Our text this week comes from Luke 10.
A scribe asks Christ, what he must do to inherent eternal life and what is the greatest commandment? Christ says that the greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your soul and to love your neighbor as yourself.
The scribe asks ‘who is my neighbor’ and Christ responds with the parable of the Good Samaritan.
This last week was Vacation Bible School. Our theme was Pets Unleashed. It focused on how we take care of our pets, how we are called to take care of one another, and how Christ takes care of us.
As pastor, I was in charge of Bible Adventures. The first two days were happy. We focused on the Beatitudes in Matthew, including being the ‘Salt’ of the earth making the earth a better place as well as being the ‘Light’ that shines in the darkness. We also spoke of Matthew 7:12, the ‘Golden Rule’, do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
The last two days, we focused on the betrayal, arrest, passion, crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Christ. As I read the script one of the lines was ‘There was no light. Jesus was dead. There was no hope.’
Now, I tend to be a stoic but this last week I felt like there was no light and there was no hope in our world. I wondered if perhaps our world is the broken, beaten, pain[ed] victim on the side of the road. I literally just sat and wept for our world and its condition.
Father Nathan Monk says, ‘whenever someone tells me they’ve prayed so its in God’s hands now, I remind them that they are the hands and to get to work’.
Pope Francis says ‘pray for the hungry, then feed them. That is how prayer works.’
I am not saying that its good works that earn us eternal life, but I do believe that it is the experience of God’s grace that moves us to good works. We are called to be the Salt, and to be the Light, and to be the Good Samaritans.
C.S. Lewis said ‘I didn’t go to religion to make me happy, I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity’.
Christianity requires that we become the change that we want to see. That we be the Light. We be the Salt. We be the Good Samaritans.
And yet, its not as easy as it sounds. You have to be bold, and brave, and gutsy, and willing to be uncomfortable, and willing to take risks in order to love and to serve your neighbor to be that Salt and that Light.
And in a world that seems like it attempts to dull our saltiness and dim our light, in a world where hope seems to cease to exist, it can seem pointless. In those times, I turn to a song that Garth Brooks wrote in 1995 in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City Bombing. It’s called The Change:
This heart still believes that love and mercy still exists
while all the hatred rage
and some many say that love is all but pointless
in madness such as this
its like trying to stop a fire
with the moisture from a kiss
And I hear them saying
you’ll never change things
and no matter what you do its still the same thing
But its not the world that I am changing
I do this so this world will know
that it will not change me
As long as one heart still holds on
then hope is never really gone.
My prayer is that we, as individuals, as a community, as a world, that we hope on to hope and that we don’t let the darkness of this world dull our saltiness or dim our lights. So that we can continue to love and to serve one another. Amen.
Scripture: Luke 10: 25-37.
Originally Preached on 10 July 2016.