Neighborly Compassion

With phrases like, “If you aren’t for us, you’re against us,” our society has raised up a narrative that if you are for someone or something, it must mean that you are against someone else. Jesus uses the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) to challenge the divisions of first century Israel, where being Jewish often automatically meant being against Samaritans. Jesus says that the Samaritan draws near the almost dead man and is moved with compassion down in his very core.

A Samaritan sees a Jewish man and instead of being stopped by the dividing walls and designations of “us” and “them,” he draws near to this person in need and cares for him as a person, not an enemy, not a member of a particular group, but a beloved bearer of the divine image. At the end of the parable, Jesus issues the call to, “Go and do likewise.”

Jesus calls us today to be moved with compassion for all people, not just for some. By telling a story about divine compassion working through someone most would have assumed they should be “against,” Jesus reminds us that the God of compassion is “for” everyone. Thus, he busts the myth that being for someone means being against someone else.

May God inspire and empower us to draw near to those in need. May God move us to compassion for all, so that we begin to recognize and live in the reality that we are all beloved children of God, we all bear the image of the divine, and we are called to receive and share love, mercy, and compassion. And may we rest in the good news that God’s compassion in Christ and through the Holy Spirit continues to surround us and all people.

Blessings on your week,
Pastor Drew

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