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June 21, 2020 Sermon

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  • All Lives Matter
    • We have been caught for a few years in a cultural debate about how lives matter.
    • It’s almost like a cycle. After a tragedy like what happened to Beyonna Taylor or George Floyd, a group of people will begin to shout “Black Lives Matter,” and then give it a couple weeks, and someone else will yell just as loud “All Lives Matter.” Usually, the argument goes that not just black lives, but all lives matter, so why should we preference some over others?
    • And, yes, scripture says gives some clear indication that All Lives Matter. God created all of us as humanity, good and very good. That should be the end of it. End of sermon.
    • That would be the end of it if the passage today was just simply Luke 10:25-28. And wouldn’t it have been great for the lawyer, too, if that was it?
      • Love God, treat your neighbor as yourself. Got it.
      • We can all think of ways that could happen.
      • In spite at times of our best efforts, we somehow put ourselves still ahead of our neighbors in our efforts to care. Treating our neighbor as ourselves means we’re taking care of ourselves first, right?
      • So, perhaps, we need to shout “All Lives Matter” as white folks so that we’re heard clearly that yes, we matter too. And then, maybe we can care about black lives.
    • But that wasn’t it. The lawyer needed to be right - to justify himself. This really does start reading like an All Lives Matter debate, doesn’t it?
  • So Jesus continues, and as Francois Bovon, the writer of one of my favorite commentaries on Luke says, “Everything that needs to be said has been said, but everything that needs to be done remains to be done."
    • The priest and the Levite
      • This is the good and the better Hebrew. These are the folks who, if they really believe in this “All Lives Matter,” would be the first ones to stop and care for the man beaten on the side of the road. Theere is enough in the law that would impel them to do something. But they don’t. Who knows why. Too busy, uncomfortable with getting involved, needing to stay on the sidelines. Maybe the idea of helping someone whose life is literally leaving them seems somehow ceremonially unclean, and it might be hard to piously keep up with loving God when you have to get your hands dirty.
      • The lawyer would know this, too. This was someone who would know the Jewish laws better than most.
    • The Samaritan
      • And then the Samaritan comes by. Now, keep in mind Jesus doesn’t use “good” here. The Samaritan, hated by the Jews at the time, isn’t “one of the good ones,” but the Samaritan simply is.
      • And the Samaritan - the one who is considered reprobate and unable to understand the true God of the Hebrew people - makes this man’s life matter.
        • He cleans him. He protects him. He binds him up. He gives him rest on his animal, and gives him safe harbor to recuperate.
        • He also have give two denarii - which would be roughly two days wages - to ensure his recovery, and commits more to ensure his health.
  • The problem with this debate of “All Lives” vs. “Black Lives” is that it lulls those of us who enjoy the benefits of the majority to speak the words of justice without having to do any of the work. We can read the text and feel satisfied that we’ve done the right thing, when we’ve really done little. And when someone is lying on the side of the road, stripped and beaten, those words are the equivalent of moving to the other side of the street.
    • Jesus’ encouragement to “go and do likewise” means, then, that if we really believe All Lives Matter, then let’s act like it.
    • Are we willing to be moved with pity by any and every individual who we have no reason to be in relationship with? Will we bind up their wounds, and do whatever it takes to ensure recovery and recuperation? Are we really willing to love God with all our heart, soul, strength and our neighbor as ourselves as we witness how it’s done?
    • If we will, we can invite release and recovery from the ways that our broken world leaves our neighbors left for dead.
    • At its best, the church can be this place.

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