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Reflection for July 14th 2013

Mervyn posts a reflection each week. Please join in; he welcomes comments.

The story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10 is widely known good-samaritan-activities-2and its message is widely ignored.  Who, in this story became a neighbour to the man attacked by robbers?  The one who showed him kindness.

A totally unrealistic TV program shows city people  around three rural houses in the county they would like to live in.  The questions raised are about the size of the kitchen, whether the garden is large enough for alpacas, whether the décor “works”;  nothing about neighbours.  The program shows a complete misunderstanding about what makes people feel at home.

I live on a great road, terrific;  we have lunch with our neighbours every year, usually under a shelter in the rain in June.  We all know each other’s names and telephone numbers.  If you ask for help, you get it.  Quite a lot of tasteless decor, some pretty small kitchens and a total absence of alpacas.

National security is a worry.  All these groups of Muslims and white extremists lurk around corners, all ready to cause disruption and death.  How can we protect ourselves?  Wouldn’t it be good if they were our neighbours instead of our enemies?  Jesus says that this is simple:  make them your neighbours!  How do we do that?  Show kindness to them.

In 1949 an American conscientious objector, Bob Luitweller, set up a group with some friends, at a folk high school in Denmark.  They called it “Peacebuilders” but it became “Servas”:  Esperanto for “to serve.”  Its object is to prevent war by helping people to receive travelers from other countries.  Visitors must stay two nights without payment.  The first evening meal is to share information about the area, the second is to discuss what the visitor has seen.  The act of sharing food forms bonds.  I remember clearly several families in other countries whose hospitality I enjoyed years ago.  I could not go to war with these people.  It is a great, and cheap, way to spend holidays.

Security depends on neighbourliness;  it is the only guarantee of protection.  As neighbours we help each other out and look out for each other.  As hosts and guests we are bound by the ties of hospitality.  What we need is more neighbours and, fortunately, they are freely obtainable.  All you have to do is to show kindness and offer hospitality.  Then, when you move house, your questions will not be about alpacas and kitchen size, they will be about neighbours, potential neighbours, community events, shared facilities.  How many neighbours have you got?  Why so few?

About the Author:

Mervyn has worked as an engineer, as a teacher and headteacher in comprehensive schools, as a university lecturer and latterly as a dry-stone waller, and lay pastor of the church. He also serves as Eco Officer. His hobbies include walking and he leads holidays in Italy and here in the UK, especially holidays for families. He has been a local preacher in the Methodist Church for fifty years and has been riding motorbikes for slightly longer. He is married to the girl of his dreams and has several children and grandchildren of whom he is inordinately proud.

One Comment

  1. Ashley July 7, 2013 at 11:04 am - Reply

    Mervyn,
    Thanks for this blog. This happens in our street,… And started at the royal wedding a few years ago. A street party was held, with all 7 houses families being brought together to have fellowship, food and copious amounts of drink. We’ve now had another for the queens jubilee and are planning another summer BBQ this summer. Te big thing, though, is that when you wave to your neighbour you wave not as a matter of courtesy, by its a wave of knowing a little a out them, what makes them tick.

    Ashley

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