Compassion Begins Door to Door

photo by WRB Jr.

photo by WRB Jr.

for Sunday, October 27, 2013
Sunday before Halloween
30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
23rd Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 25
Year C
lectionary focus: Luke 18:9-14


This week is Halloween! I am so excited! I like going to Halloween parties where everybody is dressed up in costumes. I like pretending to be someone, or something, else. It is fun to dress and act and talk and walk in ways that I don’t regularly do. I really get into the character I am pretending to be. I think: what would this character do if this happened or that happened? how would they feel? what would they say? I like seeing how someone, or something, else would live.

Now, it is safe to say, that we won’t find any Halloween party stories in the Bible. But we do hear a lot of stories. Jesus loves to teach with stories. And when Jesus tells us a story, He invites us to pretend to be the different characters in the story.

In today’s Bible story, Jesus invites us to be two different men who go to the temple to pray. When we pretend to be the first man, we pray with great thanksgiving for all the blessings we have…including being our wonderful self. When we pretend to be the second man, we remember that we make mistakes and do wrong sometimes and we quietly ask for forgiveness. The two men are very different. But by pretending to be each of the characters, we see that sometimes we are fortunate people, who end up bragging, and sometimes we realize our mistakes and are humbled. By pretending to be each of the characters, we learn an important emotion: compassion.

Compassion means that we imagine what it would be like to have someone else’s life; we share in their joy and their pain; we build a connection with the other person…and when we have a connection with someone, it is easy to love them. And this is Jesus’s greatest commandment to us: Love one another as He loves us.

Halloween is not the only time we can pretend to be someone, or something, else. Every day we are called to be compassionate with those around us, to share in other’s joy and pain, to build connections with other people, to love them as Jesus loves us.

Will you pray with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it.)

Dear Lord,
Thank You
for costumes and dressing up.
Help me
to imagine
how others think
and feel.
Fill me
with compassion
that I can
build connections
and share Your love
with those around me.

We are not Christians alone.
My mission is to share, inspire, and encourage.

I wonder what you think of this story?

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