But the expert, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” . . .
I remember him so well . . . Hi Neighbor! As a child, I loved watching Mr. Rogers everyday. I know that he has been made fun of through the years, but although he died 10 years ago, he is still alive in the hearts of so many adults who grew up with him. Maybe I connected with him because his kindness and humility reminded me so much of my daddy. His friendliness always came through to his audience.
My daddy loves children. Every time there is a child in the room, he makes sure to interact with them in some way. When he meets a child, he always gets on their level – eye to eye. He also smiles a lot and lets them know he is safe. And he has great stories. Most children connect with my daddy quickly. You could say that he interacts with children in a friendly-neighborhood sort of way! 🙂
But not only does he connect with children on a neighborly level, for almost 50 years I’ve watched him relate to all people the same way. I can honestly say that he is the most genuinely friendly person I know and have ever known. He has a heart for people… you can ask almost anyone who has ever met my dad – no matter their race/background/sinfulness/community status – and they would tell you he is their friend.
The friendliness of these two men remind me of the “Good Samaritan” story. When Jesus told the group to love their neighbors, one prideful teacher who was trying to trap Him asked Jesus to explain who that would be. Jesus then told a parable, making the teacher’s enemy the good guy. Ouch! That’s my neighbor?! Someone of that ethnicity? Of that culture? Who looks like that? Who talks like that? Who smells like that? You want me to show them mercy?
The world is desperately longing for neighbors. We have the good news. It’s really good news! It is such good news, I should be pleading with my neighbors – from every tribe and tongue – to please join the neighborhood. In fact, we could say it just like this . . .
It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood. A beautiful day for a neighbor.
Would you be mine? Could you be mine?