Today's Gospel reading is one of my favorites from Luke (10:25-37) — the story of the Good Samaritan. Indeed, I have paraphrased it many times in my life. It is, for me, an incredibly powerful, yet very simple story of life and how to treat others. And one that is often ignored when talking about groups we don't "agree" with or believe are against what we believe.
In ancient times, the Jewish people and the Samaritans were enemies. They didn't like each other and didn't think the other group knew anything about God. They certainly didn't think of each other as God's children — or even God's distant second or third cousins.
And that's why Jesus chose a Samaritan as the one who showed mercy. It was a multi-faceted message to the people, just as it is a multi-faceted message to us. And we still don't really get it. The message is simply this, whosoever shows mercy is our brother. Whoever shows mercy is our neighbor. No matter the color, religion, sexual orientation, shape, size or species. It's not a debatable thing. WHOEVER SHOWS US MERCY IS OUR NEIGHBOR and must be given/shown love.
Not an easy thing to do in our judgemental, prejudice, scarcastic world, but something we must all strive for. One of God's great commandments and one of the greatest commandments according to our loving, compassionate leader Jesus. [Matthew 22:37-39, Mark 12:27-31]
Jesus stories are a challenge to us. Not to emulate our human leaders, but to emulate our heavenly leader. To give good, mercy and a blessing to all we meet, no matter whether they are Christians, athiests, Muslims or ... It's not a request, it's a commandment.
Rev. Claudia "Red Feather" Barber