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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Today’s Reading | Luke 10:25–37

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” (NIV)

In the summer of 2001, on a family road trip to Maine, my mother suddenly announced, “Something is acting up with the car; it doesn’t feel right. I am going to pull over.” Thankfully she did—and reached the shoulder before the right front wheel fell off and our car collapsed to the right, resting on the axle. With no cell phones, we ended up waiting along the side of the road for a long time, hoping someone would help us. Only one person chose to stop and offer to help, before finally a police officer spotted us and came to our aid. This man who stayed with us and offered assistance in any way he could was our guardian angel that day.

This parable made me think of that moment with my family. While the situations are vastly different, the underlying theme remains the same. How often do we pass people not knowing if they need that help because we are unsure? Unsure of our safety, unsure of our comfort, unsure of our own insecurities? God shows us in this parable that mercy should be administered no matter the case. Living in a city we pass many people on the street who are in need of help and often times we do not take the time to acknowledge them. One time a gentleman said, “Thank you for the smile” after I told him I could not help him financially. It made me appreciate what I could give him in that moment: acknowledgment of his situation and a small piece of encouragement.

I hope that today as we read this powerful parable, each of us will take the time to acknowledge what can be done in the situations and opportunities that come our way, to show God’s mercy when it can be given most.

Lord, our days are filled with many interactions and with many opportunities for expressing your love. Help us to encounter those moments with mercy so that we may live out your greatest call for us every day, to love our neighbor. Amen.

Written by Ashley Elskus, Director, Center for Life and Learning

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