This post is from Patrick Sutherland. He is the director of Discovery Camp and is the director of Discipleship across all programs.
As we begin I encourage you to open your bible and read: Luke 10:25-37
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
I love a really good question.
Good questions can inspire us toward change. They can challenge us, encourage us, and move us. The bible is full of moments where a question inspires changes and in Luke 10 we get one of my favourites.
It all happens when someone starts asking Jesus about inheriting eternal life. Jesus returns with an excellent question “What is written in the law and how do you read it?”
The man responds “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, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
Jesus satisfied with the answer tells him “Do this and you will live.”
And then we get a really important question: Who is my neighbour?
The answer to the question comes in the form of a story. And as much as I like a good question I love a good story all the more. The good samaritan is a popular story to refer to in scripture but its a layered and complex challenge to the Israelites of Jesus’ day.
A man is beaten and left for dead and two key figures in religious and political systems of the day walk by him and avoid him: the priest and the Levite.
This shocks us but it actually is culturally the right thing to do or at the very least a common thing to do when encountering a person who is bleeding and potentially dead. To interact with him, would be to become unclean and require them to be cleansed. Both priest and Levite would have been unable to perform their duties and so would have chosen to walk by and allow someone else to help.
The Samaritan in the story is particularly surprising because the Samaritans were the literal neighbours of the Israelites but were excluded from the general community of Israel.
Jesus manages to use this story to wrestle the cultural idea of neighbour away from an order of priority or position (like priests and Levites) toward a posture of mercy.
It’s important to note that the answer Jesus gives to the question of “who is my neighbour?” is not answered by the story. Instead, Jesus gives the clear instruction to not be concerned with title, or social barriers and instead suggests that the man become a neighbour to all through mercy and love.
The good samaritan is an example of what it means to love your neighbour: show mercy.
In reflecting on my life, and the challenges presented by the current pandemic, I find myself wondering am I treating people as neighbours?
Do I have patience for the rare people I see at the grocery store?
Am I concerned about the young family that lives nearby?
Am I reaching out to the elderly people in my life to make sure they are ok?
Am I showing mercy?
I will be thinking about that all day. I hope you will too.
A Digital Refresh is a regular series for the staff at Mini-Yo-We.
When we gather together for worship and learn from God’s word we call it “Refresh.” Even though we aren’t at camp we can still gather together to share God’s word through a Digital Refresh.
For more resources check out our summer staff resource page.
If you would like to contribute reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.