A Prayer from the Roadside


based on Luke 10:25-37

Faithful God, who is my neighbor?

I hope and pray that the answer takes my personal comfort into account. The ones who look, act, think, believe, and love just like me are easy to befriend. They are already on my pre-approved list of people to whom I’d offer support with little hesitancy.

But I don’t know if I could abide an answer that diverges much from that. I have too many ideas about what Those Others are like, and they’re all very scary. My favorite TV channels and print media affirm what I already think about them, and I’d much rather move to the other side of the road than offer assistance, much less receive help from them.

And yet your creation doesn’t function as neatly as the borders I’ve set up in my mind, despite my using you to justify raising them. And so whenever a situation threatens all my neat boxes, you present to me a choice whether to allow the need to matter more than social custom; whether to reach out beyond my privileged wall or to prioritize my own safety behind it.

O God, your answer to the question “Who is my neighbor?” promises to be bigger than my prejudices. Grant me courage to not only hear it, but to respond as you would truly have a disciple do. Amen.

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