I have recently started attending church. I’ve been searching for a place where I could worship with others that have the same fire for the word of God.
The minister who is new to the church has a definite fire for the word of God and I am mesmerized by her spark.
The focus of the sermons for the last couple of weeks has been the teachings of Jesus regarding what the greatest commandments of all are.
In this message someone asks Jesus “who is my neighbor?” To which Jesus answers with the parable of the Good Samaritan. This is a parable we all know about a man who is robbed, beaten and stripped of his clothes. As he lay in the street two people passing by move to the other side of the street to avoid this victim because he is naked, therefore unclean. One was a priest and the other a Levite. A Samaritan helps the victim. Takes him to an inn to recover and pays the innkeeper to care for him. He also tells the innkeeper that if it cost the innkeeper more for the care of the victim, to pass that cost on to him as well.
I took this message to heart and began to help an older woman at work who never married, nor had children. She is alone and trying to live off of her Social Security income. I realized that she was hungry when she came into work so I began to make her pancakes and freezing them for the week. I also cook spaghetti so that I know she has dinner every night until I can see her again. She is my neighbor.
Last Sunday I was in church and I hadn’t been feeling well. Service had just begun and the pain in my stomach began to tear me away from the service. I decided to go to the bathroom and try to shrug it off with some cold water and a movement.
As I reached the bathroom an older woman was just locking the door to the ladies room. I decided to sit by the bathroom and wait. I noticed that there was a walker just outside the bathroom and my experience with the elderly, since I am caring for my aging parents, was telling me that I probably didn’t want to enter that bathroom. I ignored such ideas.
The woman finally came out of the bathroom 15 minutes later and as she grabbed on to her walker she said to me “I almost didn’t make it.”
My experience proved true.
When I entered the bathroom, sure as I know the elderly who can’t move fast enough to get everything in the commode, there was a mess all over the toilet seat. The smell was so offensive that I could hardly stand it.
I shut the door to the bathroom and left it. I told myself that I do this all day everyday and I could not do this clean up today. I was sick of cleaning up around the toilet several times a day. The emptying of toilet chairs and for lack of a better term, I’m sick of the crap.
When I returned to the service the sermon was about community.
Who’s community? Our community. Who’s church? Our church.
As I drove home I realized that this older woman was my neighbor. She was part of my community, part of my church and I didn’t help.
I could have easily cleaned up her mess, especially since I’m an expert with the crap.
I told myself that I couldn’t do it. I failed that test miserably. I did learn however that the opportunity to lend a hand can come at any time, in any place and the opportunity could ask for just about anything that I can give.
The question I’m left with is am I willing?
Yes, my neighbor could be unclean, but she is my neighbor nonetheless.
The commandment is to love her as I love myself.