In our worship last weekend we reflected on the Parable of the Good Samaritan, a story we also spent time with back in Lent when five incredible guest speakers helped us consider the question of “who is my neighbor.” I believe it is impossible to spend too much time with that question or Jesus’ teaching, because they sit at the very center of our faith. If we take Jesus at his word, then we must reckon with the truth that our compassion for others is fundamentally tied to our relationship with God. We cannot claim to love God, and thereby truly experience the love of God for us, if we do not have love for all of our neighbors. That love is more than something we feel; it is realized only by our willingness to come to their aid.
In his wonderful sermon last weekend, Fr. Michael reminded us that, whatever the political solutions may be to the migrant crisis at our southern border, Christians have a responsibility to demonstrate love to those who are among the world’s most vulnerable people. Even if we can’t yet agree to offer asylum to people who have fled terror in their home countries and seek safety in ours, Christians should not quibble over our obligation to treat these traumatized people with the utmost compassion. The separation of children from their parents and their detention in centers that international agencies have overwhelmingly decried as shockingly inhumane is morally indefensible.
Jesus’ parable is playing out in real time, friends, and the sad reality is that our national behavior is not even on par with the priest and Levite, who, though they stayed on the far side of the road, at least did no harm. We, on the other hand, seem willing to cross the road in order to incarcerate the beaten man in the ditch, along with his wife and children.
The sad truth is that there will always be people willing to fear those who are different from them. There will always be crowds willing to gather at rallies and shout “Send her back” about fellow citizens with different skin color or religion. The basest human impulses will always motivate some. Which is why it is all the more important that we remain steadfastly committed to the compassionate way of Jesus. We must allow the feelings in our hearts to flow out through our mouths and hands and feet. We can call and write our elected leaders to say that we believe what is happening is wrong. We can donate and volunteer with agencies that help. We can pray with longing and hope every day.
We can resist this tide of hatred with love, for that has always been our greatest tool in transforming every broken life and every tragic story.
See you this weekend.