Flexibility & Compassion

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This week we engaged with a classic parable— the story of the Good Samaritan. This is a story so familiar that we may tend not to slow down long enough to notice how profoundly it connects with our daily lives. While we are quick to understand the broad implications of Jesus’ story for the law-keeper, we often fail to think through what it means to love our literal neighbors: the people next door, or across the street, or down the hall. In our fast-paced and individualistic culture, we neglect to notice the people that we brush past every day.

Take a few moments in silent prayer, inviting the Holy Spirit to open your heart to an awareness of God’s loving and gracious presence with you. When you are ready, ask for the Holy Spirit to bring to mind a concrete example of a time when you did not love one of your literal neighbors well. This could be a disagreement about recycling bins, or a tendency to keep to yourself, or a time when you recognized a need and chose to ignore it. This is not an exercise intended to make you feel guilty, but rather is intended to teach us to love in the revolutionary way that Jesus invites us toward in this story. When an example comes to mind, pray for the wisdom to identify one or two tangible ways that you could demonstrate love in a situation like this. Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as other situations like this one arise in the future, so that we may all learn to love in the profound way Jesus offers us.

Feel free to share your experience with others who have also tried this prayer exercise by commenting below or emailing: spiritual.practices@annarborvineyard.org.

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