you hear what she said?"
Nobody appeared to move, or to show any reaction.
Fiona, who was not a particularly brave girl, got out from her seat and walked down the bus, thinking as she went that others were sure to follow.
She found herself standing outside the bus quite alone, apart from the girl who had pleaded for assistance. Not a soul had followed her from the bus, and she recounted how she had never felt so scared in all her life.
Anyway there was no turning back, so she followed, partly pulled and urged on by the girl who was getting very anxious down the embankment to the subway where there were three lads. One was lying on the ground bleeding from his nose and mouth, and the other two standing over him kicking him viciously.
Fiona was at a loss as to what to do. Anyway, comic as it may see. She walked towards the two boys and simply told them to leave him alone. Surprised by the new arrival the boys ran off quickly.
Following this the two girls helped the boy to his feet and supported him on each side as they proceeded back up the embankment.
Fiona could not believe what she saw................... NOTHING
The bus had driven off.
Fortunately a resident had seen the attack from a bedroom window and had called the police. They arrived and took the matter in hand.
This story is a tragic account of a beating. However what Fiona found most difficult to come to terms with was not the fear, but rather the horror that nobody else form the bus had offered any help. To make the horror deeper, there was also the fact that the bus had just left the situation.
Jesus was asked about the neighbour and how we can know who the neighbour is. He responded with he parable of the Good Samaritan.
The story of the Good Samaritan along with the account of Fiona show certain similarities it is clear. The two stories illustrate something that is actually happening to us all day by day. The stories are not about the 'out of the ordinary' at all. They are illustrating the constant struggle that we are required to face as to how to love our neighbour, and how to find that neighbour.
Thinking of the story of the Good Samaritan we can see that in answer to the question "Who is my neighbour?" Jesus answered that your neighbour is anyone in the world who needs you.
But the case does not rest there, for in the story we see that the Good Samaritan went out of his way to help the beaten man. He went out of his way in the sense that he was helping a foreigner, and a despised one at that. He also went out of his way in that he paid for the care of the man and even promised to repay any further debts later to the inn keeper.
So our neighbour is someone for whom we need to go out of our wav to help, go out of our way to love.
Our neighbours, according to the parable are not those we meet along our way, but those we are willing to go out of our way to help. So Jesus was making a heavy demand on his followers ..’What good is it if you love only those who love you??'
So loving our neighbours involves a movement across on our part. A movement to be with the other, not just to bump into them on our own path.
Jesus said 'Go and do Likewise’ This challenge is fundamental to the Christian faith As believers we are called to do one thing, to love God and our neighbours as ourselves. Two commandments in one, and even in Jesus day the Jews believed that it was on those two that the whole law stood.
We must always keep the two together. On our own journeys to God we are required to love our neighbours, to love those who need our help, to go out of our way to tend their wounds., however inflicted. "If we don't love our neighbour who we can see, how can we say that we love God, who we can't see?”
As I said earlier this is a daily struggle, not an 'out of the ordinary' event. The Gospel of the kingdom is for daily living.
We are challenged daily to be Christians in our community. It is sometimes a struggle to achieve. But our community will be richer if Christians live their faith in it.
Faith I heard this week is really another kind of love, I found that very helpful.
We might consider who it is we try to avoid?
So to close, As we seek to follow the cross this week we must hold before our minds and in our prayers the desire to grow in love for God and to seek out and find our neighbour. In doing so we are going some way to fulfilling the demand of Jesus to 'Go and do likewise.'