March 25, 2010
And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him (Jesus) to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
The Good Samaritan by Vincent Van Gogh
But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” Luke 10 v25-37
Why does it sometimes seem like we who desire to walk with Christ are walking around, avoiding, the real issue? We post in capital letters our fears of government. We write of lies and back room deals. We defend capitalism and demonize socialism. We conclude it’s all about control. And on and on we continue to talk …and walk …around.
All the while the man beaten, in need of medical care, and robbed by an unjust medical system, is left to die.
“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Mt 22 36-40
Why does it seem like we, who have come to know the heights and depths and breadth of the love of Christ, have so little love for our neighbor? Why does it seem like we’re more concerned with preserving “our way of life”, our lifestyle, than with improving our neighbor’s? Why does it seem like it’s more important to us that the quality of our healthcare not go down than that our neighbor’s goes up? Why do we fight against that which our neighbor so needs?
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” Mt 5 v7
Why do we who have received mercy upon mercy seem so merciless. We spout righteous-sounding gobbledygook as if we had higher principles than those with higher empathy.
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Gal 6 v2
Why do we who have placed our burdens on Christ, now free of burdens, appear so unwilling to bear another’s? Do we not know the burden of healthcare some bear? Do we not know that it’s a burden to bear one another’s burdens? A tax that lifts a burden is a way to bear a burden.
And when they got out of the boat, the people immediately recognized him and ran about the whole region and began to bring the sick people on their beds to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well. Mk 6 v53-56
Why did Christ do healthcare? He didn’t have to …but he chose to. One could say it’s part of his legacy. What is ours?
Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed. Jn 5 v1-9
Why, after 38 years, is the invalid still waiting? How much longer would we leave him? How many more years do we debate healthcare? Christ had no time for it. He said, “Walk.”
But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Mt 9 v12
Why do we defend a healthcare system that provides physicians, not for those who are sick, but those who are well? Why are we so blind to the failures of healthcare based on an economic model of health and wealth?
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness? Mt 22 v23
Why are we not outraged at the injustices of our healthcare system? Why do we not picket the pharmacies charging the uninsured more than the insured? Is it not wrong to allow injustice? Would Christ allow it?
You shall not murder. Duet 5 v17
Why do we so passionately (and rightly) defend the unborn but leave the born to die? Do we “get” what it’s like to need a doctor and not be able to afford to go? Do we “get” what it means to wait until it’s too late? Why is it not murderous to deny the treatable access to that which could save their lives?
Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. 1 Peter 2 v13-17
Why do we continually dishonor our President? Why do we find it so hard to call him “President Obama”? Do we not believe he was placed there by God? Can we not disagree respectfully?
Heal the sick… Lk 10 v9
Why do we so complicate things?
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. Mt 25 v31-40
Why is government even in the social services? If government is doing that which we are not – that which Christ very clearly laid on us – is not the mess we gripe about OUR mess?
If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? James 2 v15, 16
Why is our righteous rhetoric so hollow to the brother or sister in need?
Because it is.