In the gospel of Luke a lawyer comes and asks Jesus how to get eternal life. Jesus asks him in return how do you read the law?
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbour as yourself.’ ” Jesus agreed that this was the right answer.
The lawyer then asked: “who is my neighbour?”
The story is then told of the good Samaritan. A Jewish man on a journey who had been beaten and robbed. His fellow Jews passed him by, though they were the religious, political leaders of Israel.
Then a Samaritan passed by and took pity on him despite the fact they were on opposite divides, he took and cleaned the man up, bound his wounds and then took him to an inn where he could heal. He also offered the inn-keeper money.
Jesus asked: “who is this man’s neighbour?” I would hope that we all realize that the ethnic, political and social-economic barriers were put aside and the was the neighbour is the one who helped.
I have been in Texas the past couple of weeks once again speaking and sharing about the ministry I do in Brechin and my love for our community, I have been asked over and over about the recent Referendum and what I think about it all. It has been interesting to hear the comments from Texans on the issue and I have tried to explain a bit of both sides and digest the whys of the result.
But I am bothered greatly that somehow in all this there has been in the fight for making Scotland a fairer more open and accepting society, a place that all are respected for their humanity.
This is a value of the Christian faith, that we are image bearers of our Creator and therefore worthy of value and dignity as such.
Yet despite that desire, and as I saw it in my friends on both sides of the issue, whether for Yes or No, wanting what was best as they saw it for Scotland and even how that would play out in our own local community.
We seemed to want the same things, but had a different idea on how that was to come about.
Sadly with the votes cast, the ballots counted and the final result in... the discussion of values went from challenging to, from s what I have seen, an ugly place that distresses my heart.
We have forgotten our God too long ago and we are currently forgetting who our neighbours are. I am thankful it has not from what I have heard so far become a physical thing in Brechin. But I hear of friends not talking, un-friending each other, saying hateful things.
This is not the way I had hoped my neighbours would treat each other. I pray that as the emotions wind down that sense will prevail and that we can once again be neighbours as we should do.
Missing home and my neighbours, Rev. Jon Bergen.