Being neighborly

By Bishop Jonathan Holston

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, ˜And who is my neighbor? Luke 10:29 (NRSV)

An anonymous writer penned these words titled A Collection of Attitudes, referencing the parable of the Good Samaritan, saying: To the expert in the law, the wounded man was a subject to discuss; To the robbers, the wounded man was someone to use and exploit; To the religious men, the wounded man was a problem to be avoided; To the innkeeper, the wounded man was a customer to serve for a fee; To the Samaritan, the wounded man was a human being worth being cared for and loved; To Jesus, all of them and all of us were worth dying for.

Confronting the needs of others often brings out various attitudes in us. Jesus used the parable of the Good Samaritan to make clear what attitude was acceptable to him. We learn that our neighbor is anyone in need, and love means acting to meet a person s need. Wherever you live, there are needy people close by. They are men and women, boys and girls, single and married, as well as those who are single-again. They represent all ages, ethnicities and nationalities. They are our family, friends and neighbors.

On Sunday, Oct. 13, we will celebrate the Children s Sabbath across our S.C. Conference. The Conference Task Force for the Campaign for Children in Poverty is giving leadership to this effort to dream God-size dreams and make a difference in the lives of children. The Children s Sabbath is a celebration of hope that is committed to educating congregations about the state of today s children and families in our communities.

As chairperson of our conference task force, Martha Thompson is giving tremendous leadership to our effort. She has reminded us all that it only takes one individual who is committed to a cause to unite with others and ministry begins. It is a reminder that we all have the capacity to transform the world of children living in poverty.

Please know that I need your participation to shape the lives of children and their future. When we address the issues of poverty, we are being good neighbors.

Recently, I found an illustration that speaks powerfully to that capacity to make a difference. Taken from the tomb of a bishop in Westminster Abbey, it simply says:

When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world.

As I grew older and wiser and realized the world would not change, I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country; but it too seemed immovable.

As I grew into my twilight years, I settled on changing only my family and those closest to me, but alas they would have none of it.

Now as I lay on my deathbed and I suddenly realize

That if I had only changed myself first, then by example I could perhaps have changed my family, and from their inspiration and encouragement to me, I would have been better able to help my country and from there I would have been better able to change the world.

Friends, the opportunity to make a difference is before us. Let us celebrate the Children s Sabbath on Oct. 13 and change the world of children in poverty.

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