My pastor told the following story yesterday in church:
In a small town a few years ago an unmarried, young woman became pregnant. Her parents were devastated and kicked her out saying, “We cannot allow sin to live in our household.” Her church, too, banished her for her transgressions.
When the child was born, the young woman desired to have the child dedicated in the church, but her church refused. After asking around, she eventually found a different congregation in the area where the minister agreed to dedicate the child.
When the morning of the dedication came, the woman stood at the front of the church with her child. The minister began the ceremony. Included in the ceremony there is a point where the minister asks, “Who stands with the mother in raising this child?” This is generally a time for family and friends to show they will support the mother and help in rearing the child. As soon as the minister spoke, though, he realized his mistake: this mother did not have family or friends willing to stand with her.
After a moment of awkward silence, an older women in the congregation stood and spoke, “I will stand with the mother and support her as she raises this child.” Then a man from the other side of the room stood and said, “I, also, will stand with the mother and support her in raising this child.” Soon the whole congregation was standing and promising their support.
This story reminds me of the story in Luke 10 where the the expert in the law asks Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus asks him what the Law says. The man replies, “‘”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 neighbor as yourself.”‘” But the man further questions Jesus by asking, “‘And who is my neighbor?'” Jesus responds by telling the story of the Good Samaritan. At the end of the story, Jesus asks the man, “‘Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man…?'” And he finishes by saying, “‘Go and do likewise.'”
And so I ask you the same question. In the above story, who was the neighbor to the young mother? Who truly showed her the love of God? Go and do likewise.