Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Hospitality (02/07/05)
- TITLE: Go and do Likewise
By Melanie Kerr
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Did you know that there is a Greek word that covers the kind of love that the Samaritan showed towards the injured man? I bet you are all thinking "agape love", or self-sacrificing love, which wouldn't be wrong. The word I am thinking of is "philoxenia" - the Greek word for "the love of strangers". It is sometimes translated as "showing hospitality".
Jesus said, “If you love me….go and do likewise” The proof of whether you love Jesus or not isn’t in whether you turn up every Sunday, whether you arrive early to set out the chairs, whether you sing the songs loud and lustily. Those things don’t count. It is whether you “go and do likewise”.
To love your neighbour as yourself is God’s minimum requirement. It means that all the things I want for myself, I should want for my neighbour. The time and energy I spend trying to get these things for myself, I should spend equal time and energy getting them for my neighbour too.
Years ago, I can’t even remember rightly what it was all about, but joined a protest march. It was to do with pensioners and to do with the cost of fuel and about making sure that the elderly people didn’t die in winter because they had to choose between food and heat. I didn’t know it was on. I was in town and the High Street was full of people and banners. Every organistaion possible has a banner and was there, demonstrating solidarity. My shopping bags and I joined the march. None of the banners waving were church banners. No churches were there. Later on in the week I had a house-group meeting and shared the experience and my disappointment that no church groups had dug out the banner and joined the march. Someone said, “We pray! I am surprised that I did not get out of my seat and either smack the person over the head, or just walk out. To my shame, I did neither. I let someone tell a whole bunch of people in a room that standing side by side with an little old lady or a little old man and fighting for them to have food and warmth during the winter was not as important as praying. Jesus said, “Go and do likewise”. He didn’t say. “Lets pray for the man that has got beaten up that he recovers quickly, that his family is comforted through this crisis.” He didn’t say, “Let’s pray for the robber that God will flood their hearts with remorse.” Or “let’s pray that God will touch the hearts of his temple workers, making them compassionate.” He said, “Go and do likewise.” We see the injured people in our everyday life, the hurting people, the people who are bashed around by life. We are required to bind up their wounds, give them what they can’t find for themselves, pour out what we have to restore them. Yes, we pray, but not as an alternative to practical demonstrations of love.
Loving anybody the way Jesus intends begins when our life touches theirs. The line between "what is theirs and what is ours" gets rubbed out. Their burdens become our burdens. Their hurts become our hurts. Their joys become our joys. Then, and only then, will we start of show genuine hospitality.
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