Why I crossed the road

“Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity” – Simone Weil.

Whether you are familiar with Christianity or not, you’re likely familiar with the parable of the good Samaritan from the book of Luke.

In it Jesus explains again in the most oblique way what it is to be a good Christian (well, Jew, I suppose since there were no “Christians” at the time.)

The story goes like this: a guy is beaten, robbed and left on the side of the road and all the fine, upstanding citizens of the day pass the victim leaving him to presumably die.

Except for this Samaritan guy.

Samaritans were considered of ill repute by the people Jesus was telling this story to, so the idea one of them would look after a beaten robbery victim would be outlandish at best.

But, according to Jesus’ story, this is exactly what happens.

At the end of the story, Jesus asks his listeners to then go out and follow the example of the Samaritan.

Okay, that wasn’t an aside, that’s the context for what follows.

So I really, really had to put that part in, it wasn’t just a bunch of self-indulgent tripe.

It was necessary tripe.

At my church (yes, this is necessary tripe too) we have a tradition of having people share their prayer concerns during a time of the worship service we call Prayers of the People.

And now the we’re at the core.

Recently, during the prayers of the people, a woman who has an intellectual deficit went first.

Quite often she has something to say about issues in her life and we pray for her support or celebration of her successes.

A number of other people had prayers the chose to share, and then when it appeared there was no one who had anything else to pray for this same woman held up her hand again.

The first thing that ran through my mind was the thought that, “She’s had her turn, she doesn’t get another.”

But our minister went back and listened, and in this action reminded me of who we are called to be.

We are not to ignore people because it’s convenient or because rules say we must.

We stop, we listen and hear what people have to say.

It was, for me, the lesson of the good Samaritan.

And apparently in this lesson I am an example of someone who would have crossed the road to avoid a robbed and beaten victim lying in the street.

I’m not proud of this and am actually quite shocked as I reflect on my initial response.

I hope I will do better in the future and provide a good example for my daughter.

Related links
Luke 10:25-37 [The parable from the Bible]
Parable of the Good Samaritan [Wikipedia]
The Samaritans [Wikipedia]

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