Prayer: Lord, teach me how to be a good neighbor. Amen
Reading: Leviticus 19:18 (Click to read text)
Stop and GROW: After reading the text, discuss/ponder the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Book of Faith questions, which are part of Camp Mount Luther's GROW Time with campers.
QUESTION 1: What scares, confuses, challenges, or doesn’t make sense to me in this text?
QUESTION 2: What delights me in this text or is my favorite part of the story?
QUESTION 3: What stories or memories does this text stir in me?
QUESTION 4: What is God up to in this text?
Reflection: Last Friday, Ruth Gates reflected with us on the command in Deuteronomy 6, You shall love the Lord your God. Today we pick up another text from this summer’s camp curriculum, You shall love your neighbor.
The list of people we are commanded to love in Leviticus 19 is varied: mother, father, poor, alien, laborer, deaf, blind, kin, neighbor. And today’s appeals from agencies, causes and people in need are just as varied and myriad. Sometimes, we don’t know who to help. O.K. I want to love my neighbor, but who …? Recall the parable Jesus told in response to someone trying to figure this out years later. And who is my neighbor? Then Jesus tells a story (Luke 10: 25-37). He never defines who our neighbor is. Rather he describes what being neighborly looks like. And in this story, neighborliness is showing mercy.
Robert Frost’s poem Mending Wall quotes the phrase “Good fences make good neighbors.” The poem doesn’t actually support that idea, but many use the quote as a positive statement for building fences and avoiding arguments. Jesus’ parable posits something else that makes good neighbors—an attitude of extending mercy to whomever needs it. May God this day help us to be good, merciful neighbors. --Jim Bricker, Chaplain to Camp Mount Luther’s Summer Staff.
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