Jesus would have known the demands and requirements of the day. The lawyer to whom he was telling the story might also have been sympathetic to the cause of the Priest and the Levite. And, he would most likely have been shocked that the hero of the story was the Samaritan.
But, the lawyer wanted to justify himself and asked the question, “Who is my neighbor?” And, Jesus told him the story which we’ve all heard hundreds of times.
Okay, so no, Mr. Rogers wasn’t a Samaritan in that way. He was, in fact, an ordained Presbyterian minister. But, his ministry was with children and that wasn’t considered a fast-track position. I mean, he didn’t want to be pastor of a premier congregation or had any ambition to rise in the ranks of the hierarchy of the church.
Must be something wrong with that guy, right?
Clearly, there was something wrong with him.
The first year of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, the public broadcasting affiliate in Pittsburgh granted Fred Rogers a shoestring budget.
He asked, “Won’t you be my neighbor?” Every time he got on TV. He sang it, in fact.
In fact, he sang, "Won't you please, won't you please? Please won't you be my neighbor?"
And, as Christians, we are free to be lavish and wasteful in expressing mercy and kindness and generosity.
Our names are already written in heaven.
So, here's your assignment for this week: Take another look around your neighborhood. Around this church. Around the world.
Maybe like this story of the Good Samaritan, you've made some assumptions. Maybe things are not as predictable as you once thought.
Maybe there's more to the story than you know.
What if you and me and Mr. Bobby McGee were like the Good Samaritan and Jesus and had nothing left to lose because we already know that, no matter what others may think of us, we know how the story ends and we know we have life eternal and that our names are written in the heavens?
What if we took that risk today - especially today - when it has been announced that the government will be rounding up some of our neighbors who haven't met a quota or filed the right paper or properly worked the system when the system is broken and stacked against them and all they want is to share in a piece of the dream, not for themselves but for their children and grandchildren?