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Joanna Depue "DJ/Deacon J" writes original songs and liturgies, does daily Farm office work and records Barbara's eMos on The Geranium Farm. A singer and dog trainer she utilizes healing touch in her private massage practice. PLEASE share YOUR original ideas for worship, special liturgies, prayers, songs, sermons and noteworthy blogs right here.
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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Pente.Proper 10(RCL) Hi there, neighbor!

As usual, teachers and preachers can 'borrow' any of this material with an accreditation. No further permission needed.

Amos 7:7-17 and Psalm 82, Colossians 1:1-14, Luke 10:25-37

This Sunday is occasionally referred to as "Good Samaritan" Sunday. The reason for the title may be very obvious to some, but it has always confused me.

First off, we don't start off with the parable in the first place. We start off with an exchange between Jesus and 'a lawyer' (did he specialize in civil law? Roman law? Jewish LAW?). One may be led to believe he was and adept student of Jewish LAW - and, in Luke's telling of the tale, stood up to test Jesus. It wasn't much of a test. The lawyer asked a question and Jesus referred the question back. Of course, the lawyer knew the answer and he, with pride, recited the Law. Jesus commended him on his knowledge of the Law and said by doing this he would live (spiritually). Now, as if either to draw more attention to himself or to pudh Jesus into a corner he asks a technically loaded question: And who is my neighbor? Even in those days, everyone had neighbors. In hamlet, village and bustling Jerusalem, everyone had neighbors. Like it or not, a Jew may have lived near where a Roman blacksmith, assigned to the army, had a shop. However, in Jewish law there were people who lived next to you, but due to their non-compliance with the man-made minutia in Leviticus were unclean and not to be associated with in any way.

The Lawyer was setting up a question of Leviticus's Laws (unspoken, of course): Were those - other than my own kind, Jews - or those living under the roof of a Jew, my neighbor? Were lepers my neighbors? Romans? Were Samaritans.... the lowest of the low, a people who - if any observant Jew came in contact with them - made them unclean for days and days and then subject to prescribed cleansing rituals.

So this could be the story of the sly lawyer. If we examine the parable that Jesus relays, who is the main character? The character upon whom the robbers descend, the observant Jews pass up and the Samaritan takes pity is..... the poor soul who gets robbed, beaten and left for dead. Is it called the parable of the guy who got mugged?

No, it is the parable of the "good" (as opposed to all the bad ones??? why not compassionate) Samaritan. These people's center of worship was not in Jerusalem. Make no mistake about it... the Samaritans shunned the Jews as much as the Jews avoided the Samaritans. What makes this story broader, more inclusive and - in the strictest sense - more Christian is the fact that the heart of this man was filled with pity and compassion on someone who was defenseless, helpless, crushed and rejected. With the deep kindness shown by one ostracized stranger to another, the definition of neighbor was blown wide open. Anyone is my neighbor.

Jesus has taught the lawyer a thing or two. And then turned the question back to the lawyer: In this story, WHO acted like the neighbor- who showed kindness this human being? The lawyer, ever vigilant and mindful that if he was testing Jesus someone else was also there to report the exchange by to those in the Temple's administration could not even utter the word Samaritan. Politically savy, he used non prejudicial language by replying: 'The one who showed him mercy'. The lawyer was right once again and is challenged a second time by Jesus to go and do likewise.

Our neighbors are everywhere - be they Democrat or Republican, Jew or Muslim, imprisoned or impaired in any way. They are across the fence and across the world. They are family because they too are children of the living God.

Whether by good words or deeds this week, seek the face of Christ in all people and the will of Christ in your life. Learn the name of the guy that sits 5 rows in back of you. Strike up a correspondence with someone in the armed services, pray for the peace of Jerusalem and Darfur and Lebanon and Iraq and Ireland and Liberia and the Sudan and the Hatfields and the McCoys. Pray for peace in your own extended families, community, nation, the church universal, all faiths and creeds. Make it a point of including them in your life. After all, it's just one big neighborhood separated by a few big ponds. During the Peace today, say Hi to your neighbors, both here and everywhere that God is present. The Peace of the Lord be with us all the world over!

Copyright © 2007 K.L.Joanna Depue and DJ on


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