I suspect you have heard the story of the Good Samaritan, probably at school.
Sometimes ‘being’ the Samaritan feels difficult because there is often just so much need about us. Sometimes we find folks categorize those we should help; only people like us — this is what the man who asked Jesus ‘who is my neighbour’ was seeking to do.
Jesus’ teaching is both simple and profound. There is only one category of concern, another human being in need. Jesus is not concerned with who we might call ’neighbour’ but whether we are ‘being’ a neighbour. In telling the story Jesus challenges us to be moved by the need of others and to be prepared to do what we can, with what we have to hand, in who we are.
If the pandemic revealed anything in this country it was the huge compassion that together, and as individuals, we are able to show and exercise when faced with the needs of folks in difficulty. If we needed this to be confirmed then the national response to the huge needs of the people of Ukraine, suddenly homeless through the mindless violence of others, revealed all.
My hope is that together we will continue to make compassion for fellow human beings an everyday priority in both society and our personal life. Autumn will bring hardship to many people this year as fuel bill increases and the general increase in the cost of living come home to roost. Together, we can meet these foes head on. Harvest festivals will take place in all 3 churches settings and at Ilchester school and all will collect for the work of the local food bank. Look out for when these are taking place in September and October and, as you find you are able to do, please be ‘good neighbours’ to folks in need, drop tins and packets off in the church porches (all in good use by date). Also, let’s keep an eye out this autumn for our elderly neighbours, are they warm enough, do they need a hot meal or cup of tea from someone? Might that someone be you?