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Music & the Spoken Word: Who is my neighbor?

Music & the Spoken Word: Who is my neighbor?

Editor’s note: “The Spoken Word” is shared by Lloyd Newell each Sunday during the weekly Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square broadcast. This will be given July 10, 2022.

The story of the good Samaritan was first told as an answer to a question. A certain lawyer, who seemed to want clear lines marking the boundaries of his moral obligations, asked Jesus of Nazareth, “Who is my neighbour?” Jesus’s answer was the now-familiar story of a traveling man who “fell among thieves,” was robbed and beaten, and was left “half dead” by the side of the road.

It happened that two of his countrymen also journeyed that way. They saw him, but they both “passed by on the other side.”

Then a third person approached — a Samaritan. Under other circumstances, he and the wounded traveler would have been enemies. They were from different cultures and rival faiths. But to the Samaritan, all of that was irrelevant. A fellow human being needed help. So, filled with compassion, he “bound up his wounds, … brought him to an inn, and took care of him” (see Luke 10:25-37).

The word neighbor literally means one who is nigh, or near. But with the parable of the good Samaritan, Jesus expanded that definition. A neighbor, He taught, is anyone in need. A person may seem distant culturally, politically or socially, but all are near enough to receive our friendship, care, connection, help and support. In a sense, Jesus expanded the boundaries of our common neighborhood to include all of God’s children.

Any good neighborhood is built by good neighbors. That is why volunteers sew blankets for the cold and donate food for the hungry. That’s why people prepare hygiene kits and teach life skills to refugees. And that’s why missionaries share the good word of God to bless others, often far from home and at considerable sacrifice. They are striving to live the great commandment to “love [their] neighbour” (Matthew 22:39) — including neighbors they don’t even know.

Some needs are obvious to the eye, like a wounded traveler on the road to Jericho. More often, they are visible only to the heart. In either case, a good neighbor is one who, filled with compassion, overcomes boundaries and distances to become “one who is near.”

Tuning in …

The “Music & the Spoken Word” broadcast is available on KSL-TV, KSL Radio 1160AM/102.7FM,, BYUtv, BYUradio, Dish and DirectTV, SiriusXM Radio (Ch. 143), the, and Amazon Alexa (must enable skill). The program is aired live on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. on many of these outlets. Look up broadcast information by state and city at

See the Church News’ archive of ‘Spoken Word’ messages

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