October 08, 2020

02

Steele Creek Cascades 03/29/2014 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Dairy Barn Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina
The  most important commandment in the Old Testament
didn't make the top ten,
though it lends itself to an interpretation
that makes it #1 even there.

Seeing "The Lord Thy God" in each of our neighbors
would put "Thou shalt have no other gods before me"
in the place of, as Jesus would say,
loving our neighbors as we love ourselves,
and as the most important commandment puts it,
"Thou shalt not remove thy neighbor's landmark."

Honor thy neighbor's right to themselves
and to all that belongs to them!
Do not mind thy neighbor's business!
Do not violate thy neighbor's boundaries!
Do not invade thy neighbor's sacred space!
Do not denigrate thy neighbor in any way!
Respect thy neighbor as thou desireth to be respected!

Know where you stop and your neighbor starts
and do not step over the line!

How may ways did Jesus say that?
He made it the central element in what he had to say.
Everything comes down to seeing our neighbor
as equal to us in every way.
And to seeing everyone as our neighbor.
And everyone is Every. Single. One.
We are to be everyone's neighbor,
treating them all as though they are our neighbor.

Why is this hard?
Why is it not being done?

–0–

01

The Dairy Barn 02/18/2018 — Louisiana Central Hospital Grounds, Pineville, Louisiana
We do not receive the help we need.
And if it is offered,
it isn't what we have in mind.

Given the choice,
do you go for feeling better
or getting better?

When the treatment is worse than the disease--
or worse than the symptoms--
what do we do?

Where do we go with the pain
of damned if we do and damned if we don't?
With the agony of endless agony?
In the meantime, what?

When there is no balm in Gilead,
where do we go for relief from our anguish?
For alleviation from our pain?

Where do we find what we need
to do what needs to be done
about any of it?

Therapy is found in the damnedest places.

The dairy barn at the Louisiana Central Hospital
brought people back to life
by giving them cows to milk and feed,
to pasture and tend.

What does a cow have to do with our problems?
Who would ever think,
"A cow is just what I need"?
How long would a physician last
who prescribed a cow to care for
to those seeking solace for the burdens they bear?

Don't disparage cows!
Seek out their equivalent in your own time and place!
You who have needs,
lend yourself to the service
of that which has need of you!
You who languish for a lack of help,
provide help to that which languishes
for what you have to offer!
Be good for someone,
some thing!

The world will shift on its axis,
reorient itself in its orbit.
All because you dared
to love a cow!

Published by jimwdollar

I'm retired, and still finding my way--but now, I don't have to pretend that I know what I'm doing. I retired after 40.5 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA, serving churches in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. I graduated from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Austin, Texas, and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. My wife, Judy, and I have three daughters, three sons-in-law, and five granddaughters, and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.

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