Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Different Way Through Town… and Life

Read Luke 10: 25-37.

Most of us get locked into familiar patterns as part of our routine.  We travel the same streets.  We do the same activities day after day, and week after week.  We get accustomed to spending time with our “regular” group of people.  We also become adept at learning not to cause trouble and not to break any social taboos. 

We can easily pass through some parts of town with another destination in mind.  So, as we think about the next meeting, or enjoy our music in the safety of our vehicle, we may never lock eyes or spend time with people in Harrisburg… or south Augusta… or Olde Town… or Bethlehem.  Matter of fact, we may not even drive through some parts of “our” town unless we get lost.

Christ seemed to take delight in crossing the street, crossing the railroad tracks, crossing the barriers.  More than get “off the beaten path,” he’d strike up conversations and relationships with the folk everyone else would look past.  Of course, he had his critics due to such behavior.  Yet the kingdom of God was reaching out to touch the physically broken, the soldiers and tax collectors, the rich and the poor, the women with questionable backgrounds, the Gentiles and people from distant countries, and even people such as ourselves.        

The religious folk in the passage didn’t respond like their theology, their sermons, and their worship songs suggested they should.  The hero in the story told by Jesus turns out to be a Samaritan- one from the country next to Israel that didn’t worship or live correctly from a traditional Jewish viewpoint.  The tough sermon is that our true faith about God is revealed in how we treat our neighbors, even those that we might think of as lifelong enemies.  This is the way of Christ and it is the way of his disciples.     

Ask yourself:  How can I love God and love my neighbor as myself?  Where am I in the Samaritan story?  How will I give like the Samaritan to show God’s mercy?  Who do I need to see as my neighbor that in the past I would have overlooked?

Pray for Red Bird Mission.  Methodists have worked in rural Appalachia since the 1920’s sharing Good News and addressing the variety of needs that are found in the mountains.    

Learn more:

Meet a presenter:  Rev. Patrick Friday will help us learn stronger ways of being a good mission partner.  His sessions will help us chart more powerful partnerships that generate effective mission and ministry.

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