Foreigner

In The Good Old Summertime, Couples Could Walk Hand-In-Hand

Ed, my old neighbor in Saskatchewan, calls the Covid 19 virus, “The Spoiler!” Instead of a boy and girl walking hand-in-hand along the shady lanes, they are to keep six feet apart these summer days. I told Ed that teenagers no longer go for romantic strolls holding hands, because they talk, text, and tweet by phone. Walking has been replaced by their skateboards or their cars.

In past summertime, we have had an invasion of tourists.  More than 6 million visitors a year, but now with Covid 19 restrictions, travelers are unwelcome and limited in number. Cruise ships cannot dock in Vancouver until September. The population of the province of British Columbia is diverse, with many different cultural groups living and working here. It has been a province where anyone and everyone could feel at home.

Sadly, since the pandemic, hate-motivated incidents and crimes here have multiplied. Generally, people are frustrated and feel trapped by a virus that is like a forest fire burning out of control. If lightning causes a forest fire, people will accept it as an act of nature. If the forest fire is blamed on a specific camper, Henry chain-smoker Smith, those most affected by the fire, may hold a grievance towards Henry and his carelessness. Accusing, arresting, fining, or imprisoning Henry Smith will not put the forest fire out or bring back what has been destroyed. Blaming a particular country and anyone from that country for the Covid 19 virus is pointless and spreads the disease of hate. Blaming others even for good reason has all the value of a Canadian penny.

We are often quick to hold a grudge when someone else’s actions adversely impact us. Easily we broadcast our past grievances and find fault with others in our present situations. We may take offense at some other people because we see them as different from ourselves. Often the prejudices that we carry are unknown to us.

In the time of Jesus, his people had a superior attitude when it came to their neighbors and distant relatives, the Samaritans. The Jews and Samaritans had no dealings with each other, but Jesus could see beyond their history of rejection and lack of honor and respect. Some Jewish people were displeased with Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan. In the story, a Samaritan acts compassionately towards a Jewish man beaten and left at the side of the road. Some were offended in Jesus’ story when two Jewish people had an opportunity to help the injured man, but they did not do so. They did not want a Samaritan to be the hero of the story. A common understanding among the Jews was that they were better than the Samaritans. Jesus had a different attitude as he came to his own people to gather Jewish outcast sinners for God and others.

In Matthew 15:21-28, Jesus went to the district of Tyre and Sidon, perhaps to rest from his hectic ministry among the Jews. There a Canaanite woman (not Jewish) of the area came to Jesus begging him to heal her daughter oppressed by a demon. Although Jesus was sent to minister to the Jews, he healed her daughter because she needed help. Don’t exclude others needing your assistance.

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Raymond Maher
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