Lest We Forget to Be a Neighbor

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings:
Judges 19-21; Luke 7:31-50

 

36 One of the Pharisees invited Jesus to eat with him. After he entered the Pharisee’s home, he took his place at the table. 37 Meanwhile, a woman from the city, a sinner, discovered that Jesus was dining in the Pharisee’s house. She brought perfumed oil in a vase made of alabaster. 38 Standing behind him at his feet and crying, she began to wet his feet with her tears. She wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and poured the oil on them. 39 When the Pharisee who had invited Jesus saw what was happening, he said to himself, If this man were a prophet, he would know what kind of woman is touching him. He would know that she is a sinner.

40 Jesus replied, “Simon, I have something to say to you.”

“Teacher, speak,” he said.

41 “A certain lender had two debtors. One owed enough money to pay five hundred people for a day’s work.[d] The other owed enough money for fifty. 42  When they couldn’t pay, the lender forgave the debts of them both. Which of them will love him more?”

43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the largest debt canceled.”

Jesus said, “You have judged correctly.”

44 Jesus turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? When I entered your home, you didn’t give me water for my feet, but she wet my feet with tears and wiped them with her hair. 45  You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but she hasn’t stopped kissing my feet since I came in. 46  You didn’t anoint my head with oil, but she has poured perfumed oil on my feet. 47  This is why I tell you that her many sins have been forgiven; so she has shown great love. The one who is forgiven little loves little.”

48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

49 The other table guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this person that even forgives sins?”

50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.” (Luke 7:36-50, Common English Bible)

As I was reading the passage for today, my mind went to a couple of things. First, I thought about the Hebrew hospitality mores or laws (depending on who you ask). For the Jews to invite people to a dinner party and not offering the most common courtesy in that society, offering water one would use for the washing of feet. Jesus doesn’t say if the host provided water for the other guests. Was Jesus singled out or was the guy rude to everyone.

We can also see the rudeness in that the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears, dried them with her hear and anointed him with oil was not only a social outcast, but it seems evident to me that, though she seems to be allowed into this private home, she is shunned by all but Jesus once inside.

The second thing I thought about was in relationship to the rudeness of the story. My thoughts went to the late Fred Rogers. There is a documentary and also, but unrelated full-featured film on the children’s television icon. In the trailer for the documentary Rogers says, “The greatest thing we can do is to help somebody know that they are loved and capable of loving.’ The only person to seemingly show love to this woman was Jesus who, as he will do for all of us, forgave her sins.

Rogers asked the question, “Won’t you be my neighbor.” Jesus said, in essence, we are all neighbors to each other. But to me, to ask Rogers question, and I think he would agree, to ask you to be my neighbor would mean I need to be your neighbor too. To ask you to love me would mean I need to love you as well.

As I was getting my thoughts together for this post I was listening to my wife practice a talk for “Walk to Emmaus” she will preview this Saturday. Her talk has the title, “Changing our world.” I found it interesting listening to her talk of changing the world and my thoughts about hospitality and being a neighbor during two activities loosely related.

In her talk Cindy quoted Micah 6:8, “He has told you, human one, what is good and what the Lord requires from you: to do justice, embrace faithful love, and walk humbly with your God.” Those words seem to fit nicely into Mr. Rogers neighborhood. They were also words the Pharisees and many of us could learn to live by.

My mind also went to Hebrews 13:2, “Don’t neglect to open up your homes to guests, because by doing this some have been hosts to angels without knowing it.” Quite possibly, at least by his television persona, one of the most humble of people in history, invited thousands of children into his television home each day. It seems to me, Mr. Rogers did change the world.

We live in a world that would probably be like “Old Home Week” to the Pharisees. We need a world more like Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. How our world needs him. How much many of us miss him.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

One thought on “Lest We Forget to Be a Neighbor

  1. Rev. Peter Storey says that when Jesus knocks at the door of your heart, he is asking to come in and asks if he can bring all his friends as well. When we invite Jesus into our hearts, we invite our neighbors too!

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