I'm late getting this sermon chat posted. The week is nearly over and a new sermon will be ready for discussion next Monday. Sorry about the delay. But, just in case anyone wants to share some thoughts about last week's sermon on the Good Samaritan, here's a place to have a conversation.
It's would be difficult not to see compassion as a central feature of Jesus' ministry. He had friends in "low places." They were called "am ha-aretz" and were looked down upon as sinners, outcasts and poor. But Jesus did not look down on them. His invitation to discipleship ("Follow me") means being "merciful, as your Father is merciful" (Luke 6:36). Jesus' heart for the am ha-artez really shines through the Gospels. Samaritans were among the most despised by the Jews at the time. In John 4, we can read the story of Jesus doing the unthinkable by talking to a Samaritan woman (of ill repute) at Jacob's well. The story of the "Good" Samaritan found in Luke 10, teaches us what it means to be a neighbor to anyone in need.
It sounds so simple, but it is rife with complicated justifications, rationalizations, and explanations we give as to why it may not be smart, or realistic, or in our best interests to stick our necks out for the am ha-aretz of our day.
- Is Jesus simply naive about this "being a neighbor" thing?
- Is our day and time more complicated than it was back in Jesus' day and time, suggesting that it's harder for us to be compassionate than Jesus' original audience?
- What limits should we place on our compassion?