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Jericho Road

An Episcopal priest's poem ponders what we mean when we ask the question, "And who is my neighbor?"

Why does Jesus choose this long, winding,
bloody pass – this treacherous road –
to goad
a truth, more sacred, more binding
when someone asks:
“And who is my neighbor?”

Why choose this dangerous highway
marked by tricky twist and turn
to discern
a more just and loving way
when someone asks:
“And who is my neighbor?”

Why does Jesus choose this road?
Jericho Road?

To call us to self-sacrifice?
Perhaps, but is that all?
What, pray tell,
is higher than this price?
Or more divine than this righteous call?

Why does Jesus choose this road?
Jericho Road …

Jesus calls us to dream, it would seem –
When someone asks – when we ask:
“And who is my neighbor?”

Like priest and Levite paralyzed by fear,
we, who know better,
see not that theology and worship cohere
and fail to do better –
paralyzed by fear
on Jericho Road.

Why does Jesus choose this road?
Jericho Road?

Because the Samaritan – alien and stranger –
lives the blessed dream.
This Samaritan risks danger –
this outcast lives the dream.

On winding, treacherous, bloody road,
this Samaritan sees.
Sees neighbor …
and in neighbor, sees self.

Why does Jesus choose this road?
Jericho Road?

Jesus calls us to dream, it would seem –
when we ask:
“And who is my neighbor?”
To live the dream
on Jericho Road.

To resist pride
and refuse to hide
and labor
to see in other … neighbor.

To hard truths tell
and break the spell
of ignorance and hate and apathy
and labor
to see in other … neighbor.

To talk and build trust
and agree to disagree if we must
and labor
to see in other … neighbor.

To trod Jericho Road. Yes, trod.
This long, dangerous, winding,
bloody pass.
And at last,
realize truth more binding
and see in everyone a neighbor,
ourselves,
and the face of God.

On this Jericho Road.
This road.
This life.
On Jericho Road.

The Rev. Rhett Solomon is the associate rector of Holy Trinity Parish Episcopal Church in Decatur, Georgia.

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