READ : Acts 1:1-11
You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (v. 8, niv)
Fred and Kelly were dining with an American couple who provided financial support for their ministry in a Muslim country. They were grateful for the opportunity to thank them personally. Early in the evening their host told them they had new neighbors who were Muslim immigrants. Before Fred or Kelly could respond, he went on to say, “We prayed the gays out of that house who were in it before and I guess we can do that with Muslims too.”
Fred and Kelly were too stunned to speak. People who supported evangelism with Muslims in the Middle East wouldn’t take the opportunity to do so right next door. More than that, in contrast to Fred and Kelly’s attitude of love and humble service toward their neighbors overseas, these Christians had only fear and contempt for theirs. “It was,” said Kelly, “an incredibly sad, discouraging experience.”
Samaritans in Jesus’ day were nearby people whose religion and culture made the Jews uncomfortable. Jesus’ command was to go to them with the gospel. That still applies today. Mission begins at home and includes all the “Samaritans” in our lives, as well as people at the ends of the earth.
Holy Spirit, fill me with love for my neighbor, including those different from me. Amen.