how to deal wisely (love!) your neighbour #proverbs #sermonseries

In 1952 the National Film Board produced a short film entitled Neighbours. The film went on to win the academy aware for best short film that year. This was partly based on its content, and partly based on the way the film was produced – with actors, but using a technique usually used with puppet animation. You can easily find the film on the NFB website (warning, the second half of the film is very violent). The first 4 minutes of the film are instructive for us. Two neighbours discover a beautiful flower growing on their mutual property line – and they together delight in it. But eventually they begin to fight over the flower – the first four minutes of the film are a brilliant introduction to the question of how we relate to our neighbours.Screen Shot 2013-09-17 at 12.54.23 PM

As becomes apparent, however, this is is an anti-war film. The film gets progressively more violent until the neighbours eventually kill each other’s families and each other over this beautiful flower. But the first four minutes film at least introduce us to the complexities of living alongside neighbours. It’s not always easy to relate to neighbours. We are not always sure how we should relate to our neighbours. And this film is particularly interesting in terms of the film it leaves its viewers with – at the end, words of Jesus are presented on the screen in a series of different languages:

Ama a tu prójimo.

Liebe deinen nächsten.

Amate il prosimo.

Aimez votre prochain.

Love your neighbour.

The question we are asking as we continue our series in the book of proverbs is the question of our neighbour – how to relate to our neighbour. What does it look like when we are wise in dealing with our neighbour? What does it look like when we are living well in relation to our neighbour? What do you do when a lovely flower pops up on the property line and you’d really like to transplant it to your own garden? As we consider these kinds of questions, the words of Jesus will remain in the backs of our minds – love your neighbour. Continue reading


love in all the wrong places? #GoodSamaritan

This week there was a story about a Good Samaritan in Windsor, Ontario. A house was on fire, and one of the residents couldn’t make it out through the front door. He had to break out a window on the second floor and then climb onto the roof. But from there, as the fire spread he didn’t know how he was going to get down. At that moment, some guy in a pickup truck was driving by – he happened to have a ladder on his truck. The driver stopped, set up the ladder to the roof, and the man stuck on the burning house was able to get down. The story concludes: “Then the Good Samaritan disappeared.”

This is how the phrase Good Samaritan is understood in our culture, isn’t it? Someone does a good deed completely out of the blue. The Good Samaritan is a stranger who stops to help in a situation of crisis, even though they don’t know the person in need and even though they won’t get anything in return. Often the Good Samaritan remains anonymous – they do their thing and then just fade away into the woodwork.

This general idea of a Good Samaritan certainly gets at part of what is happening in our passage from the Luke this morning. At the centre of this parable is someone who offered support to another in need – care to someone who was beaten and left for dead. At the centre of this parable is someone who helped a stranger, expecting nothing in return, and then disappeared anonymously into the woodwork. Continue reading