We have been on a multiple week journey that concludes today, but in an intense, dramatic, and quite disturbing tale.
Lets pause and take a quick glance back.
A lawyer, like us, asks Jesus to define who is our neighbor in order to justify his lack of care and hospitality towards another, especially if they look, sound, act, think, believe, and/or love differently than us.
Jesus’ response is the parable of the Good Samaritan, confirming that we are to love ALL people and, according to the Gospel of John, it is as Jesus first loved us. (sermon)
Then, we have examples of hospitality through the traditional means of Abraham and Martha, who greeted, invited, provided safe rest, and prepared food. We also had the less traditional hospitality of Mary dwelling, undistracted, in the presence of her guest. (sermon)
Hospitality, or the welcoming of the stranger, was of the up-most importance in the Ancient Near East. Again, it did not matter if you were Greek, Roman, or Israelite. It did not matter if you were Pagan, Jewish, or a follower of Jesus. We know this from the number of stories that echo the theme of reward or punishment based on the hospitality or lack thereof offered.
Before diving into this disturbing tale, I must warn you that it includes sexual violence. Read the rest of this entry »