Friday, October 05, 2012

Being Neighborly

"Which of these three do you think was a neighbor 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 (continually) do likewise."   Luke 10:36-37 (Emphasis mine)

Being neighborly is what following Jesus is all about. I love Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of John 1:14 in The Message: The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. Even though Jesus knew how hostile life in the ‘hood would be, he still moved onto Planet Earth to mingle with, love and atone for humans. What a neighbor!

Jesus is still in the business of transforming human beings into neighbors!  In Luke 10, a passage we will look at in depth this weekend, a lawyer came up to drill Jesus.  The whole exchange centered on the definition of “neighbor.”  To the religious lawyer, he was all for being a neighbor, as long as he could define the neighborhood. 

Jesus, in His amazing, other worldly, rabbinic way, turns to a parable and we realize that “Who is my neighbor?” is actually the wrong question to ask!  The correct question, in God’s eyes is “Am I a neighbor?”  We don’t define our neighbors; Jesus does that for us.

Through the parable of The Good Samaritan, we discover that Jesus’ definition of neighbor (and what other definition matters?) is a person with a heart that does more than pump blood.  A neighbor is a person with a heart that sees, a heart that feels, and a heart that gets involved.

Think about it – that is exactly what Jesus did with His incarnation in general and with you and me in particular.  He had more that sympathy for our despicable predicament, more than empathy or even more than pity. Jesus had compassion (Matthew 9:36). So did the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:33).  The God-trait of compassion, when lived into and left to percolate and consume a person, always leads to action and that action always leads anywhere from advocacy to remedy.

This weekend we are locked and loaded for our Beautiful Day weekend.   We get to step into a compassion lab and watch God do amazing things.  Think about it: hundreds of PCC’ers, 250+ teachers, parents and students from the Roosevelt community, and hundreds of Christ followers from the Second Mile community are all coming together to combine their compassion energies and act neighborly towards Roosevelt School.  I don’t want you to miss out! 

Come on Saturday and serve, come back on Sunday, or plan on joining in on one of our three gatherings as we celebrate this Holy Spirit-produced value of compassion.  Please note due to the high volume of neighbors participating in this experience, being neighborly starts with parking.  We are suggesting parking at PCC and walking the ¾ of a mile to Roosevelt.

I love being your pastor!