Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC
Friday, March 12
By Rev. Rick Isbell, April 18, 2019
Being with the “Other”
Read: Luke 19:5-6
In our most recent trip to Israel, Sue and I had the opportunity to experience something we have never done before. In small groups of four, we had the unique experience of having supper with a Palestinian Christian family in their home. The family we visited with one Sunday evening lived on the outskirts of Bethlehem in Beit Sahour. After meeting in Bethlehem and being transported to their home, we set down around their kitchen table, ate supper with them, talked and learned of their lives as Palestinian Christians living in Israel. The mother was a teacher and the father was a builder who had built their entire beautiful 3 story limestone home himself. I did not know what to expect, how to interact with them and where the conversation would go. For about an hour and a half I was in the company of the “other” whom I did not know, had never seen before and was an American in a Palestinian home.
This beautiful experience caused me to remember that Jesus was always in the company of the “other”. He ate with people he did not know, he had conversation with persons very different from him, and yet the people were changed by his presence. It seems he associated with and told stories about the “others” of that biblical society…. tax collectors, prostitutes, extreme nationalists, handicapped persons, fishermen, Samaritans, persons with illnesses, women, children, etc.
This experience in January caused me to think how much you and I are around the “others” in our society. How much do we associate with and try to understand those who are different from us? If I had not chosen to be a part of this experience in our Holy Land trip, I would not understand the daily life and challenges of a Palestinian Christian family. Sometimes we need to get out of our comfort zone and be in fellowship with our neighbor. Where do you need to spend time with the “other” this Lenten season? It just might change your life.
Help me God to see the “others” around me. Help me to be with, help and understand my neighbor so that I may have a heart like Christ’s this Lenten season.