the 5th sunday after pentecost
the PRAYER. . .
O Lord God, your mercy delights us, and the world longs for your loving care. Hear the cries of everyone in need, and turn our hearts to love our neighbors with the love of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.
the READING. . .
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 ….”
the DEVOTION. . .
No matter how many times we read the story, it’s always the same. It’s all about the Samaritan. Coming near. Moved with pity. No shocks. No surprises. But sometimes, I wonder what it would be like if we’d never heard the story before. Would we hear it, the first time, from some other point of view …
Like from that of the man who’d been going down from Jerusalem to Jericho. The one who’d fallen into the hands of robbers. Stripped. Beaten. Left for dead. We don’t know if he saw the priest coming down the road, that day. Or the Levite. If he knew they crossed over, never stopped, passed by. And we don’t know if he was aware of the Samaritan kneeling beside him. Checking for life. For wounds. For broken bones. Always gentle. Always speaking. Softly. Tenderly.
And we don’t know how he reacted, later, when the innkeeper told him it had been a Samaritan. Not a priest! Not, even, a Levite! Both of them were respected! Both revered! But by one of “them!” By one of “those” people! At that moment, I wonder … did he feel gratitude … or did he, simply, feel shame …
Bob Barndt, pastor