In Genesis, Cain, having murdered his brother, encounters his God. When discovered he protests, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
In 1959 Pastor Martin Niemöller, a German Lutheran pastor made a speech which included these words:
In Germany they first came for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me —
and by that time no one was left to speak up.
On Sunday we will pray, “O Lord, mercifully receive the prayers of your people who call upon you, and grant that they may know and understand what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to accomplish them.”
In these disturbed times, praying these words help to guide our way and be true to what is expected of us as Christians.
Jesus holds the qualities of compassion and justice higher than anything we might see or use as a barrier to loving our neighbor. May we do the same.
Who is your neighbor?
The Rev. Susan N. Eaves