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Faith McDonnell May 10, 2012
“Go and do likewise,” is a command given by Jesus after he recounts the parable we call “The Good Samaritan” to an expert of religious law.
In that well-known story, the Samaritan saw a traveler who had been beaten, robbed, and left for dead on the side of the road. If the man was conscious at all, he had realized that two other men, a priest and a Levite, had passed by him, moved to the other side of the road, and acted as if he didn’t even exist, or worse than that, that he was garbage on the path! But to his surprise, it was a Samaritan who “took pity on him” and saved his life. The Samaritan bandaged his wounds, removed him from any further attacks, and took him to an inn to recover. The Samaritan gave up his time and his money for a complete stranger.
When Jesus demands the lawyer tell him which of the three was a neighbor to the traveler, the lawyer must concede, “The one who had mercy on him.”
“Go and do likewise,” says Jesus.
This past weekend I was in Newport Beach, California to speak at St. James Anglican Church’s 9th annual international fellowship dinner for the persecuted church. St. James has had an ongoing prayer ministry for the persecuted church around the world for over nine years! Every month, church members, led by Persecuted Church Ministry coordinator, Patricia Streeter, get together to pray for Christians that are oppressed and persecuted for their faith around the world. And every year they hold a special international dinner to help even more members of St. James to focus on their suffering brothers and sisters.
The Trane Fellowship Hall was filled with church members and guests on Sunday night, May 6, at tables beautifully decorated by artist Sharon Hutchinson, a member of the Persecuted Church Ministry. Other church members were in the kitchen, preparing and serving the delicious meal. After dinner, there was a time of worship and St. James’ rector, the Rev. Richard Crocker, offered the opening prayer. It is not always the case that a church’s rector will remain for an entire program! Mostly they just welcome everyone and slip out a little while later. But Pastor Richard was present to the very end! In fact, he did a little bit of filming of my talk for me with IRD’s flip camera (you can see the results on YouTube). I spoke on “Engage in the Battle: The Testimony of Persecution.” Here is performance from our gathering:
After my talk, we had a time of corporate prayer for the persecuted church and then an offering was collected for a project of pastoral and leadership training for pastors and other church leaders in the Nuba Mountains in Sudan. We explained that this training is critical. In times of great persecution and oppression such as the people of the Nuba Mountains are now experiencing with renewed genocidal jihad waged against them by the Islamist regime in Khartoum, the churches have always been the one functional aspect of civil society. The training project will be administered by the Rev. Mahamoud Kalbash Angallo, the Archdeacon of the Diocese of Kadugli and the Nuba Mountains.
What a great example is set by the people of St. James Anglican Church! Go thou and do likewise!
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