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." – Luke 10.30-37
At first glance, the communities of South Dallas/Fair Park and Chicuque, Mozambique may seem overcome with problems. But a closer look reveals two communities filled will loving people who want to see their neighborhoods thriving. They want their children to have all the opportunities that any child has. They want them to be safe, and proud to call their neighborhood home. As Mark points out, the challenges faced by the residents of South Dallas are real – but he challenges us to get involved in overcoming them. As the story of the good Samaritan reminds us, faithfulness to loving God also means loving our neighbors.
- The parable of the Good Samaritan ends with Jesus acknowledging that "the one who showed mercy" is the one who was faithful. But the Samaritan did more than show mercy in the moment – he also ensured the stranger would be cared for beyond their initial encounter. What is the difference between acts of mercy, and working for justice? How can your church be an advocate for the kinds of changes Mark wants to see in South Dallas (more community police officers, more resources for DISD schools, better pay for teachers, a cleaner, safer city for all residents)?
- David and Elizabeth McCormick moved to Mozambique to serve in a community that many people see as "broken." But they saw it as opportunity to be in ministry with their neighbors. How might your church engage in ministry with your neighbors, rather than ministry "to" or "for" them?
Faithful God, may we be faithful to you. May we continue to grow in our love of you with our whole heart, soul, strength, and mind. And when we see your children in need, may we love them as we love our own families – through our compassion, our resources, our advocacy, and our solidarity. Amen.
Giving up an hour's wage each week or other things you crave as a form of fasting, and giving those funds to support the Zip Code Connection and missions in Mozambique, help empower and transform lives, which is one way we can all practice loving our neighbors throughout this Lenten journey. Contribute today at tmumc.org/lent.