Regardless of how you feel about Christianity, the Church, even Jesus, here’s a story for you.
Jesus, so it goes, was followed, pursued if you will, by a caravan of nearly 5,000 people the Bible says.
At the end of a long day of teaching and walking, the closest friends to Jesus urged him to stop teaching so they could leave and find food.
But Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
It reminds me of another time that Jesus was put on the spot, presumably by someone in this caravan.
“What’s the meaning of life,” asks the man (paraphrased of course.)
“Love God, and love your neighbor,” says Jesus.
Loving God—an abstraction or concept that’s easy to convince yourself you’ve done.
But Luke says, “[The man] wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus:
And who is my neighbor?”
Loving those people, the unclean, those that I’m allowed to hate, that’s not safe, or even realistic!
So Jesus replied with the story of the Good Samaritan. Even if you’ve never been to Sunday School you’ve probably heard it.
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” Jesus concludes the story.
The samaritans were the scary, violent, unknown foreigners across the border of Jerusalem, separated by an ancient, forgotten border war.
The man replied to Jesus’ question, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
Feed the 5,000. Love your neighbor. Even if he scares you.