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Sunday, March 6, 2016

Today’s Reading | Luke 10:25–37          

Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” He answered, “You shall 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 your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.” But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” (NRSV)

Many years ago, during a particularly dark and challenging time in my life, I was living in Kansas City. It had been a tough day, and I was glad to be heading back home for the night. As I was driving down the street, in a rough neighborhood, I heard the dreaded sound of a flat tire. I pulled off the road into an empty parking lot and called a friend for help. After a while, a man approached me, and I was terrified. He asked if I had a flat tire, and he offered to put on the spare for me. I accepted his offer, although I was still feeling pretty uncomfortable about the situation. We chatted a bit as he changed the tire, and he said. “You know what? You must have been the reason that I stayed at work late today.” That comment always stuck with me, although it wasn’t until long after that that I realized he was a good Samaritan, sent to me by God in a time when I really needed one.

Reading this parable makes me grateful for the good Samaritans I encounter. It also brings up questions. Am I truly a good Samaritan? Do I have restrictions on my acts of kindness, reserving them mostly for friends or for when it is convenient for me? I hope and pray that I am always aware of others and their circumstances and that I do all that I can to help out.

Thank you, God, for the good Samaritans that appear in my life. Help me to recognize them as a blessing from you during dark times. Give me the courage and the willingness, dear God, to be a good Samaritan to those I meet who are in need. Amen.

Written by Briana Belding-Peck, Family Ministry Coordinator

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