The story of the Good Samaritan is a well known and moving story. The Samaritan has no idea who the man lying by the side of the road is. Having been stripped, beaten and left for dead, there is no way for the Samaritan to know if the man can repay him or fits into any particular box. The Samaritan is moved by compassion. Unconcerned for his own safety or the potential for financial compensation, he dares to care for one who is in need.
This story prompts us to be more open to opportunities to be neighbor. We need to look for places where we can engage with those who are in need. Can we be moved by compassion in our communities to see ourselves and the presence of God in those who are on the margins of our community near and far? Can compassion move us in a way that defies traditional stereotypical understandings of people and embraces all as equals, as neighbors, as residents of a global community?
Jesus told a story designed to shock the boundaries of relationship. Are we lawyers approaching Jesus, pleading our own cases? Or are we the priest or the Levite, bound by fear or self-preservation?
Whether we are victims or rescuers, this story encourages us to ditch our arbitrary notions of race and clan and tribe and embrace our shared humanity.
For the only way to the light, says Jesus, is through the darkness and brokenness that is this world, guided by and sharing the love that we have been shown by God.
Written by Rev Elizabeth Raine
Elizabeth is minister at Tuggeranong Uniting, beginning her ministry here in December 2018.
Over the years, she has had a number of diverse and interesting placements, such as a school chaplaincy, a tenancy worker with UnitingCare, a congregational minister, a lecturer at UTC, a Presbytery minister, and as an Intentional Interim minister.More from Rev Elizabeth Raine