Note from Heather: John Lobell asked me to post this reflection for him. He's still getting the hang of blogging! Thanks, John, for being willing to give it a try....
This morning, Heather’s sharing took the form of an interactive discussion with the congregation – a conversation that began with this morning’s reading from Luke 10:29-37, the story of the Good Samaritan. We first established that the obvious meaning of the parable is that we should treat everyone as our neighbor and serve them - give them what they need from what we have to give - and this meaning is true and precious.
Heather then suggested another reading as she reminded us of the multi-layered context for this story. In the immediately preceding passage Luke 10:25-28, Jesus confirms the lawyer’s answer to the lawyer’s question about how to inherit eternal life, i.e. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind. and your neighbor as yourself.” Then she invited us back to the next previous reading, in which the seventy-two apostles (just returned to Jesus from the mission he’d sent them on, with his repeated instruction/command to tell people, “The Kingdom of God has come close to you.”) and they are in a jubilant mood, having learned that what they received from their labors on mission was more than what they gave.
What I drew from today’s sharing was the glorious truth that I’ve been experiencing with ever more power recently – namely, the Kingdom of God is among us here and now. Learning to live in the always-present Kingdom of God is the simultaneous learning that giving and receiving (although formal opposites) are really two aspects of one act; they are complementary, like the two sides of one coin. You can’t have only one side of a complementary; they necessarily go together.
Hallelujah! Life is getting simpler as well as richer.