September 30 I Sunday
“Jesus told him, ‘Go and do likewise.’” —Luke 10:37
Bill became a Christian while he was attending college. He is kind and esoteric in nature, has wild hair and is a brilliant student. His wardrobe during college consisted of T-shirts with holes in them, jeans and no shoes. Across the street from Bill’s college campus is a well-dressed, conservative church that wants to develop a ministry for the students, but they are unsure of how to go about it.
One day, dressed in his usual attire, sporting his wild hair, Bill decides to go to this church. The service has already begun, so he starts down the aisle, looking for a seat, but the church is full. No one shifts over to make room for him, and his presence is making the congregation feel a bit uncomfortable. Bill gets closer to the front and when he realizes there are no seats available, he squats down on the carpet. Although perfectly acceptable behaviour at a college fellowship, it was a shocking first for this church.
The tension is already thick in the air when the minister notices a deacon at the back of the church slowly making his way towards Bill. The deacon is in his eighties; silver hair, three-piece suit, courtly, dignified and a godly man. He walks cautiously with his cane and as he makes his way to this young man, people are thinking they cannot blame the deacon for what he is about to do. How can one expect a man of his age and background to understand a wild-looking college kid plopped on the floor? It takes some time for the deacon to reach Bill, and except for the clicking of his cane, the church has gone silent. The minister has stopped talking. All eyes are on the deacon.
When the deacon reaches Bill, he drops his cane to the floor and with great difficultly, lowers himself, sits down beside Bill and worships with him so he does not feel alone. Everyone, choked with emotion, listens to the minister as he gains control and says, “What I am going to preach today you will never remember, but what you have just seen you will never forget.”
This is a story I received by email. Where many would have unfairly judged Bill, the deacon’s act reflects the love and compassion Jesus showed to outcasts and sinners. His words at the end of the parable of the Good Samaritan, “Go and do likewise,” are fitting here too. As new creations indwelt by Christ, may we be awakened to the love of God within us so we can do the same.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for the everyday examples of people who let love overrule hate and prejudice, and that You are at work to produce this same love within me. In Your holy name.