As I read about Jesus speaking “woe’s” to cities of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum, I got to wondering what Jesus would say about Cincinnati. I am pretty sure he would have some things to say and not all of them “you’re doing great!” While this is a wonderful place to live, we have to recognize that there’s work to do in lots of areas. As I read further in the chapter, I came to the parable of the Good Samaritan and it tied back to me that question of what Jesus would say about our city. There are two quotes from Martin Luther King that speak to this for me…
On the parable of the Good Samaritan: “I imagine that the first question the priest and Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But by the very nature of his concern, the good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?
And in a message given at Riverside Church called, “A Time to Break Silence”…
On the one hand we are called to play the good Samaritan on life’s roadside; but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.
There are broken and hurting people on the side of our roads that we need to ask not how I will I be inconvenienced if I help but we need to ask, “What will happen to that man, that woman, if I don’t help?” There are broken and hurting schools and neighborhoods. There are relationships between groups of people that need to be mended. There are Jericho Roads right here that need work.
What about your neighborhood and your city? What would Jesus say? What about our country?
It is tempting to just want to skim over the tough things we need to deal with. Just like this picture – we can recognize that yes there are beautiful things and wonderful things. I do love living here and am grateful for our community, our city, our country. But at the same time, there’s more than what we see on the surface. This picture was taken on a cold, wet, drizzly night and that’s not really seen in the picture unless you look closely and see the smudges from the rain on the lens. We’ve got work to do.
What would Jesus say?