The word has as broad a definition as we have insight, engagement and compassion to give it. And I was in Houston when Earl came. We're going to find a man on a familiar journey and learn some profound truth from our blessed Lord, Luke chapter 10. The lawyer is offering an established first-century Jewish understanding of the essence of the law of Moses. They were obligated to help because of the nature of their offices. No one is the neighbor. Which now of all three, [do] you think, was neighbor to she who fell attacked by the rapist?”. Perhaps Jesus should come back to earth and give us a blasting! Love is more important than our gun rights, our national security, our middle class jobs, our taxes, our whatever. Marilynne Robinson preached this sermon at the Congregational United Church of Christ of Iowa City, 14 July 2013. The idea of a huge heavenly banquet is not only a biblical image of the afterlife, but essential to my understanding of a good God. The setting for the teaching or this parable began with a question, the kind of question asked by those who don't want an answer. Mr. Rogers once said that his mother told him that when something scary happens, he should look for the helpers, for there are always people who help. The answer is NO-it means compassion to the extent that we roll up our sleeves, take off our coats, get dirty and try to make a difference ourselves. I am who I am today because God graciously saved me from myself. We know God’s Law-love God and our neighbor. We have an obligation to try to be transparent to those who are having difficulty understanding or accepting us. God will, I’m pretty sure, sit me right next to John Piper. If so, you may remember the episode that aired at the end of the 1998 TV season. It was also a way to force people to take a closer look at themselves and their received traditions. He taught that a person should be a neighbor to anyone he meets who is in need. It received a lot of flak for being disappointing. Now I’ve known some predestinarian Methodists, but I prefer to call them “Baptists who keep showing up to the wrong church on Sundays.” So you know already that John Piper and I see God and Christianity quite differently. Love is a commitment that endures. Not only does he spend a good deal of time teaching and preaching that women are to be subordinate to men in the home, and not preach or teach in the church, but he thinks that women should submit to men in society, too. Notice that here the lawyer cites the law. It’s easy to use the story of the Good Samaritan as a weapon to beat others over the head. I was naked and you clothed me.” To the Samaritan he would say, “I was beaten and robbed and left lying by the road, and you bound my wounds and cared for me, bearing every expense of time and effort and money, expecting nothing in return.” This parable in Matthew is also addressed to the question put by the lawyer in the text we have read today, what one must do to inherit eternal life, and there is absolutely nothing sectarian in the answer it gives. This is one of the most familiar stories in the Bible. The Samaritan identified with the needs of the stranger and had compassion for him. The spirit of Christ dwells in him, and Christ’s image is renewed in his soul. • Thy homeless neighbor To be a neighbor, we must hurt with the hurting, and feel the outrage of the injustices committed against them deep in our souls. We conclude today with Vision Sunday, May 5. And as it happened he fell among some thieves who beat him terribly, then left him wounded and bleeding along the highway. Its central point is precious and also clear, that we are to help where help is needed, putting aside every distinction and consideration that might give us an excuse to pass by on the other side. And Jesus answering said. • Thy Muslim neighbor Lord, have mercy. I’ve often said that Methodists can believe almost anything and still qualify as Methodists with one exception: you can’t believe in predestination. I don’t personally know him, but he’s my theological nemesis, nonetheless.