I can hear or read the same passage in the Bible many times, and yet come away with something new, just when I think I have squeezed as much as I can out of it. Take the story of the Good Samaritan. I went back to read the story in Luke, after I had written a Post on “good questions.” It was a lawyer who asked Jesus, “who is my neighbor.” Jesus responded with the famous parable on the Good Samaritan, and concluded it with a question, “which of the three was a neighbor…?” Referring to the Priest, the Levite, and the Good Samaritan.
I am sure Jesus used the titles Priest and Levite to make his point that appearances can be deceiving when it comes to expectations of right behavior, but what was it really that the Samaritan saw, that the Holy men missed. Perhaps it was that lying in the ditch was a person much like himself, and at the very core of truth they were not entirely separate selves at all.
I suspect in answering the lawyer’s question about “who is my neighbor” Jesus was saying that all of our lives flow together, like waves flow into waves, and unless there is peace and joy in my neighbor, there can be no real peace and joy for me. Lying in the ditch was reality, not as we expect it, but as it is. It may not be the way we think things should be, but they are. We don’t expect to find our neighbor in a ditch or a tornado victim, we don’t want to find him there, but it is just the way things are. Thus, we are called like the Samaritan and the lawyer who asked “who is my neighbor” to live for each other, in and through each other, and be the one “who showed mercy.” We are called to,“Go and do likewise.” Luke 10:37.
Your Friend, Webb