Jesus answered by telling a story. “There was once a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. On the way he was attacked by robbers. They took his clothes, beat him up, and went off leaving him half-dead. Luckily, a priest was on his way down the same road, but when he saw him he angled across to the other side. Then a Levite religious man showed up; he also avoided the injured man. A Samaritan traveling the road came on him. When he saw the man’s condition, his heart went out to him. He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds. Then he lifted him onto his donkey, led him to an inn, and made him comfortable. In the morning he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take good care of him. If it costs any more, put it on my bill—I’ll pay you on my way back.’ “What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?” “The one who treated him kindly,” the religion scholar responded. Jesus said, “Go and do the same.” Luke 10:30-37 (The Message)
I couldn’t go to work today. I woke up with nausea that rolled through me and threatened to expel what little was in my stomach if I made the slightest move. I haven’t felt that sick since the last time I went to Guatemala. Today was the worst possible day to miss work. With a big event taking place next week, a monthly meeting that I don’t like to skip, and an employee out on vacation, I really needed to be in the office. But, I could not get out of bed much less drive. I went over in my mind everything I ate yesterday. Could it be food poisoning? I think it is some kind of bug because I also felt chilled. I considered morning sickness. At least I know for sure that was not the cause. Thank God. So, I emailed in sick and turned back over in bed sleeping another four hours. When the dogs interrupted my rest with persistent barking, I had to get up and try to eat something. So far, so good though I broke my resolves not to eat anything with gluten or sugar in it. What kind of comfort food can you have for nausea other than toast and soda? Now, though I have only been up for an hour, I am considering going back to bed. Though the laundry is piling up and I have a quilt ready to bind upstairs, I can’t stomach the thought of working. I wish there was a simple solution to the nausea I feel when I watch the news or read people’s posts on social media. When did our world get so full of hatred? I suppose it has always been there but I was too naïve to see it. Just read the Bible and you know that our human nature, since time began, has been to kill and humiliate each other. Still, it fills me with a sickness that a can of Sprite can’t cure and makes me want to crawl under the covers and put a pillow over my head. It is not just that everyone has their own opinion, it is the depth of their indignation if anyone disagrees with that opinion that is so upsetting. We have become a society that refuses to do anything but talk. We will not rest until we have beaten the other person over the head with our arguments until they submit willingly or unwillingly to our way. That is what makes me think it is not really about philosophical differences but about power. It is more about having our own way than it is about respecting my neighbor. I can only imagine Jesus shaking his head in dismay. “Didn’t you listen? Don’t you understand?” On the side of my Sprite can is the quote, “The World is Yours.” No, it is not mine, it is God’s. And we had better start living that way, because the good news is that God wins in the end.