Good Samaritans

DSC00069Luke 10:30-37, “Jesus replied, “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. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, “Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

I have been blessed. Specifically blessed by the people that God has placed in my life. Bishop Bill McAlily of the Nashville Episcopal Area of the United Methodist Church planned a trip to the Holy Lands and encouraged a group of us to go. There were about 35 people, mostly ministers awaiting ordination or recently ordained, traveling together on what was called “Yellow Bus.” We were part of a much larger group, 210, visiting various sites in Israel. The blessing of being able to travel to the Holy Lands was multiplied by the incredible group with which I was able to travel.

All of the people on Yellow Bus experienced the Bible and life of Jesus in a new, fuller way. Personally I had many very moving experiences. Unfortunately Bishop Bill McAlily fell near Jericho. He fractured a couple ribs and was rendered very uncomfortable. I pray that he is feeling better as of this writing. The place that he fell was on the road that goes between Jerusalem and Jericho. Coincidences to another travel along that road were not lost on us. When we saw the Bishop lying there we all very quietly passed by on the other side…

In all seriousness some people in the group that saw him fall got him to a small store that was close by. The bus took the rest of us there and we were able to render first aid, although I wished there was more I could have done other than encouraging him to go to the doctor. How people responded was truly wonderful. Keep in mind that this occurred in the West Bank, an area controlled by Palestine. Remember too that we are Americans. The owners of this small shop gave the Bishop juice, water, and ice. They allowed him to sit and did everything in their power to ease his condition. (Make him more comfortable.) The owner the bus company took the Bishop to the clinic by car. As we loaded onto the bus several people offered to pay for the juice and water. We were turned down. These gentle people provided radical hospitality to someone in need. They didn’t think of themselves, only of the man in pain. They showed compassion and love of neighbor. The parallels to the story of the Good Samaritan are striking.

We can learn a lot from these events. When we reach out in love, care, and compassion our differences are laid aside. In those moments our differences simply don’t matter anymore. The question that begs to be asked is if the differences don’t matter at that point, do they ever matter? Our earthly, human differences are inconsequential in the heavenly realm. Let us all remember to lay aside our differences and work for the common good of all.

And please keep Bishop Bill McAlily in your prayers. May he experience more radical hospitality and have a speedy recovery.

This is this pastor’s opinion, what’s yours?

In Christ’s Love,

Pastor Tom

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