Thursday, 15 July 2010

Who is my neighbour?

Last week saw the fifth anniversary of the 7/7 bombings in London and the release of the film 'London River', a film which tells the story of two very different parents who are both searching for their children in the aftermath of the bombings. Elisabeth (Brenda Blethyn) is from Guernsey and Ousmane (Sotigui Kouyate) comes from West Africa. The films shows Elisabeth's journey from initially refusing Ousmane's help (refusing even to shake his hand), until both she and Ousmane overcome the barriers between them and find common ground - a shared humanity.

And this acceptance of help offered by a person from a very different background of culture, religion and language emphasised one aspect of our thinking at last Sunday's 'All Together Church' service. Jesus' response to the question, "And just how would you define 'neighbour'?" was to tell one of the most familiar stories ever recorded - the parable of the Good Samaritan. The response of the Samaritan to the injured Jewish man illustrated Jesus' understanding of 'neighbour' - our neighbour is anyone in need and God's love for his world is to be reflected in our love and care for everyone. It's not so much, 'who is my neighbour?' but, rather, 'do I behave as a neighbour?'

However, being a neighbour also means accepting help, even if the help comes, as the parable shows, from an unwanted or even disliked source. Allowing our prejudices, pride and self-sufficiency to be challenged by others will cause us to grow and mature so that help can be accepted from even the most unlikely of sources.

Our retelling of the parable was brought to life by the Brownies carrying out some very impressive first aid on Doug, our hapless 'victim'. A very big thank you to all involved.