Letter from the Wardens
In Luke 10:25-37, Jesus challenges a lawyer who knows that in order to inherit the kingdom of God he must love his neighbor with all of his heart, but who nonetheless asks “But who is my neighbor?”
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’”
The Vestry took on this passage during Bible study earlier this year, and Roy asked us all to imagine some of the more minor characters in the story. I reflected on the innkeeper. Imagine being brought a man who has been brutally beaten, and one who is carried by a Samaritan, no less – the most lowly of the low at that time. The innkeeper must have paused, thinking about the possibility of this man dying in his inn, or that taking money from a Samaritan might be viewed as unseemly by his neighbors. He must have thought about the work that would be involved in keeping an eye on someone who may have been unconscious or bleeding. None of this was what that innkeeper thought would be part of running his business that day.
At Epiphany, God has called us to be brave and bold a LOT lately. In order to continue to serve the commandments faithfully, God has asked us to welcome a lot of change – embrace a new rector; contend with the idea that we will be moving our worship to a new location with a different look, sound, and feel; and now God is asking us to change our current Sanctuary to accommodate our literal neighbors at the Carter Burden Network so that they can continue their outreach to the elderly during the disruptive period of our renovation. Phew. God is asking us to take on a lot of disruption to the spaces and places we love most in order to carry out our service to Him. And, when I think about all of this, I can’t help but think about that innkeeper. He didn’t have to say yes to the denarii he was being offered. He could have turned away the beaten man, saved his room for a different traveler – one who perhaps didn’t require so much accommodation and support. And yet, Jesus tells us that he opened his doors. He too, though in a less forthright way than the Samaritan who went out of his way to help – supported his neighbor that day.
I hope that as we all experience the disruption of construction in our Sanctuary and on our ramp, we can embrace what God is asking us to do- to love our neighbors with all of our hearts, and to welcome the seniors of the Carter Burden Network with love and genuine warmth. We all have a role to play in Jesus’ parable. Let us be good stewards of our resources, good innkeepers to our neighbors, and let us joyfully thank the Lord our God who has given us this opportunity to grow in our mission and live out our values in faith.
In gratitude and in spirit,
Kathryn and Christian