Thursday, October 16, 2014
October 16, 2013
But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’ Jesus replied, ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, “Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.” Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?’ He said, ‘The one who showed him mercy.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do likewise.’
I remember days of wandering and reporting from out of the way, forgotten and never-known villages, finding and recording the drama of difficult lives.
I went to places the Western world never really knew--Bor, Aswa, Atepi, Ame and dozens of others in southern Sudan caught in the maelstrom of civil war, as if any war was ever civil … especially to the poor.
I recall entering devastated towns to discover aid agencies had pulled out their people because it was too dangerous. The Red Cross, United Nations organizations like UNICEF, Save the Children, church relief organizations … all had left, leaving only the most intrepid who stayed, trying to keep the starving survivors alive long enough to plant seeds of hope in a new season.
After everyone else left, two organizations often stayed--medical staff from Doctors without Borders and nuns from Mother Teresa’s Sisters of Charity. They remained in war zones and instability where they were as likely to get killed or sick as those they served.
The stayed beyond any reasonable expectation of what they should do risking their lives for those at risk.
I loved them for that. I could kiss the dirt at their feet. Some of them were a gnarly crowd, hardened by the lives they lived, the deaths they witnessed and the risks they took.
No one needed (or would dare) to tell them ofthe story of the Good Samaritan. They lived it every day in conditions that reasonable people avoid or flee at all costs.
As I watched them I muttered to myself, “Where do you get such people? How do you make people like this?”
These are the awakened hearts of the world. These are those whose hearts have been roused by an inner love that moves them beyond limits, beyond reason, beyond expectation.
Only the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ makes hearts like these, stirring them to feel and become the love God wants us all to be.
Such people can make us nervous. They are often criticized or judged as being foolish or strange. They may scare or unsettle us because they love so freely, giving totally while we hold back protecting ourselves, our safety, our personal boundaries.
However these hearts were awakened--by beauty or suffering, by being loved or abused, by being helped or neglected--however the Spirit awakened them, they are a lighthouse shining in the darkness showing us who God is, how we are to live … and the beauty that lies deep within ourselves … awaiting its awakening.
Pr. David L. Miller