God still loved the Priest and the Levite
The Good Samaritan: Luke 10.25
Encourage all ages to participate in the following ...
I want to retell the gospel story in my own words today, and ask you to respond verbally whenever I pause and hold up the card 'RESPOND'.
A very happy family man, going about his way, not troubling anyone, was once mugged, on a lonely road. RESPOND. (aaaaaah!)
The robbers took everything he had down to his last penny, and left him there bleeding and dying in the midday sun. RESPOND (Boooo!)
Along came a priest. Now you would think that he would have helped the man lying there, but he didn't he crossed over the road and passed by RESPOND (Boooo!).…….etc
I've read that story tie and time again, and yes I've always seen the Priest and the Levite as the bad guys, and the Samaritan as the good guy.
But before we make hasty judgements let's look further into the story.
Let's take the priest for instance.
I don't know what was going on his mind that day…he was not an enemy. He probably didn't deserve to be booed.
For all we know…
He took his duties seriously,…perhaps he was meticulous in his preparation of duty…believed strongly in tradition…and the temple laws especially cleanliness. As for conducting liturgy he was probably faultless
In his pastoral care and in his teaching he may have been very conscientious.
I don't know where his mind was that day, whether it was the wonder of great city of Jerusalem, and its awesome temple; there may have been thousands of jobs on his list of things to do, who knows?
But what we do know about him was that.
He got something wrong that day. He failed a dying man. He overlooked a need. He kept his holy hands from becoming unclean, after all the body may have been a dead body.
But more importantly, and what I've never realised before, until now, is that GOD LOVED THIS PRIEST.
Goodness I make mistakes all the time, as you all know.
There some things that never occur to me to do, until later) or when my husband suggests I follow something up.
I allow my mind to clutter big time, and wonder why I forget to do things.
I charge ahead with enthusiasm and bright ideas, and don't always consult. I leave things until the last minute. I'm not always punctual.
I don't hear all that well, if I miss one word because of background noise…..Once or twice I lack concentration if I'm tired.
BUT …I know God loves me. I feel it I experience it. He does.
What about Levite, just and righteous person, but he got it wrong in the story too.
Perhaps fear was the reason that he sidestepped and avoided the 'body'. But fear is behind many things that we ought to do and don't do.
This man didn't want to roll his sleeves up, didn't want to get his hands dirty either. Perhaps he reasoned and argued in his mind, and had a great tussle with himself before he moved on.
Perhaps it wasn't a decision he made easily that day. Perhaps he was filled with loathing and remorse as he journeyed on. He may even have had a really troubled conscience for days afterwards.
But what I'm sure of, and what I've not considered before is that GOD LOVED HIM.
He just got it wrong, didn't listen to the still small voice. He may even have put his family first that day; who knows there could have been other robbers still around. Was it not his duty to his family to live and get to his destination safely for their sakes?
Is anyone here perfect? Do any of us have troubled consciences, unsettled minds over some wrong deed? Are we listening to that still small voice? Are we terrified, fearful? and is fear winning, in the 'what we OUGHT to do’ stakes?
Can we honestly say our love is perfect?
There are many issues we overlook in today's global world, are we sidestepping any of them? Avoiding getting our hands dirty?
Yet in all this is it not so that God loves each one of us to bits?
Pure and simply the Samaritan got it right. He showed love in action, and no more needs be said about him.
God calls us today to show compassion for what symbolically is the challenge he sets before us in the present moment... the here and now.
How are we measuring up?
What is going on in our lives at present?
What are the big issues?
Let us not imagine an injured and bleeding body in front of us, but a situation, a problem, a person.
See it lying there presenting itself to us not yesterday not tomorrow but now. Let's close our eyes but go over to it.
Do we avoid it?
Do we run away?
Do we face up to the challenge or the situation that God has opened up to us, and with all the love and compassion we can muster, try to find out what God himself would have us do?
Have we cleared out the clutter, and all preconceived indoctrinations and notions…mind sets…to mend and heal and bring safely through what God himself has placed in our path?
In all this, in whatever we decide to do, know this… GOD LOVES EACH OF US, and He loves those who get it wrong sometimes.
What Jesus is teaching us in this parable is that there is a higher way to solve problems? His way! The way he has taught us.
In the stillness what is he saying to us right now.?
Why don’t we ask him?
Is there someone who is being rejected?
Is there someone we are judging?
What is it we are most afraid of?
And let's just listen and make a vow to God do the right thing.
Is there someone, hurt or wounded or despised that we need to go to?
The greatest blessings come back to us a hundredfold, for us and our Christian fellowship, when we show love, compassion and empathy.
(*The greatest blessing I ever received, was when I prayed for a person I once felt very threatened by.)
So, as it says in our epistle today…
Let us not stop praying that we may all be filled with the knowledge of God's will, in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that we can live lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as we bear fruit in every good work, and as we grow in the knowledge of God.