Sunday June 9th, Winnipeg Evangelical Free Church collaborated with their inner-city ministry, Grace Point Church, for what has become an annual outdoor church service called The Gathering. Our theme for the event was: “Who is my Neighbour?” Invitations were hand delivered to every single door in the North Point Douglas neighbourhood of Winnipeg. Hundreds of people from the community attended the service and enjoyed pulled pork sandwiches, ice-cream and games for the kids. We wanted our neighbours to know that we are a church that is present in this community, for this community, so we might be a blessing to this community. We do this event to make the mercy and love of God known to our neighbourhood by being Christ-like neighbours ourselves.
“Who Is My Neighbor” was addressed by Pastor Joel Cormie with the following considerations:
An insincere lawyer learned the hard way in Luke 10: 25-37 when he approached the Son of God thinking he could play games with the most important question in the universe. “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” That’s a very important question. Jesus points the man to the Scriptures, a summary of the whole law: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself.” “Do this and you will live”, says Jesus.
The lawyer must have felt very guilty in that moment. He couldn’t obey God perfectly. None of us can. So, looking for a loophole, he asked, “Who is my neighbour?”
What follows is the story of the good Samaritan. A story as relevant today as it was then. The story:
• features the brokenness of this sinful world,
• exposes the emptiness of religion without love,
• challenges the racism and prejudice we can all feel, and
• requires sacrifice and risk.
The lawyer never in his wildest dreams thought that God would define his neighbour as a hurting man in a rough part of town from a different ethnic group who needed his compassion. God the Son came into the world to be this kind of neighbour to us. Jesus is the True Neighbour that the good Samaritan only symbolized. He saw us in our brokenness and he didn’t just pity us. No, He took the necessary action to relieve our distress. Jesus rescued us from our hopeless situation by obeying God perfectly for us, taking the penalty for our sin, and granting us his unblemished righteousness. He rescues us, heals us, and pays for our needs by his grace.
Please be in prayer with us that God will continue to draw many of our neighbours in North Point Douglas to put their faith in the True Neighbour who crossed every class and racial divide to make us one people in Him.