At the all age service in our church there was a lot of fun and a few laughs as the children were dressed up to act out the story of the Good Samaritan. The robbers leapt upon the traveller with great gusto and the Good Samaritan (little girl with a toy donkey head mounted on a pole) galloped at great speed up the aisle. She mimed pouring oil all over his body and then took him to the inn keeper to be looked after.
Then we sang a song ‘When I needed a neighbor were you there, were you there? When I needed a neighbor were you there? And the creed and the colour and the name won`t matter, Were you there?’ (Sydney Bertram Carter)
It was getting a bit more serious now. But when we finally watched a DVD of children in need receiving Christmas shoe boxes full of gifts it moved us all to tears. These children, living in Somali, were dancing and singing with excitement, laughter and joy as their faces lit up with smiles. The gifts were simple enough, a pretty scarf, a party blower, a soft toy, a book, a little toy car. Children in our own country will receive much more expensive and sophisticated toys, probably electronic goods.
Christians had had compassion on children who had endured suffering, hardship and grief, losing the innocence of childhood. They just wanted to give some moments of childhood back to them again to demonstrate how God the Father cares. So often we want to do things like this but don’t know where to start.
We are to love God and love our neighbour as ourselves. These are the two great commandments. The lawyer questioned Jesus by asking ‘who is my neighbour?’ (Luke 10:29). But he was asking the wrong question. He should have asked how he could be a loving neighbour.
Jesus told a story that was shocking in its challenge to all. It would have been unthinkable for a Samaritan to help a Jew, and yet this Samaritan was going the extra mile to show unconditional love and compassion. All this to a person he would not normally have had any relationship with.
It’s like that in the healing ministry as we open our doors to those in need. Sometimes we pray for Jesus to restore the lost innocence of childhood which was stolen away and for the missing joy and laughter to be replaced.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we ask that you would use us in reaching out to the hurting and the wounded in the name of Your Son Jesus. Amen.
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