Neighbours (Friday 19 May)

Morning Encounter:

Read:

But the man wanted to show that he knew what he was talking about. So he asked Jesus, “Who are my neighbours?”

Jesus replied:

As a man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, robbers attacked him and grabbed everything he had. They beat him up and ran off, leaving him half dead.

A priest happened to be going down the same road. But when he saw the man, he walked by on the other side. Later a temple helper came to the same place. But when he saw the man who had been beaten up, he also went by on the other side.

A man from Samaria then came traveling along that road. When he saw the man, he felt sorry for him and went over to him. He treated his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put him on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next morning he gave the innkeeper two silver coins and said, “Please take care of the man. If you spend more than this on him, I will pay you when I return.”

Then Jesus asked, “Which one of these three people was a real neighbour to the man who was beaten up by robbers?”

The teacher answered, “The one who showed pity.”

Jesus said, “Go and do the same!”

(Luke 10:29- 37)

Reflect:

The practice of hospitality takes an abstract commitment to love and service into the practical realm. It is a concrete expression of compassion, a recognition of the image of God in our fellow humans, and a subversive challenge to the value the world places on personal advancement, self-sufficiency and privacy. In this story Jesus told, the giver of hospitality was not even in his own country. He was far from home, a stranger himself. Yet he found a way to give dignity, help and hope to a fellow traveller.

The most commonly used Greek word for hospitality in the New Testament is philoxenia, a combination of the word for love between those connected by kinship or faith (phileo) and the word for stranger (xenos). In the New Testament, hospitality was clearly understood as being about love, and about strangers. Is that how we understand it?

Respond:

What holds you back from offering hospitality? Is it how you feel about your home? Is it perfectionism, or fear, or selfishness? Take an honest look at what is keeping you from loving your neighbour as Jesus defined neighbour.

Midday Meditation:

“The greatest stranger is our neighbour, because God has bound all men together, for the purpose of assisting each other.”

(John Calvin, Commentary on the Harmony of the Evangelists, Matthew, Mark and Luke)

Evening Reflection:

Lord, you saw me, welcomed me, gave me dignity and a place by your side. Enlarge my gratitude and enlarge my heart so I can bless others the way you have blessed me. Amen.

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