Going the extra mile in love
I grew up in a household that was constantly busy. Being a pastor's daughter for fifteen years meant I was always surrounded by people. People came to our house who were lonely, in need or just wanted to hang out. There were times when I just wanted to be alone. Most of the time, though, I loved being a part of a full house. It's what I was used to. I believe that my upbringing was paramount in helping me to recognise the importance of community.
covid prevented us from meeting up with family and friends for a few years. Never mind meeting up with those who were a part of the local community. Larger gatherings were banned for a very long time because of the high risk of infection spreading. Now we are making the most of meeting together again, especially when it comes to big celebrations. the most recent celebration has been the coronation of king charles iii. those who read my previous blog post will probably be wondering whether I am going to be mentioning the royal family in every blog post. I can promise you now I won't be. it's the fact that many community days, parties and afternoon teas took place across the nation to join in with the celebrations of the coronation. The events of the coronation have got me thinking about the subject of community. when I think of the meaning of 'community', the bible story that comes to mind is the parable of the Good Samaritan. (Luke 10:25 - 37).
the parable of the good samaritan is about a Jewish traveller who has his clothes stripped, he is beaten and left on the roadside half dead. before he gets help, two people walk past him avoiding this man in need of their attention. the first one was a Jewish priest, and the second one was a Levite. the good samaritan was the third person who walked along the road. you may think he was just a person with a good heart. That wasn't just it; the significant thing here is that despite Jews and Samaritans hating each other, the Samaritan was willing to help him. he put him up in a b&b and made sure he got the medical attention he needed.
when Jesus told this parable, there was one important commandment he had for us. it simply was, "to love your neighbour as yourself." but, what does that mean? and, who is he referring to, as our neighbour?!
our "neighbour" isn't just the person we live next door to. according to Jesus, our neighbour is anyone in need of love and compassion. it doesn't matter who they are, or where they come from. this lesson is central to the stories that Jesus told, and the term "neighbour" is used several times in the new testament.
this is easier said than done sometimes. yes, life gets busy. we don't always feel like helping someone because we are tired. or maybe they don't always show appreciation for the help that we give them. that doesn't mean that we don't apply this lesson to our lives. since the lockdown and with the cost of living rising, many people are in need. people are lonely, living in fear and struggling to get their lives back on track. over the years, we have seen our churches come together to help their local communities with food parcels and fun days etc. it has been great and many people have come to discover the love of Jesus through the actions that the local church.
to have the church come together to serve god and others is what this mission IS ALL ABOUT. today, I wonder, how can YOU be loving Your neighbour? what can you do to help someone else in need? maybe YOU can offer to do some gardening who is unable to physically do it themselves. or maybe YOU can go and visit someone unable to get out and take them a gift to remind them that they are not forgotten.
whatever it is, let's remember it isn't about us. WE ALL GO THROUGH DIFFICULT TIMES, BUT THE DIFFERENCE IS, as CHRISTIANS, WE HAVE JESUS TO HELP US GET THROUGH THOSE DIFFICULT TIMES. NOT EVERYBODY KNOWS HIM LIKE WE DO. GOD IS NOT A SECRET TO KEEP EITHER. IT SAYS IN MATTHEW 5:14 - 15, "HERE'S ANOTHER WAY TO PUT IT: YOU'RE HERE TO BE LIGHT, BRINGING OUT THE GOD-COLOURS IN THE WORLD. GOD IS NOT A SECRET TO BE KEPT. WE'RE GOING PUBLIC WITH THIS, AS PUBLIC AS A CITY ON A HILL." (MSG)
GOD HAS CALLED US TO SHARE THE GOSPEL WITH ALL THOSE WE MEET. HE HAS CREATED US ALL UNIQUELY, WE ARE ALL ON DIFFERENT PATHS. GOD STILL LOVES EACH OF US THE SAME. HE CALLS US TO LOVE OTHERS AS HE LOVES THEM. LET'S WAKE UP EVERY DAY WITH A WILLING HEART TO SHARE THE LOVE OF JESUS THROUGH OUR WORDS AND ACTIONS WILL ALL THOSE WE MEET. WHO KNOWS WHERE IT MAY LEAD?!
by lizzy price