Thoughts from your Regional Minister
Written By Ken Marston, Regional Minister
The story of the Good Samaritan is a story Jesus told when he was asked by a lawyer which was the greatest law. Jesus answered by summarizing the 10 commandments with, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all your soul and with all your might.” And before the lawyer could respond, Jesus goes on to say, “And the second is like it, love your neighbor as you love yourself.” The text in Luke then says the lawyer wanting to “justify himself” asks, “who is my neighbor?”
So many times, we want to limit who we extend our love, our care, and our compassion to. We hear the words Jesus says, and find ourselves reluctant to love and care for those who do not return that love, care, and compassion. Our sense of fairness holds us back. Or even our sense of justice makes it difficult to love those who have hurt us and who have hurt others. And yet, that is what this story confronts us with.
In Jesus’ day, the Samaritan represented someone who was impure. They were descendants of interracial marriage between Jews and non-Jews. They resisted worshipping in the Temple in Jerusalem. They were a danger to what Jews at the time thought had made them “great” in the past. Yet, in this story, Jesus casts the Samaritan as the one who showed love, care, and compassion. It was the Samaritan who was neighborly. And it is the Samaritan Jesus points to as the example we are to emulate when loving our neighbors.
In our own time, as we struggle to love others during this pandemic, it is important to remember this teaching. Loving our neighbors is about putting their needs ahead of our own desires. Loving our neighbors is about not putting others in danger by gathering in large social groups. It is about taking responsibility for how we interact with each other so that we don’t unknowingly spread the virus to others.
We may not feel sick ourselves or never exhibit any symptoms, but there is a good chance anyone of us could be a carrier of this virus. So, let us listen to the experts in infectious diseases. Let us practice good hygiene. Wear a mask when out in public spaces. Get creative in how you engage in work and commerce. And in the end, be ready to make sure your neighbor’s needs are met whatever they may be.