This was my meditation for our church email this week. For Youth Sunday, I’m preaching on the Good Samaritan.

There’s a woman named Grace who lives on my street in the Tenderloin District, San Francisco. When I say she lives on my street, I mean that literally — she’s homeless. I pass her almost every day on my walk to work in the Financial District. Sometimes we exchange hellos. Sometimes I ask her how she’s doing. I call her “Neighbor.” Sometimes she lets me pray for her…right there on Ellis Street. Sometimes I let her pray for me and my church.

The parable of the Good Samaritan has taught me to expand my definition of neighbor — to slow down and chat with folks around me. And sometimes to go above and beyond expectations when someone is in need.

More often than not though, I’m too focused on my destination to pause and say hello. I fall short of the example of the Good Samaritan. We all do. But Grace is there anyway.