Wednesday, November 14, 2007
A couple of months ago, I was asked to preach at the upcoming Interfaith service as the Christian voice. There will also be a Rabbi and an Imam who preach. The theme: loving your neighbor. Simple enough. Pretty common Christian theme, right? And what's the most famous "love your neighbor passage? --> The Good Samaritan. Still fairly straightforward, right? Here's the catch--the sermon is only supposed to be 6-7 minutes long. Are you kidding? 6-7 minutes? For someone who tends to preach anywhere from 15-30 depending on the day and the text, that's quite a feat. And this text, for the record, is one of those that would have me tending toward 30. Realistically with that kind of time frame, there's not even a chance to read the text...barely even to summarize it if I want to make the key points about what exactly the dynamic was between the Samaritans and the Jews (racist, inflammatory, filled with hate and prejudice), the level of humility seen here, and modern parallels of who our *neighbor* is and what it means for us to reach out and help (a list a mile long if you ask me--domestic violence survivors, rape survivors, the often mistreated LGBT community, those in Darfur, gang members, undocumented immigrants, Muslim extremists, terrorists, G.W., those with AIDS, those without health care....the list goes on and on and on.) And you want me to keep it to 6 minutes?!?!