Like a Samaritan

Scripture: Luke 10:25-37

Key Verse(s):  Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” (v. 36-37)

I cried this morning. I cried out of sadness and grief. I cried out of anger and resentment. I cried out of despair. It is baffling to me how during the same week we celebrate the founding of this country on the revolutionary idea that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is a right granted by God that Alton Sterling and Philando Castile have their lives and liberty denied and cut off by the very people who were sworn to serve and protect them.

So I cried. I cried because I know that people are going to use these two events to create more division. I cried because there seems to be no end to the violence that is perpetrated against Black people without any recourse. I cried because when someone posts #Blacklivesmatter some people will be offended instead of seeing the necessity to make a distinction considering our current reality. I cried because as a pastor in the United Methodist Church I am suppose to have a response that points to the gospel; the good news of Jesus Christ. However, today I am having a hard time finding the good news.

Yet, as  I turn to the passage of scripture for this Sunday’s sermon I find that there is a word from God. We call this passage the Parable of the Good Samaritan and as a result we focus on what the Samaritan does for presumably a Jewish person. We are reminded of the pure hatred that existed between the Jews and Samaritans and usually come away from this parable saying do good to everyone even our enemies. However, commentator Mikeal C. Parsons reminds us that the radical claim that Jesus makes in this parable is reflected more in his words to the lawyer/religious scribe than to the actions of the fictitious Samaritan. Jesus tells him to go and be like the hated Samaritan. Yes, care for the needy, heal the sick, and feed the hungry even your enemies but more than that see them as you see yourself. Jesus calls for an end of all that separates us so that we can give and receive healing and wholeness even to those we think of as evil and abhorrent. Jesus goes back to the correct answer the scribe gives to the question what does the law say, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (v. 27) Jesus reminds the scribe and us today that in order to love the neighbor as yourself you have to truly see the neighbor as you see yourself.

I am still working through what I feel right now about the current state of this country’s legal system and police force. I don’t have the answers but I do know that something has to change and the church, those who follow Jesus Christ, have to be at the forefront if there is to be any real change. I want to hear Jesus’ words clearly and not add to the division that evil and sin want to create. We do not need to create or cultivate a Black v. White division similar to the Jew v. Samaritan division. We do not need to feed into the divisions created when we see any group of people, in this case Black people, as less valuable or less important than other people, in this case police officers. We need to hear Jesus say to us be like the Samaritan. Take the risk of being there for someone who your family and friends tell you that you should hate. Be like the Samaritan who put the injured Jewish person on his donkey at the risk of being accused of being the one who caused the injury or being seen and rebuked by a fellow Samaritan for helping an enemy. Be like the Samaritan who truly saw this injured person and had compassion to the point that he had to act to bring healing and wholeness to this person’s life because he did not see Jew and Samaritan or Black and White or any other division we call to mind.

As people who believe in resurrection we can never be without hope. As dire as this situation is and as real as the suffering and pain is there still is hope. God in Jesus Christ has gone through death to bring life and God can and will go through the deaths of these Black men to bring true and lasting life as soon as we see the need to be like the Samaritan.

Grace and Peace.

2 thoughts on “Like a Samaritan

  1. Thank you for your words. They are being passed around a few circles as many of us struggle to know what to preach about this Sunday.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s