Friday, December 12, 2008

Who is my neighbor?

When the young pastor started his sermon, I wasn't excited. I prefer the "other" young minister, and I'm just plain prejudiced about it. So when Adam began, I just sat in my seat waiting for the end of the message: "The Good Samaritan," and "who is our neighbor?" What more could he say that would be different than any other sermon I've ever heard, in my life, about that story. And he began...

"...and the man was left half-dead, bleeding...But the good Samaritan, more than the religious leaders who passed by, stopped, gave him oil for his wounds, wine to drink, and left him in the care of an innkeeper..."

And Adam posed the questions: Who among us have been left, by the church, half-dead? Who among our neighbors are the ones we reach out to? The ones who have been left, by us Christians, bleeding, and uncared for?

And it all hit me. Among so many, I see the gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and transgender people, left outside the churches. They are outcast by US, the people who call themselves by the name of Jesus. And I knew - I want to be the good neighbor, the good Samaritan.

It takes us all to be Jesus to the hurting, and I want to be, at the least that one person. I don't care if it is only one at a time. I don't care if others think I'm a fag-hag or crazy or whatever. I want people to know that I care and that I'm just like them - loved by Jesus.

It has not been easy to accept what has happened to me. Many times I've been angry at God for the loss of my marriage (and so much more). Often I don't want to go to church, don't know the absolutes of my upbringing and don't feel confident in my faith. But I felt God's healing THAT day when we closed with, "How marvelous, how wonderful is my saviours' love for me..." I felt that I've been loved enough to come through this journey, to be shown things I'd never have considered if not for the difficult road, where I was bleeding and half-dead. I felt that somehow there was a purpose and maybe I can make an impact on someone else that hurts and feels like they are left on the side of the road, forgotten by most everyone.

Could it possibly be ME, who can pour in oil for wounds, share a meal of fellowship, and offer healing?

Anyone else want to be a good neighbor?

(p.s. Thanks, Adam! I'll love you forever!)

5 comments:

Daniel said...

Hello,
Just a quick note to say thank you for journalling your heart.
I am a gay Christian man, and really am touched by people's stories around topics that are close to me.
I am able to process thing within myself as I read.
Thank you.

Michael in Norfolk said...

Carol,

I recently found your blog and find it/you wonderful. I am a gay spouse who in many ways can identify with Ray. I also consider myself a Christian - even though it is hard at times in the face of all the anti-gay propaganda disseminated by "godly Christians."

The compassion you show for gays is moving. I truly believe most of us gay spouses entered our marriages with the best of intentions and believing we could "change." It doesn't work and things sooner or later fall apart, but we did not have evil intentions - I know I did not. I never ran around cheating on my ex-wife, but that doesn't lessen the hurt she experiences still from all that happened. Sadly, we are not on good terms and it grieves me.

In this Christmas season, I wish you peace and joy.

Michael

P.S. My blog is here: http://michael-in-norfolk.blogspot.com/

Sebastian said...

This is a moving example of the power of a good sermon - and the sermon's approach is well worth stealing. That's the highest compliment a preacher can pay.

Carol said...

Daniel, Michael, Sebastian: Thanks for being on here and posting comments. It means so much that I'm heard, and I know so well that blogs make a difference.

Doorman-Priest said...

Isn't it wonderful when the familiar has the power to challenge afresh, with all the implications for change?

A bit scary too, of course.