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We talked about our community and what it means to be a Disciple in the context of this community, beginning with our 5-mile radius, and expanding outward in concentric to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).As we discerned these values, we assumed that we are called to be a missional congregation, and that these values will help guide our practice of mission.One online dictionary puts it this way: And, interestingly enough, certain psychiatric disorders, such as “autism, antisocial personality disorder, and narcissistic personality disorder, have been associated with a lack of ability to empathize (or experience empathy).” While I don’t wish to wade into the political debate, it does appear that empathy is a good thing.In fact, to be without empathy is to suffer from a mental illness.James goes on to say that faith without works is dead– that is, without acts of compassion our faith is meaningless (James -17).
In this case, according to John, moved by his own grief, he chose to raise Lazarus from the dead and restore him to life.
Another text that speaks to the way we might live out compassion is the parable of the Good Samaritan, in which the Samaritan – a person who was despised by most everyone in Jesus’ audience – offered aid to a man who had been mugged.
While this story illustrates what it means to be a good neighbor, it also serves to encourage us to act on our compassion (Lk -37).
Instead we stopped at what is often known as the briefest Scripture text, “Jesus wept” (KJV).
I had us stop here, because that verse, and the words that precede it underline the centrality of compassion to the ministry of Jesus and the ways of God.