Saturday, December 23, 2006

Caring means Loving our Neighbour

This picture was painted by my mother especially for the blog


I’m still talking about the 6 pillars of Character – Remember what they are? That’s TeRRiFiCC!! Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship.

In my last blog, I was talking about Caring, and I pointed to a few examples of Caring that I found in the Old Testament. I mentioned I would write about the “Good Samaritan” in my next blog.

1 John 3:16-18 says

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

Read the parable as Jesus told it in Luke 10:25 – 37. Instead of merely recounting the story, I hope you will allow me a little artistic licence and since it is Christmas time, I thought it would be fun to relate the story Pantomime style. This panto is set in South Africa, in 2006. (Actually, it’s more of skit than a full on Panto!)

The Cast

The Narrator: Jesus himself.

A Bible school student: Young man, early 20’s, rides a mountain bike, carries a Bible in a Bible bag, complete with notebook, and pen.

The traveler: Ordinary South African, middle-class, drives a nice car, but not too flashy.

Hijackers: need I say more?

Tele-evangelist: Flash looking, tailored suit, fancy hair-style. Chauffer driven Merc (latest model.) Speaks with an affected American Drawl.

Tele-evangelist’s chauffeur: Wears a chauffeur uniform.

Deacon Fred: Middle aged, conservative dress (smart), short back and sides haircut. Drives a Ford pick-up. His accent suggests he was educated at a private Boys school in Kwazulu-Natal.

Sam: Rather eccentric, a bit hippie, drives a multi-coloured VW-Beetle. Wears a bandana round his bald head. Accent and language is hip and happening. “Yeah dude!, W’sup?”

NB: All characters (except Jesus) are fictional and any similarity between them and people in real life is entirely, co-incidental.

Note all vehicles, except the student’s bike are stage set facades, only the side of the vehicle.

The Story

Curtains open and the Narrator is walking down a road. The Bible school student recognizes the Narrator as one of his/her lecturers. He catches up and stops to talk to him.

Bible Student (BS): Good morning sir! Having a nice day?

Narrator: Yes, actually thought I’d take advantage of the lovely weather to get some exercise, and you, where are you off to today?

BS: Oh, just taking a ride down to the local shop, thought I might see if there’s anyone I can persuade to come to church tomorrow. Tell me sir, what would you say, if someone asked: “How can I inherit eternal life?”

Narrator: Well, what would you say to them?

BS: Well in Deuteronomy 6 verse 5 it says “Love the Lord your heart and all your soul and all your strength”

Narrator: Mmmm

BS: And Leviticus 19 verse 18b says: Love your neighbour as yourself.

Narrator: So, what’s the problem, if you can do that, you will be alright.

BS: Yes, well, I suppose so, but suppose they ask “Who is my neighbour?” What do I say then?

Narrator: Let me tell you a story…..

Narrator and BS move to the side. As the Narrator speaks, the traveler comes on stage in his Peugeot Station Wagon. He’s traveling alone.

Narrator: A young businessman was driving down to Durban, from Jo’burg. He was going through Van Reenen’s Pass, when he pulled into a lay-by to stretch his legs. No sooner had he pulled over, [Enter hijackers – they act out the attack as it is being told] when a whole lot of hijackers jumped out of the bush, and knocked him down. They punched and kicked him, and he was in a bad way. They hit him so hard on the head that his ears were ringing. He felt like his whole body was on fire. They frisked him and relieved him of his wallet and his cell-phone. They then jumped into his car, and drove away at top speed down the highway. [exit hijackers and traveler’s car] The poor man just lay there, hoping that someone might come past and notice him.

BS: What happened next? Did the guy die?

Narrator: No, but he needed medical attention. A few minutes after the attack, a big chauffeur driven Mercedes drove past. In the back, rode a well known tele-evangelist, The Reverend Matt Bishop.

Chauffeur and Tele-Evangelist come on stage in a Merc. Emblazoned on the side of the car are the words “BISHOP MINISTRIES INTERNATIONAL”

Chauffeur: Hey, did you see that man lying on the ground? It looks like he’s been attacked. Do you think we should stop and help him?

Tele-Evangelist: Are you mad, man? We have a HEALING SHOW, I mean service tonight at 6 p.m. in Durban and we need to get to my hotel room by 3:30 p.m. so that I can get in my beauty sleep, before I start getting ready. We haven’t got time to stop and mess around.

Narrator: So they carried on their merry way, without a second thought for the poor man. A short time later, Deacon Fred came along the road. He was heading up to Jo’burg. He saw, our traveler lying on the ground and writhing in pain.

Deacon Fred: (to himself but out loud) That’s truly awful! The crime in this country is out of control. That poor fellow’s probably lost everything he has. Hope, he’s insured. The government really should do something about all this crime. I’d love to be able to help him, but you can never be too careful. After all, it may be a trap! As soon as I stop, they will jump out and steal my car. Still, I suppose I should pray for him…

BS: What did he pray?

Narrator: I don’t know, I don’t think God heard him.

BS: Well, did the guy just die there?

Narrator: No, not long after Deacon Fred, Sam drove past in his VW Beetle.

Sam comes on stage in the multi-coloured VW beetle and almost immediately notices the traveler in the lay-by. He pulls over.

Sam: Hey dude, what happened to you, man? You look pretty bad, man. Ag Shame. What can I do? Hey Dude, all this blood you’re losing, we need to get to a doc, like yesterday man. Hijacked hey? Poor guy. Hey, I’d give you tea or something, but you shouldn’t drink anything, in case you need an operation and they need to give you an anesthetic. Got this first aid kit in my car, carry it just in case. [takes out first aid kit, puts on Rubber gloves, removes bandages, ointment, etc.] Chill dude, it’s okay. Don’t thank me, it’s the least I could have done. Let me just get some ointment on this cut here, and then I will bandage it up. My bandages aren’t much, but they’re only temporary. The hospital will do a much better job. Now let’s see. How should we do this? Wait! I can’t move you, in case you’ve broken your back, or something. [Pause – puts ear near the traveler] What? You think your back’s ok. Okay listen, I’ll just get Herbie over here then, and you can lie down on the back seat while I take you to the nearest hospital. Sam, gets in “Herbie” and drives closer to the traveler. Sam gently helps Traveler to his feet and moves. Easy does it now! He helps him “get in” and then drives off stage.

Narrator: Later at the hospital, Sam made sure that the traveler was settled in, and had been seen by a doctor. He paid a deposit to cover the man’s hospitalization, and left his name and address, so that the hospital could forward the full account to him.

The Narrator: Well, who was a neighbour to that traveller?

BS: It the guy who stopped and helped him.

The Narrator: Yes, now you see, we need to be like him. He may not fit your mould of the “ideal Christian,” but he showed his love in practical ways. The best preaching is often done without words!

In the parable, as Jesus told it, the supposed heroes, the priest and the Levite, actually turn out to be the villains. The Samaritan, who was despised, emerged as the real hero of the story.

The message of the parable is clear: Your neighbour is everyone and anyone you come into contact with, regardless of race, religion or any other perceived difference. From the passage in 1 John quoted at the beginning, and many more beside, we learn that loving our neighbour means much more than merely mouthing the words, it must come from the heart, and it must be practical. It means being compassionate to everyone. It means we must care.

I’d like to say thanks to Mum for reading through umpteen drafts and giving her input especially in regard to correct English. Thanks too, to my nephew, and gave me a few pointers in writing this script. You input is valued. Thanks to you readers, and those who give me feedback. Now I wrote this skit just as kind of different way to tell the story, but if you want to use it, feel free. (I’d appreciate being told about it.)

In next blog, (the last on this topic) I will look at some of the excuses people make to justify their own failure to care.

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