3 John 13-15

Made in God’s image, we celebrate the sanctity of human life.


Bulletin for: 
Sunday, January 22, 2017
Order of worship: 
Pastor to People: 

The Samaritan went to him and bound up his wounds (Luke 10:34).

You know Jesus’ famous story of the Good Samaritan. A Samaritan, the least likely of people because an outcast, helped a dying man in need.

The story was prompted by the question, “who is my neighbor?” Words like “neighbor” matter.  Definitions count for something. Terminology arranges the stage. Take the issue of abortion in the US. Since 1973, the pro-life/pro-choice debate has repeatedly played off terminology.  Is that shape on the ultra-sound an unborn child?  A person?  Or is it just some tissue? Is the process that might be applied a medical intervention? Termination of pregnancy?  Harvesting? Murder?

Terminology matters. It arranges the stage for debate. And it is exactly at this point where the Parable of the Good Samaritan applies. It provides a set of terms that enrich thinking about the pro-life debate.  Simply put, “Who is my neighbor?”  Or, more pointedly, “Is that shape on the ultra-sound my neighbor?”  Exactly the question we should ask.  And by way of answer, YES.  It is your neighbor and mine.  In fact, the shape on an ultra-sound is your and my most defenseless and vulnerable neighbor.

Do you see how the terminology arranges the stage for the debate? Neighbor terminology reminds us of a fundamental Christian choice: shall I choose to love that specific neighbor?  Shall I do for my unborn neighbor what I would have wanted done for me? Searching questions.  And in relation to the parable, they remind us of the inconvenience involved in loving one’s neighbor.  In the parable, all who passed by presumably had reasons for ignoring the half-dead man.  “I’m just way too busy right now.” “What a mess.  There’s blood everywhere.  I can’t help in these clothes.”  “Sorry.  Poorly timed.  Tomorrow, yes; today, no.”

Loving neighbors is inconvenient.  But that is exactly the calling we have in Christ, to love our neighbor as ourselves, and to love the way Christ loved us.  With that in mind, on this anniversary weekend of Roe v. Wade, may we pray, give, and act as those committed to all our neighbors, including the unborn.  For some practical ideas, contact Choice One Pregnancy Center in Lawrence (609-989-1023).