A man once asked Jesus who his neighbor was, and Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan, the man who stopped and helped a stranger in need. Today I am still asking who my neighbor is, although I know the answer, because I don’t like the answer and I am trying to get out of loving particular neighbors.
I’ve been trying to get out of loving Syrian refugees, not because I don’t want them here, I think they should be here but sometimes I let some of the fear and the hype get to me. I’ve tried staying silent rather than talking about the situation because I “didn’t want to get involved” but I’m sure there were many people who didn’t want to get involved when pregnant Mary was looking for a place to stay and birth Jesus.
I am supposed to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with my God. I’m supposed to love my neighbor as myself. If I were a refugee, I’d want doors open to me and my children. Doing justice means not remaining silent. Loving mercy means seeing these people as human too and being compassionate to their predicament. Walking humbly with God means trusting God with this mess. Loving my neighbor as myself means that I have to care.
And on Sunday I’ll kneel and confess that I have not loved my neighbor as myself, I’ll strive to do better because that’s what repentance is. On Sunday I’ll be getting confirmed, which means a renewal of the baptismal covenant, and when the Bishop asks: “Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?” I’m going to reply with: “I will, with God’s help.” Then he’s going to ask me: “Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of people, and respect the dignity of every human being?” And again I will reply: “I will, with God’s help. (The Book of Common Prayer, p. 417).
I’m supporting the refugees because I believe it’s the right thing to do, it’s loving my neighbor as myself, and treating others as I would like to be treated. That’s what I’m called to do as a Christian, and I will, with God’s help.