Who is my neighbor? | today’s headlines

by Elouise

Seen in this morning’s headlines: “Kenyan Muslims shield Christians in Mandera bus attack.” How so? By refusing to be divided into two groups—Muslim and Christian.

The article was sobering and uplifting. It also left me wondering this: Would I do the same if the shoe were on the other foot?

Oh, you say, something like that would never happen here in the US!

Wouldn’t it? History tells us anything can happen anywhere. Especially where we think it can’t possibly happen.

Suppose I’m on a bus somewhere in this ‘free’ land. A group of armed men and women stops the bus. They demand that all Christians identify themselves. They’ll be let off the bus and released. The invaders don’t say so, but it’s reasonably clear they’ll slaughter or take captive everyone else.

I may or may not know all the people on this bus. But in my circle of friends there are women, men and children who are not Christian. Whether they’re on this hypothetical bus or not isn’t important.

Here’s how I think about it. I’m not obligated to answer every question put to me. Nor am I obligated to “tell the truth” when telling the truth that I’m Christian might well result in the slaughter or captivity of others.

Do I say No, I’m not a Christian? No, I do not say that. Which is why the news article caught my eye.

The option taken by Muslims on this bus in northeastern Kenya was solidarity with their Christian neighbors. True, these women and men probably knew who was on that bus. Nonetheless, they chose solidarity that could have ended their lives along with those of their Christian neighbors.

I believe this kind of solidarity is precisely what Jesus practiced. Not just when he was faced with imminent torture and death. This is who he was from beginning to end. This is why he came as a baby—to live and die in solidarity with us, his strange and stranger neighbors.

I know what Jesus did. What would I do? What would you do?

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 21 December 2015