Posted on Sun, Jul 10, 2016
July 10, 2016
8th Sunday after Pentecost
Gospel Text: Luke 10:25-37 "Jesus, is our Neighbor"
The Parable of the Good Samaritan
25 Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he said, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ 26 He said to him, ‘What is written in the law? What do you read there?’ 27 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.’ 28 And he 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?’ 30 Jesus replied, ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, “Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.” 36 Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?’ 37 He said, ‘The one who showed him mercy.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do likewise.’
A Bm C#m Bm A
Father grant that what we sing with our lips
Bm C#m Bm
We may believe in our hearts
D A D E
And what we believe in our hearts
E A Bm C#m
We may show forth in our lives
Bm A Bm C#m Bm
Through our Lord Jesus Christ
D A D A E
What have we learned from this past week? On one day, two African American men were shot, each one at the opposites of the Mississippi River. The news was very tragic and sad, but after watching the video of both men being shot, and listening to the Diamond Reynolds in an amazingly collected voice describe the incident in Falcon Heights while her boyfriend is dying right next to her and before our eyes, and then hearing the shocked crowd that witnessed the killing of Alton Sterling, I realized that I have no clue as to the experience African Americans go through in our country. I realized that very clearly when I saw the place where Philando Castile, was pulled over and shot. I know exactly the place where he was shot because that is where I used to live. One of my best friends lived in Falcon Heights for years. My seminary is essentially in St. Anthony, and Falcon Heights is like Mayberry RFD tucked between St. Paul and Minneapolis. I have driven down those roads countless times, many times with a very young, maybe four year old Andrew strapped in the backseat just like the four year old child that witnessed the shooting. But I have never been pulled over, ever, for anything. But Philando Castile, who worked as a cafeteria supervisor at J.J. Hill Montessori School in St. Paul was pulled over because, “The driver looks more like one of our suspects, just ‘cause of the wide set nose,” according to the police officers. He was pulled over multiple times for petty issues in the past as well.
One thing that was consistent in all the videos, everyone in the videos were terrified, even the police officers as they were arresting Ms. Reynolds after the shooting.
It seems there is a major shooting now every week, or every other week, and I can’t imagine how stressful it must be for police officers to not be afraid when there are so many guns on the streets. In today’s articles the St. Anthony police officer’s lawyer stated that the shooting had to do with the gun, not the color of Philando Castile’s skin. No matter what, when I look at our world, all I see is more and more people living in fear, and sadly more people thriving off of the fear, people promoting fear, for power or profit.
We have politicians, so-called TV and Radio newscasters, and even so-called pastors, promoting fear in order to divide people, to puff themselves up, or to make some groundless claims about a group other than their own in order to bring them attention. But almost all of these people are not African American, and they have no idea what it is like to be black in America today.
However, mostly because of the color of my skin, I can’t say I know anything what it means to be black in America. I have been discriminated in a positive way all through Asia. Because of my economic status and the color of my skin, there is no way I can claim to understand the anger, outrage, and sadly the helplessness of the people who were marching peacefully in Dallas, and now all over the country.
But that doesn't mean I can’t say or do something about the fear, injustice, hurt and pain that is paralyzing and terrifying the world today. Today’s text is all about Jesus holding up the mirror of justice and truth to a member of a group of people called, The Chosen Ones of Israel. Or, as far as Luke is concerned, Jesus is holding up the mirror of justice and truth the Body of Christ. The Jewish lawyer poses a good question to Jesus, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ People ask the same question to me all the time. At the end of the all too familiar parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus commands the man to be the person God’s has created and redeemed him to be; As a Chosen Child of God, you are blessed to be a blessing, SHOW MERCY, DO JUSTICE, AND WALK HUMBLY WITH YOUR GOD.
I received this article from some of my clergy colleagues as they prepared for today. The article is about when Dr. Martin Luther King traveled down the road today’s Gospel is set:
“Now, you know, we use our imagination a great deal to try to determine why the priest and the Levite didn’t stop. At times we say they were busy going to a church meeting, an ecclesiastical gathering, and they had to get on down to Jerusalem so they wouldn’t be late for their meeting. At other times we would speculate that there was a religious law that one who was engaged in religious ceremonials was not to touch a human body twenty-four hours before the ceremony. And every now and then we begin to wonder whether maybe they were not going down to Jerusalem, or down to Jericho, rather, to organize a Jericho Road Improvement Association. That’s a possibility. Maybe they felt it was better to deal with the problem from the causal root, rather than to get bogged down with an individual effect. “But I’m going to tell you what my imagination tells me. It’s possible that those men were afraid. You see, the Jericho Road is a dangerous road. I remember when Mrs. King and I were first in Jerusalem. We rented a car and drove from Jerusalem down to Jericho. And as soon as we got on that road I said to my wife, ‘I can see why Jesus used this as the setting for his parable.’ It’s a winding, meandering road. It’s really conducive for ambushing. You start out in Jerusalem, which is about twelve hundred miles, or rather, twelve hundred feet above sea level. And by the time you get down to Jericho fifteen or twenty minutes later, you’re about twenty-two feet below sea level. That’s a dangerous road. In the days of Jesus it came to be known as the ‘Bloody Pass.’ And you know, it’s possible that the priest and the Levite looked over that man on the ground and wondered if the robbers were still around. Or it’s possible that they felt that the man on the ground was merely faking, and he was acting like he had been robbed and hurt in order to seize them over there, lure them there for quick and easy seizure. And so the first question that the priest asked, the first question that the Levite asked was, ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ “But then the Good Samaritan came by, and he reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?'”
I have learned this week that I am terribly ill equipped to be able to relate to the suffering of all people ignorantly discriminated against because of the color of their skin, their gender, sexual orientation, religion, economic status, or whatever … All I do know is what God commanded the church to be and do. BE THE CHURCH. BE THE BODY OF CHRIST IN THIS WORLD! In all situations, good or bad, give thanks to God that you are not alone and will never be forsaken. And then, for those who are persecuted, hungry, homeless, lost or lonely, be merciful, loving and just in all things. As grace and mercy has been showered on each and everyone in this church, be merciful. Be merciful and pray. Do not be afraid, be merciful and pray. In so doing we will be made strong, hearts of stone will melt, closed, fixed and ridged minds will break open to hymns of grace and the truth of the Gospel.
Be the Church people, be merciful, and know that you are blessed because you walk as Children of the Most High God. Amen.
He has shown thee (echo),
O man (echo),
A G D
What is good, and what the Lord requires of thee;
But to do justice (echo),
And to love mercy (echo),
A G D
And to walk humbly with thy God.
©1978, 1980, Maranatha!
Words and Music by Bob Skiar
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