But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"
In his poem, Mending Wall, Robert Frost recounts working with his neighbor to repair the stone wall between their properties. He wonders why they are exerting this effort when "He (the neighbor) is all pine and I am apple-orchard" and neither can possibly bother the other. When Frost asks his neighbor about it, the man states flatly and firmly: "Good fences make good neighbors." The poet, however, is not convinced and muses privately: "Before I built a wall I'd ask to know what I was walling in or walling out, and to whom I was like to give offence."
Human history is strewn with myriad walls erected by one culture or group against the "outsiders", those who are strange, different, deemed inferior or undesirable. One of these prevalent in Jesus' time was raised and maintained vigilantly between the Jews and the Samaritans. Religious leaders of both groups encouraged complete isolation from one another and fostered a mutual animosity. Imagine, then, the shock and disbelief of Jesus' listeners when He told the parable of the Good Samaritan. Talk about tearing down their walls and turning their world on its head! Jesus knew, and wants us to know, that good fences do not good neighbors make.
"Something there is that doesn't love a wall, that wants it down." With all due respect, Mr. Frost, it is someone. His name is Jesus.
Psalms 105:1-22 or 105:23-45
Ezekiel 18:1-4, 19-32
Thursday, June 9, 2011
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