The Norman Transcript


January 25, 2013

So, who is my neighbor?

NORMAN — After reviewing the great commandments given to Moses to love the Lord and his neighbor, a certain lawyer, as recorded in Luke’s gospel, asked Jesus to specify whom exactly he was required to love (10:27-29). The wonderful parable of the Good Samaritan was the Savior’s response.

At times I have caught myself placing artificial parameters on the questions of “Who are my neighbors?” and “Whom I am ‘required’ to love?” By so doing I hurt myself and clearly violate the spirit of the good news Jesus taught.

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of spending time with a fellow Norman resident (a “neighbor”) I had never met. I was delighted to discover how much we have in common. We are about the same age and share many interests. We both love the community and the good, caring people who live here. We both worry about children and grandchildren and what the future holds in store for them. Health concerns are becoming more of an issue as we age.

As I anticipated the opportunity to meet my neighbor, I saw myself as a Good Samaritan taking time out of my busy life to reach out and help a wounded stranger. My neighbor is homeless and (from my limited perspective) has many needs. But the more we visited the more I realized how much this man was giving to me. Wounds I had chosen not to notice became apparent as this good neighbor poured oil onto them. My life was richly blessed and my perspective forever changed by taking some time to become acquainted with him.

How many other neighbors do I breeze past in my busy life? How many opportunities do I miss to bless others and to be blessed by them — largely because I, like the lawyer in the book of Luke, want to place limits on my social interactions?

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Hnsen Luger Kate Hansen still riding the Olympic cloud

    Not many people can say they actually accomplished their lifetime dreams. Even less can say they did it before turning 22....

    March 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Two rabbis sharing their passion

    STILLWATER — Two rabbis from Brooklyn recently spent time in Stillwater meeting with Jews and reconnecting them with their traditions, rituals and heritage....

    July 31, 2014

  • School Roundup in its 10th year

    In its 10th year, Alameda Church of Christ and Streams of Water Ministry are ready to roll out the backpacks for the Back to School Roundup. This year’s event will be from 9 a.m. to noon Aug. 9 at the church, 801 E. Alameda St. ...

    July 31, 2014

  • In praise of lonely places

    I grew up in a tough neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio. The Berlin Wall was never so formidable a barrier as Woodland Avenue which separated the black neighborhood of the projects from Murray Hill or “Little Italy” as it was known. Like ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Expain Jesus’ impatience with fig tree

    The Rev. Joe Nassal, priest at Precious Blood Center in Liberty: The context provides a clue. At this point in the Gospel, Jesus arrives in Jerusalem to complete his mission....

    July 31, 2014

  • Tests of a living faith

    We recently started a study on Wednesday nights of the letter James wrote to the church. This Bible book is a practical guide to Christian living, but more than that, it really forces one to think honestly about their faith. Is your faith ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Which Bible bit is most misinterpreted?

    The Rev. Scott Gordon, Claycomo Baptist Church: Many passages vie for consideration, but the first “bit” that came to mind we find in Matthew 7:1-6 and Romans 2:1-5....

    July 24, 2014

  • CAIR-OK plans day of service

    The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-OK) will join Mercy Youth Club and IST Youth at the fourth annual Ramadan Day of Service Saturday....

    July 18, 2014

  • Guest preacher and author to speak

    The Reverend Dr. James White will preach, as well as discuss, his new book, “Brief Christian Histories: Getting a Sense of Our Long Story,” this Sunday at First Christian Church, 220 S. Webster. White will preach at both 8:40 and 10:45 ...

    July 18, 2014

  • Life on earth is a vapor

    The last of the baby boomers turn 50 this year. This generation of Americans, born from 1946-1964, is named after the post-World War II “baby boom.” I am a baby boomer and as one of the “late boomers,” one of the last to turn 50 — ...

    July 17, 2014