“Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” 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.” And Jesus 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?” – Luke 10:25-29
The Call to be Neighborly
We will get to hear this story in its entirety this coming month as we continue our march through the Gospel of Luke: a gospel that pays special attention to the way in which God’s kingdom of mercy and love is for all people, especially those who are sick, poor, and alienated by society.
Jesus replies to the lawyer’s question by telling him a story that many of us know as the Parable of the Good Samaritan. In this parable, Jesus reveals how sometimes the one whom you would least expect to be a neighbor reaches out with mercy and love to a person in need.
No Neighbors in Sight
This past month there have been a number of upsetting stories in the news, which seem to reveal that people in this world have forgotten how to love and serve their neighbors. People possessed by demons of entitlement, of fear, and of hatred have committed violence against others without thought to the unspeakable damage and pain this will inflict on their neighbors. What’s more, our justice system seems to have failed to act on behalf of those who have been harmed, failed to put laws in place that will prevent further violence.
Where are the neighbors of whom Jesus speaks?
How Can We Be a Neighbor?
While the news may lead us to think otherwise, there are definitely individuals and organizations in our world and community that are acting as neighbors to those who need it most.
We at St. John’s have been thinking about how we can be a neighbor through the proceeds of our Summer Block Party. As the Outreach Innovations Team planned for this event, they encouraged the congregation to think about whom they would like this money to support. Based on these votes, all funds raised by the Summer Block Party will support Quakertown Community Outreach (QCO), a local organization that has been acting as a neighbor to people suffering from homelessness in our area.
Partnering with other Neighbors
QCO strives to help those in need without discrimination or partiality. Their mission as stated on their Facebook page is “to make sure everyone in need has the opportunity to live with dignity and self-respect.” QCO fulfills this mission by helping individuals obtain the housing, food, and other resources that they need to live independently. By supporting this organization, we will be acting as a neighbor to the people of QCO and to all of the individuals who benefit from their services.
This month, I encourage you to take note of neighbors in the news and in your daily life. Who has been a neighbor to you? How can you be a neighbor to those whom you meet?
Yours in Christ, Pastor Kat Steinly