Links of Interest/Bibliography:
The Parable of the Good Samaritan
The Good Samaritan
Hymn: Jesu, Jesu, Fill Us with Your Love VU 593
Words of Welcome and Announcements
Centering & Lighting the Christ Candle & Love Candle
Hymn: We Are Pilgrims VU 595
Call to Worship
One: Welcome! Welcome to a place where each of us are different.
All: In the United Church of Canada, we value diversity.
One: Welcome to a place where diversity of thought is respected and encouraged.
All: In the United Church of Canada, we challenge each other and ourselves to examine empire and the hierarchy it upholds.
One: It’s a work in progress, but we are committed.
All: We are committed to welcoming all, in our worship and in our faith community.
May this be a time of self-reflection and discernment. May the Holy Spirit fill this place. May we be moved by the Holy Spirit and our own reflections to act with Love. Amen.
Hymn: This Is My Commandment Joyful Noise 131
Who is your neighbour?
Readings: Luke 10:25-37
Hymn: Christ Has No Body Now but Yours MV 171
People in Your Neighbourhood
Minute for Mission
We give because we can. We know that our abundance can affect the lives of others.
Offertory What Can I Do? MV 191
May these gifts, those given through PAR, as well as our gifts of time and talent become agents of change in the lives of others. May they be used for the good of the whole. Amen.
Prayer Music: Put Peace into Each Other’s Hands MV 173 v 5
Prayers of the People & Prayer of Jesus
Commissioning and Benediction
Musical Blessing: Like A Rock MV 92
The Good Samaritan
In two week’s time, we’re hosting a Vacation Bible School. Our theme “Who is My Neighbour?” is based on the story of The Good Samaritan and getting to know the different people around us. I’m looking forward to this, and have been prepping some art work to tell the story to the kids. So when it was time to work on worship this week, I was pleased to discover the story was The Good Samaritan. So let’s dig in and do a little reflecting on this story that inspires so many people.
Who are the characters?
We’re going to start with the people involved.
The first part of this passage isn’t part of the actual Good Samaritan story. It’s more of an introduction. The funny part is that this introduction bit is in both Matthew and Mark as well, but the story that follows it is only in Luke. But this introduction is almost as much of a lesson as the story that follows it. The Lawyer is obviously an educated person. Even with all this education though, the Lawyer is still having difficulty understanding what to do. The Lawyer even quotes the teaching from the ancient scriptures back to Jesus word for word, but still doesn’t understand how to use them. The Lawyer questions Jesus further and Jesus replies with the Good Samaritan. In the Matthew and Mark versions of the story, Jesus responds back with questions which go unanswered. While the interpretation of the story is left up to us, in this version from Luke, the questions are answered and a commissioning is given: “Go and do likewise.”
We don’t know much about the person who is injured in the story of the Good Samaritan other than the person is travelling from Jerusalem to Jericho. It wouldn’t have been an easy trek, and obviously the person had more wealth than the robbers – or so the robbers thought. The Person was travelling alone, so it was most likely a man, as very few women would have made that kind of journey alone. From what I’ve read about it many women in this day and age wouldn’t make the journey alone, but more about the road a little later. We can assume the person in this story is a Hebrew person, as Jesus was telling this story to a group of Hebrew people. When you are in a larger group of people, it is assumed that all people in the story are in the majority of the listening audience unless explicitly stated.
The robbers are also somewhat anonymous in this story. We know there was more than one of them. We know that the road from Jerusalem to Jericho was and still is a haven for robbers looking to pounce on a trapped target, so we know the robbers were looking for an easy target.
The Priest in the Hebrew community was someone from the tribe of Aaron. He would have had specific duties in the temple and would have been wearing specific type of garment. The Priestly people would have placed a heavy influence on the rites of worship. At that time, the priest would have believed that their ways of practicing the Hebrew faith were the right way.
Similarly the Levite would have been someone from the tribe of Levi. People from the tribe of Levi also dressed a particular way, and firmly believed in a lack of material possessions. As with the Priestly tradition, the Levite traditional would have believed that their ways of practicing the Hebrew faith were the right way.
A Samaritan is another branch of Hebrew faith. It means “Keepers of the Law”. The Samaritan would have dressed according the traditions of the Samaritan faith, and would have believed that their ways of practicing the Hebrew faith were the right way. We know the Samaritan was wealthy enough to have an animal accompany him, enough money to stay in an inn, and enough money to leave some with the Inn Keeper to look after the person.
All three people while Hebrew, would have had issues with each other’s faith practices, in a similar way to Unitarians, Catholics and Pentecosts. Just three very different ways of practicing. Fortunately for us, as religions and faith traditions have evolved, we’ve increased our understanding and respect for the different ways people choose to practice their faith.
The Inn Keeper
The Inn Keeper gets a relatively small role, which I think is somewhat of a disservice. The Inn Keeper was the one who offered a safe place for at least two of our travelers to stay. The Inn Keeper went above and beyond, at least in today’s day and age, to offer this safe haven to those who needed it most.
While the lawyer gave Jesus a somewhat ambiguous answer: “the one who showed compassion.” It’s often assumed that the one who showed compassion was the Samaritan, I think the Inn Keeper deserves a nod of recognition too.
The title of neighbor goes both ways. One can be helped and one can do the helping. It’s in this cyclical action of helping and being helped that we begin working towards The Good of The Whole.
What is the setting?
It’s a somewhat homogeneous setting, all of the people seem to be from the same geographic area and although they are from different faith traditions, all the faith traditions stem from the same root. The traveler, the Priest, the Levitite and the Samaritan all seem to be headed to Jericho from Jerusalem.
The Road From Jerusalem to Jericho is well known to all of those involved, except for perhaps the traveler. When I looked up information about this road, I found out that it was rocky and uneven, narrow and meandering along the edge of the mountain. It dangerous, not just because of the narrowness along the cliff, but because of the rocks and corners for robbers to hide in, making a person on the path quite vulnerable. Apparently it was even called the “Way of Blood” in reference to just how dangerous the journey would have been.
How does this relate to our current setting?
The beauty of the teachings of Jesus is the timelessness of his main message. If everyone treated each other the way they wished to be treated, it would be a very different world. Our current context seems to offer us very similar opportunities, only this time society becomes the robbers on the difficult and dangerous path that is life. Who do you see travelling on this dangerous path? How has our church become the compassionate one? Are there people we aren’t noticing? Are there people that we make a conscious decision to avoid or maybe make excuses to avoid? It’s so easy to do…oh I don’t have the time…I don’t have the money…I’m not whatever enough. There are more excuses than there are people to help. The trick is not taking the easy road. May we always look for ways to help on the hard road.