Today’s devotion comes from Sheena.
Read Luke 10:25-37
He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’”

“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?”

We know the parable of the good Samaritan.  A man was attacked and robbed on the road to Jerusalem.  A priest who should have had compassion and practiced God’s law of love walked on by and left him for dead.  A Levite, a Jewish man of excellent lineage, who would have known God’s teaching, walked on by.  But a Samaritan stopped.  Samaritans were a ‘lower class’ and had intermarried with people who weren’t Jewish and did not keep all the laws. And yet he was the one who stopped to help him.

I think a lot of us probably feel like ‘love the neighbour’  is in the bag most of the time. We look out for our neighbours, maybe we’re on the local WhatsApp chat, we’ve offered to buy shopping for an older or shielding neighbour and have a friendly wave and clap on Thursday at 8pm. Nailed it!

And our neighbouring countries? Those who will struggle with sanitation during coronavirus and are already refugees? Donation to Christian Aid or Tearfund and we have also done our bit?

Looking after our neighbours sounds relatively easy (unless there is a border dispute or a noise problem) but I wonder if it’s going to get harder? I found myself wishing that we could close the A9 snow gates and stop people travelling here.  And then that wish felt uncomfortable very quickly.

It’s easy to love your neighbour when your neighbour is not a risk to you.  We all wonder if a greater ability to move around the county will increase the transmission of coronavirus and cause the second wave people are talking about.  

Inverness used to invite visitors far and wide with open arms; we were a friendly city and that has been a big part of our economy. As lockdown eases and we are able to travel more widely in the future,  are we going to eye strangers with suspicion?  The family at our local beach who don’t have our accent?  The camper van at Tesco?  I think we will need to be careful to love our neighbours and that might need to be more of a conscious effort in the next year. 

We don’t know what has happened to them – have they been stuck in a flat in a city?  Are they coming to visit family they have been desperate to meet?  Has this coronavirus life become too much and they need a break?   If they have adhered to the rules we are going to learn about as we progress through the ‘phases’ this year we need to be tolerant and to love our neighbours.

Dear Lord, thank you for these truths.  Please help me to love everyone I meet and don’t allow my heart to be hardened by fear or suspicion creep in.  Please keep these verses on my heart…

Mark 12:30-31 (NIV)

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

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