Keith Harper

“A friend in need is a friend indeed!”

My life’s become a little more complicated recently. Our car is still off the road following an accident in the snow and unavailability of parts. Generous neighbours in the congregation have kept me mobile. Despite conflicting priorities they have not passed by on the other side as the religious men in today’s parable of the Good Samaritan.

Wherever you live, there are people in need nearby. However, Jesus encourages us also to look beyond our immediate neighbours and to see that our neighbour can be anyone, anywhere, of any creed or social background.

We celebrate the baptism of Sebastian this morning and this can prompt us to consider how we model the teaching of the Good Samaritan. In their playgrounds and classrooms children will encounter those who are different to themselves or, worse, shunned or bullied by their peers. Do we model to children we know or care for, acceptance of the differences in others as well as reaching out in friendship to those in need?

Loving our ‘neighbours’ in our families, at school, at church, at work, in the local or the global community can be costly in terms of time, money or emotional commitment. It challenges our priorities, but Jesus calls us to do it. It can be transformative.

Going deeper, let us remind ourselves that our trust in God is one that is forged not through simple living, but through lives forged in the complexities of life and faith.