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Thursday, July 11, 2019

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The individual asks Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" His question is one of moral responsibility. Regardless of politics or partisanship, it would be a great failure not to connect this well-loved story with the current situation of migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers on our southern border. The reading challenges us to ask who are these human beings, these women, men, and children. What is their worth to us, to God? The danger of these well-loved stories of scripture is that they can become too well-worn. They can lose their teeth by familiarity and our self-justification. We blunt the law in this text by looking away from the mirror and turning a blind eye to our neighbors' needs. Yet Jesus' simple question and answer persist: Who is our neighbor? As followers of Jesus, given grace freely, not as a transaction but without merit, how are we to respond? The question is asked; we are called to live our answer.

God of all nations, our anxieties, fears, and brokenness challenge us to see you in our neighbors. Strengthen our faith to help us respond to those in need, to see the humanity in all people, and to ask the question of who is our neighbor again and again. In your steadfast love. Amen.

Erik K.J. Gronberg, '05
Bishop, Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Synod, ELCA

Luke 10:25-37 (NRSV)

25 Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he said, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
26 He said to him, "What is written in the law? What do you read there?"
27 He answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself."
28 And he said to him, "You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live."
29 But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"
30 Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead.
31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
33 But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity.
34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
35 The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, "Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.'
36 Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?"
37 He said, "The one who showed him mercy." Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."

This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.