Thursday, October 21, 2010
Go and Do Likewise
And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?”And 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 he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” Luke 10:25-37
I had a girl friend who had a grandmother who had been a dancer for many years in New York City and who had taught many young girls to dance ballet. When we were eight or so, the grandmother, who was very spry, organized dance classes for us and several other girls. She called us her little flowers and then went on to name the little school she had created her purple pansies. We were an mostly uncoordinated lot, but we tried hard. I was the only left handed girl among them and usually when everyone went right I went left. My whole world centered on a different first step. The teacher was always saying, "just follow me" and "do likewise". And I would try hard to follow and still end up in the other direction. We had a recital or two and loved the time we had feeling like ballerinas. We must have gained some composure and coordination but I always worried that I couldn't follow and do likewise.
Jesus tells the familiar story of the good Samaritan and we all know what we should do from this story. How hard it truly is to go and do likewise in a world where terror concerns our everyday and when border protection and individual security reign highest in the minds of everyday citizens. Those who used to be our neighbors are now suspects and possible terrorists. And yet, in the time of Jesus, terror was everywhere and Samaritans were enemies of the Jewish community. God promises that when we reach out to our enemies the world will change. By our doing likewise, we will transform our world.
Today, I ask God to give me the strength to serve my enemies and detractors, to reach out in love even in the midst of challenging times. I pray that I will be fearless in the face of terror, known and unknown, trusting that God will change the world through those of us who "go and do likewise".