Monday’s Mantra

Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power...

Things are Never as they Seem!

Welcome to Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power and TCU (Trench Classes United)! I’m so glad you could join us for some neighboring mantras that will surely spread a message of hope to you and your neighbor(s), friends and strangers too! Grab your favorite beverage and your strand of faith and let’s go tie some more knots together.

Come with me to Luke 10:25-37.

The story begins with this question: “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” to which Jesus answered with a question! I don’t know about you, but when I ask a question, I want an answer, not another question! But…this is a big one…Jesus had His reasons, as He always does, for responding with a question. And what’s really telling is Jesus truly wanted the lawyer’s opinion of his reading of the law.  We could spend quite a bit of time on this one principle of engaging with our ears to really have meaningful conversation, but we won’t. Let’s stay on track with the principles of neighboring and why we neighbor!

In the course of the dialogue between Jesus and the lawyer, with many onlookers I might add, the lawyer asks Jesus another question: “And who is my neighbor?” So Jesus responds with the parable of the Samaritan, known in our era as “The Good Samaritan.”

We discovered who the characters in the parable were last week, but today, I want to talk about the first one that comes into the picture after the poor man who has been robbed and beaten is left to die…on a very dangerous road: The Priest. 31Now, by chance (emphasis added) a certain priest came down the road and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.

Let’s pause there for a few minutes. I don’t know about you, but the many times I have read this parable, I was sort of puffed up with an attitude of self-righteousness filled with quips like, “how dare he,” “how could he,” and of course, “why didn’t he…” until writing this study for our church and really studying the history behind it. See that is why studying history is so very important because unless we study it, we’ll repeat it! And we all know that many parts of our own history aren’t worth repeating!

Things are NEVER as they seem, and I found that to be true as I studied up a bit on the Priest, his role in society, a little about their culture, all of which have an important piece into this puzzle of this parable. In fact, I’d dare say these pieces are the framework for this parable. Here’s what I learned:
Exodus 28 reveals the Priest’s social status, which of course includes his clothing he must wear daily; Exodus 29 talks about sacrifices, all the do’s and don’ts and all the things a priest could not be around in order to be qualified to sacrifice.

Leviticus 21-22 reveals all the rules for the priests, included in those rules were do’s and don’ts for their conduct and contact: they were not allowed to be anywhere near a “defiled” person, a bleeding person, a handicapped person of any kind or they could not offer up a sacrifice!

To make a long history short…this guy, the Priest who walked on the other side did what he did because he was in bondage to the law. Why else did Jesus bring him into the story? How many of us are all bound up by do’s and don’ts, rigidity preached from the pulpit, that if we are struggling with weaknesses and worries, habits and hang-ups, we must not have enough faith, or be praying enough. I could go on, but let’s wrap this up.

How many times have we acted based only on our assumptions and not all the facts? I don’t know about you, but I’m raising my hands and feet in the air right now: GUILTY!  I was so guilty of being indignant about this Priest as I read this story yet again, and now, after studying it, I am humbled beyond belief. Who am I to judge the priest who is like one of us…held in bondage by something he/we believe to be greater than Jesus! The priest may have been bound by the law, but I was bound up by a judgmental attitude, a critical spirit of sorts. What has you bound up, preventing you from recognizing who your neighbor is, let alone how to neighbor?

I’m so thankful for my God-given hunger for truth that I would continue to learn that things are never as they seem and Jesus uses all things to teach us what we need to learn when we need to learn it.

Are you listening to learn or learning to listen?



kim L

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