My Neighbor

“My faith I must bring inwardly and upwards toward God, but my works I must do outwardly and downwards to my neighbor.”
Martin Luther, 1526
In Luke 10, a man seeking do know what he must do to inherit eternal life, asks, “Who is my neighbor?”
Jesus blows our usual idea of neighbor all to smithereens, in the parable of the Good Samaritan. The priest and the Levite refuse to be neighbor to a fellow Jew lying beaten by the roadside. Only a despised Samaritan acts as his neighbor.

My neighbor is the person on the opposite side of the political chasm. My neighbor is the person who views the options of a pregnancy differently than I do. My neighbor is the person who speaks Spanish to his friends while mowing the church lawn at the end of our street.
My neighbor is one of the people whom Mr. Rogers invited to be his neighbor, without any qualifications and questions. “Won’t you be my neighbor?” asked the man lying beaten and bloody along the Jerusalem to Jericho road.
How would we answer Jesus question, “Which one proved to be a neighbor?”
Would it be me? Would it be you?

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