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The Golden Rule Revisited

Today's meditation in Forward Day By Day focuses on the question, "And who is my neighbor?".  It comes from the Gospel according to St. Luke (Chapter 10, vv.25-37) when Jesus, responding to the lawyer inquiring about how to achive eternal life, tells the Parable of the Good Samaritan.  This is a great lesson that can be summarized by what I learned a long time ago as a child.  "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you".  Do I always do what I should?  No.  Do I always consider what I should do?  Mostly, yes.  What keeps me from doing what I should do 'Always'?

In Lesser Feasts and Fasts (1994), May 24th is the day assigned to remember Jackson Kemper, the First Missionary Bishop in the United States.  From the biography provided, it says "When the General Convention of 1835 made all the members of the Episcopal Church members also of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, it provided at the same time for missionary bishops to serve in the wilderness and in foreign countries.  Jackson Kemper was the first such bishop.  Although he was assigned to Missouri and Indiana, he laid foundations also in Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Kansas, and made extensive missionary tours in the South and Southwest".  Kemper established institutions of learning and formation for clergy and lay persons to do work in the church.  One place is Nashotah House in Wisconsin.  He also lobbied to focus attention on the American Indians by striving to translate services into native languages.  Kemper is honored with an unofficial title attributed to him:  "The Bishop of the Whole Northwest". 

Jackson Kemper is a wonderful example for all of us.  He definitely responded to that question, "And who is my neighbor?".

Our neighbors are here, there, and everywhere. Sometimes they live next door or across the street; sometimes they're in the car one lane over or two cars back; neighbors can be folk we know well, some we recognize but do not know at all, and others are complete strangers who may scare us when they approach at interesting times, needing or wanting things we might have to give them.  Many groups around the wider Christian community are responding to this call of mission and ministry.  To love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind; and to love our neighbors as ourselves.  To do unto others as we would have others do unto us.  

I commend those "doers" I know from Grace Church. There are many outreach ministries doing what they can with what we have.  There are also pilgrims preparing to journey to Germany, and two mission teams that will go to Honduras and to New Orleans.  They are all responding to our "neighbors" and they have The Golden Rule in their hearts, souls and minds.  I pray that our Almighty Father will grant them all strength and perseverance to complete all their good works.