Look Again: Opened Door April 1, 2014
Have you ever traveled in a foreign country without an interpreter and without the blessing of knowing the language and the customs? If you have, you know how difficult, even bordering on impossible, such a trip is. If you haven’t, trust me, meeting someone who can speak your language and is filled with compassion is a godsend. I think I shall capitalize the word GODSEND.
With this in mind, reread the parable of the Samaritan in Luke, chapter 10. Samaritans and Israelites didn’t mix. They were prejudiced against each other even though they came from the same Semitic root. Each confessed God, though they lived that confession differently. Each group was an enclave of like-minded people. One, the Israelites lived according to Torah and the other, the Samaritans, according to the need as they perceived it. The key here is “and the Samaritan was moved by compassion” vs. 33.
In Revelation 3:20 the Holy Spirit’s message to the believers is, “Behold I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me.” This, dear friends, is the dynamic of cross-cultural relationships. It is only in the presence of the Living God that we can live together in difference and peace. Who can define the ‘right way’ apart from the Creator of all of us?
The Kingdom of God on earth is and enclave of unlike-minded people (cross cultural) who are willing to love unconditionally until peace comes among them. The Samaritan story is a test for the religious within us. In this case, my definition of religious means the part of us that is unwilling to learn something new. I am sure if we study this parable closely we can see ourselves in some part of each one of the characters. The question then becomes what is the desire of our hearts? Are we willing to be moved off of our inflexible thought process enough to connect with something greater, such as the true needs of others? If so, we are answering the knock on our door of the Lord himself. For he said, “For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink: I was a stranger and you invited Me in; naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.” (Rev. 25:35 & :36)
Cross-cultural relationship is not about changing another’s life to be like yours, but about entering their OPENED DOOR to give to the true need of the stranger, the one who is different. We make our choice and, giving the opportunity to choose this way to others, build peaceful community. It is an ACTION of intercession, an opportunity to give another a chance to live freely. This is the way of a Samaritan.
As always, blessings along the road,