“And the Neighbor is …”
“On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the law?” He replied. “How do you read it?” He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your soul and all your strength and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.” “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you shall live.” But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” In reply Jesus said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho …”Luke 20:22-30a
The rest you know. A man we do not know whether a Jew or a gentile, is robbed, thrown into a ditch, left to die. He is attended by a stranger, grieved by him, angered by the injustice done to the man, enraged that this should happen at the hands of someone who should have known better, acted more humanely. Imagine that the abused, ditched man was a black man, perhaps George Floyd. He is robbed of the most precious gift of all: the breath of life. Imagine that you were among those who walked by and ignored the man’s plight. What regrets would you have? What remorse would you have felt for not knowing what to do or not doing what you could have done to prevent the atrocity from happening?
Now let’s turn this story around. Imagine that you were that person on the road. Imagine that you were robbed, beaten, insulted, humiliated, denied the gift of life: breath. Who would protest your treatment? Who would stand up for your rights in death as you would want them to advocate your rights in life? Who would be your neighbor?
I hope and pray that you, like me, will reflect on what it means, in these times and under these racially tense circumstances, to be who God has called us to be: the epitome of the good neighbor, the embodiment of the person and presence of Jesus in this moment in time. May we represent the best of what it means to be the followers of Jesus, the Christ, the Lord of all, all those who are our neighbors, black and white.
Offered by Rev. Dr. Julius “Tip” Tipton
Our devotionals are going out on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings, with an occasional lagniappe issue. Please look for these congregation devotionals in your email box at about 6:45 a.m.