Thursday, July 07, 2016
Thursday, July 7, 2016
Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he said, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ He said to him, ‘What is written in the law? What do you read there?’ He answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.’ And he said to him, ‘You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.’
Eternal life in a ditch
Eternal life is where Love and mercy are. Sometimes it is found in a ditch.
Seldom do we think of our struggles or our neighbor’s needs as an invitation to know eternal life, which means we fail to see as Jesus sees. Failing to see as he sees, we fail to know what he knows: the life of eternity amid the banal daily-ness of where we are and what we are doing.
The well-known and much-worn parable of the Good Samaritan follows the lawyer’s question about inheriting eternal life. This story entered the popular culture in many nations long ago. It has been reduced to a moral lesson about doing good to your neighbor, launching too many lame sermons and meandering Bible studies about who our neighbor is. Next door? Across town? Half a world away? Our enemies?
Useful discussion as far as they go, but they miss the spiritual depth of the story and blind us to the invitation to eternal life that surrounds us every moment.
Eternal life invites us into its sweet embrace every time and in every place love beckons us to help, to care, to support the struggling and diminished life of others. It coaxes us into its arms every time we hear the laughter that sparkles among human hearts truly connected and comfortable with each other.
It was not only a broken and beaten man that lay in the ditch as the Samaritan made his way down the road. Eternal life lay there, bleeding and begging him to open the door and enter.
The Samaritan crawled into the ditch to pull the man to safety and care. But both men were saved. Both were lifted into eternal life, tasting the mercy of God.
Eternal life is as close as a soul who needs you. It is as near as the sound of loving laughter. It is the flow of eternal mercy that flows from the heart of God through every moment of our lives, seeking to carry us into life.
Pr. David L. Miller