Friday, July 13, 2007

Pentecost +7 Sunday – C4

Pentecost +7 Sunday – C4

Years C
Luke 10:25-37

Most test questions have a built-in expected answer. Usually test questions are hypothetical in nature, looking to bolster one theory or another.

When we have our eye on a larger picture it becomes possible to respond to test questions in a manner that shifts the vision of the asker of test questions and allows a different response to rise out of their imagination, heretofore blocked because of the power of the question they asked. Test questions are also questions of limits that allow us to avoid stretching our mercy or implementing love steadfastly.

When finally faced with a storied response it becomes evident that the initial question wasn't sharp enough to lead us past today, only strong enough to perpetuate yesterday.

When, in this case, the tester began looking for a limit to mercy, they found they needed to ask a different question: "Who is not my neighbor."

When test questions are paired with their obverse they are able to turn and face a situation with hope of healing partiality and restoring mercy to its crucial position in logic.

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A word history for neighbor from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition.

Loving one's neighbor as oneself would be much easier, or perhaps much more difficult, if the word neighbor had kept to its etymological meaning. The source of our word, the assumed West Germanic form *nahgabur, was a compound of the words *nehwiz, “near,” and *braum, “dweller, especially a farmer.” A neighbor, then, was a near dweller. Neahgebur, the Old English descendant of this West Germanic word, and its descendant in Middle English, neighebor, and our Modern English neighbor, have all retained the literal notion, even though one can now have many neighbors whom one does not know, a situation that would have been highly unlikely in earlier times. The extension of this word to mean “fellow” is probably attributable to the Christian concern with the treatment of one's fellow humans, as in the passage in Matthew 19:19 that urges love of one's neighbor.

plumblines aplenty
pointing toward gravity's center
like a porcupine pincushion
none parallel to the next
only aligned
with its direct opposite

in our local neighbor
we find subtle differences
not lined up
with our own field's pull
neighbor is always
about differences

we find different neighbors
within ourselves
our religious persona
turns priestly
denying wounds

our doctrinal plumblines
claim uniqueness
wounding others
on top of insult
distancing ourselves
from dwellers near

our samaritan neighbor
our set-upon neighbor
offer opportunities
to replumb
from the other side
aligned and in tune

neighbors all
within my personal habitat
with butterfly wings
affecting climates
inside and out
of understanding

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