It’s Christian Aid Week this month and to challenge and encourage us in our giving we are being asked to think about the familiar story of the Good Samaritan. We all know how this parable goes – that Jesus tells of a man who is attacked by bandits and is left for dead at the side of the road. A priest and a Levite approach and ignore the wounded traveller in his time of need, ‘walking past on the other side’. But then along comes a Samaritan who does stop, dresses the man’s wounds, cares for him and carries him to an inn where he is safe and can recover from his ordeal.
Jesus tells this parable, not just as an example of kindness and loving care but in response to a question from a lawyer. The lawyer wants to know what he can do to inherit eternal life, and Jesus, being a good Jewish teacher, directs him to the Law, specifically the Greatest Commandment which says – “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbour as yourself.” But the lawyer wants to know more about who is neighbour might be and so Jesus tells the story which concludes with the man admitting that it was the Samaritan, the unlikely hero, who became a neighbour to the man in need. “Go and do the same” Jesus tells him.
As we approach Christian Aid Week we are invited to consider for ourselves this same question – Who is my neighbour? Who can we be a neighbour to? Could she be one of the tens of thousands of refugees stranded in Greece, or Serbia or in any one of the hundreds of camps strung across southern and eastern Europe? Could he be one of the 10 million people at risk of malnutrition and disease in the largely under reported Ethiopian drought – the worst for three decades. Could she be Morsheda, the Bangladeshi mother of four living on a low lying island in the Brahmaputra river which is often in flood risking the lives and livelihoods of millions who live in this region. Morsheda is the focus of this year’s Christian Aid campaign – she is a child of God, made in the image of God. She is our neighbour.
These and many other people across the world are supported by Christian Aid’s partners, and whilst we often make donations at Horeb, Christian Aid Week is still a vitally important part of their work to raise awareness of the issues and to raise the money needed to continue and extend their work in the places of greatest need.
As usual this year will have our own collection at Horeb and there will also be a Cytûn event here on Saturday 21st May to which everyone is welcome. Please ask yourself “Who is your neighbour?” and give as generously you are able. Thank you.