Jesus said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. … When a Samaritan saw him, he was moved with pity.” - Luke 10:29-30 & 33
I know I’ve said it many times from the pulpit, but I’m reminded again today about how much I love the parables of Jesus because they allow you to enter into them and put yourself in the place of the different characters in them. Any given year upon any given reading of them we might more connect with one character than another, and as such the parables always remain fresh and relevant.
This week as I came across a reflection on one of Jesus’ most famous parables, The Good Samaritan, I was blessed by the thoughts of Rev. Matt Laney at one of our UCC churches in Atlanta. Matt challenged me, and I want to challenge you, to consider the following approach to reading this all too familiar story.
After reflecting that Jesus’ audience for this parable wouldn’t have related to the social elites of the priest or the Levite that pass by, nor with the Samaritan whose culture they despised, but rather with the beaten and bloodied man left for dead in the road, Matt offers this powerful question:
Therefore, the burning question of the parable is not: “Are you willing to be like the Good Samaritan?” The parable asks a much harder question: “Are you willing to be rescued by someone you despise, someone you’ve been conditioned to ignore, fear, hate or reject?”
This is a marvelous, profound question. Matt’s answer to it is “Jesus.” He says that a person from a different religion, a different race, a different language who was despised and rejected came to us, in our brokenness carried us to safety, and restored us. He then reminds us what Jesus says we are to do as the Samaritan did for the man left for dead: go and do likewise.
Are we willing to be rescued by Samaritans? Are we willing to do likewise?
God of Wonder, always open us to new ways of engaging with our sacred stories and finding new ways to discover You, and ourselves.