In the last week, we’ve heard story after story of unrest in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray. The public response has been fairly dichotomous–once again, a story about the lack of value we assign to our brothers and sisters has turned into a polarizing political debate. The situation brings to light many complex issues that are worth discussing, and are even more so worth fixing. But unfortunately, much of the discussion has more to do with what the people of Baltimore should or shouldn’t be doing, and little to do with what the rest of us are supposed to do. So last week, our 5th-6th grade bible study talked about what we are supposed to do about it.
The Bible states clearly that one of the most important things we need to do is love our neighbor through practical gifts of service. And in Luke 10, Jesus tells the story of the good Samaritan, a man who goes above and beyond to help someone in need, even though that person looks nothing like him. Jesus says that what makes the Samaritan a good neighbor is not his cultural or physical proximity to the man who was beaten and robbed, but the Samaritan’s commitment to meet his needs when others wouldn’t. While it is complicated to address police brutality, a denial to justice, the hopelessness of an oppressed community, and anger that leads to violence; we have a simple command that is too often forgotten–love your neighbor as yourself. And everyone is our neighbor. It was good to remember that with the girls this last week, and talk about how we can do that now.
In order to love our neighbors in the US and around the world, we are selling 10 prints painted by our bible study with the words “Love your neighbor”. The girls have decided the money will be split equally between supporting repairs to a shelter for homeless youth in Baltimore, and the Red Cross’s relief efforts in Nepal. We are asking for a $15 minimum donation for a framed 5″ x 7″ print. Below is a sample (they are all unique!), but head to the Abundant Life facebook page if you’d like to support us in loving our neighbors by purchasing one.