‘Again, looking from the opposite direction, to love our neighbour is to love the person who can save our lives. The catch, of course, is that we never know quite who that person is! It is likely to be the most improbable person around so our openness to neighbourliness has to be all encompassing.'
I found this a challenging approach to the question because it impacts on not only our individual relationships and situations but in a wider sense the church and even wider to global relationships.
The dependency on relationships is of course at the heart of our faith. The Trinitarian relationship between God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit is the basis for all relation ships each 'person' working in harmony with each other.
In our world of today, where personal relationships are often under stress, where there are tensions and disagreements in church life and where there are devastating consequences in the wake of global conflict, we should perhaps ask ourselves again 'who is my neighbour?'
As we approach the time of remembrance it seems a God given opportunity to love the stranger as our neighbour and the one who could save our lives.
loving the stranger by Rev Dilys
The other day I was reading the transcript of a lecture given by the former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams. Now, before you turn the page thinking that this will be far too intellectual, let me re-assure you that for once I was impressed by the simplicity of his message.
I, too, have usually found Rowan's writings to be somewhat impenetrable and dense, mainly because of his academic brilliance which is far beyond most of us. He has a brilliant mind and is deeply spiritual but, with a little perseverance on our part, he can be a wonderful exponent of our faith and belief.
Who is my neighbour?
The lecture was dealing with the answer to the question 'who is my neighbour' which the lawyer in the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29) posed to Jesus. Why didn't Jesus simply say 'everyone' and leave it at that?
Here is what Rowan has to say: 'The story is not just about whom we are supposed to love, but (more importantly) how we become lovable. It is a story about how we recognise our lives as being bound up with the actions and being of a stranger. It operates at several levels. Jesus turns the question back to us. A neighbour is not some body sitting over there waiting for me to be good to him or her. The neighbour is (actually) me, already involved with the life of another; not passive but active. It is for us to define ourselves as neighbours by our actions, ie someone who offers life to others. It's a basic choice which turns our lives into life- giving realities.