“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:36-37)
For as long as I remember, the men in my family have always loved American history. In particular, we’ve always been drawn to Civil War history. So much so that my brother and uncle have participated in Civil War reenactments as Union soldiers.
An event within the Civil War that I’ve always been fascinated by is Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Here’s a fun fact: the Gettysburg Address was only 272 words long, which, to put in perspective, is only a minute and a half of speaking. Yet what’s amazing is that this short speech is universally considered one of American history’s most important and influential speeches.
This Sunday in church, we’ll be reading a famous story that Jesus told roughly the same length as the Gettysburg Address; a story we all know as the parable of the Good Samaritan. And in this parable, Jesus shared a revolutionary story that invites us to consider 1) who our neighbor really is and 2) what it means to be a neighbor to those in need.
While much can be said about this powerful parable, here are the lessons that strike me as I read it.
1) Like the priest and Levite who conveniently ignore the man in need, we as Christians often ignore the needs and painful situations of too many of our neighbors (Luke 10:31-32). This sort of inaction is incompatible with God’s command to love.
2) Often, the first step in being a neighbor to others is allowing ourselves to become emotionally and spiritually invested in their well-being. Notice that in the story, what sets the Good Samaritan apart from the Levite and priest is that he allows himself to be moved with compassion and pity (Luke 10:33).
3) While loving others often requires our spiritual and emotional investment, loving others is more than a “feeling.” Instead, loving our neighbors often requires we take action and do something! Notice that the Samaritan doesn’t merely pray for the victimized man from a distance. Instead, he shows up and takes action. In the same way, loving others often requires action and sacrifice on our part (sharing our time, our hearts, and our resources).
As we think about these important lessons, here are the questions I’d invite you to reflect on: Who is God calling you to be a neighbor to? And how is God calling you to show up in someone else’s life? Just some food for thought.
PS: Thank you for the prayers for Harper! While she still has cold symptoms, she hasn’t developed a fever or had any problems breathing which is excellent news!
Back to School Drive
Our church is partnering with United Way of Hunterdon Country to gather school supplies for needy students and families. There will be a box in the back of the sanctuary where supplies can be dropped off. If you would like to participate, you can find sheets in the back of the sanctuary that list all of the supplies United Way is looking for. Please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org for that list as well. The deadline to drop off is Sunday, July 31st.
Summer Bible Study: The Book of James
Pastor Chris will be leading a bible study on the New Testament book of James during the summer. To accommodate people’s different schedules, the study will meet at two different times on Tuesdays at 1 pm and Wednesday at 7 pm in the conference room in A-Wing. The Tuesday group will start on July 12th, and the Wednesday group will begin on July 13th.
Independence Manor Services Resuming
Starting July 17th, our church will begin leading services at Independence Manor following church service. Please contact Pastor Chris, Dar, or Greg for more details if you are interested in joining or participating.
Our next Leadership Council meeting is Tuesday, July 12th at 6:30pm in the conference room in A-Wing.