Prayer: Dear God, despite first impressions and what meets the eye, help us to see everyone as our neighbor. Amen
Reading: Luke 10: 25-37 (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: A stranger turned up in church one Sunday morning. He was a little odd behaviorally and physically. And for some reason, he had it is in his mind a "Ruth" was supposed to give him a ride back to the bus stop after worship. Being alone with two young children, I felt uncomfortable. So an older church member stepped up and he took him. Driving home, I asked the kids what they learned in Sunday School to which Rachel answered with total dismay, "There was this man who got beat up and robbed and left by the side of the road and no one would help him! No one! Everybody just walked on by until..." I was convicted. He was my neighbor.
Chris turned up at church over the years, mostly for Wednesday evening worship during Lent when we had a soup supper beforehand. We got used to his presence, his written communications (honestly, the man did not have ears) and occasional need for a ride. He was our neighbor.
Then one day he got on the bus I was riding home from work. It was full and he looked around for a place to sit. All eyes on him would first thing think he was a bit odd and shy away. I patted the seat next me for him to sit down. We "communicated" the whole ride with written notes back and forth. He was on his way to a birthday party for a friend. We enjoyed the sunshine streaming into the bus window. We shared a bit about God's goodness. He got up to let me out at my stop. When I looked back he was standing on the seats, straddling the aisle and holding onto the handrail on either side. I motioned for him to sit back down with concern others might not understand his ways. Others might not see him as a neighbor.
Chris passed away a couple months ago. I did not know the other challenges he had in life and health. He will be missed by any who helped him along the way; by any who treated him like their neighbor. --Ruth Gates
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