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!)