July 14, 2019
Today’s gospel is a familiar story, perhaps even more than simply familiar—for many, it is a favorite parable. Knowing he is being tested, Jesus tells the legal expert a story about a man who has been hurt and the one who rescues and cares for him.
So, what did the Samaritan actually do in the story? If we look at the actions in the text, we see that the Samaritan drew near, saw the beaten man, was moved with compassion, went to him, poured wine and oil on his wounds to clean and soothe them, bandaged him, brought him to safety, took care of him, and arranged for the innkeeper to continue care in his absence—all at the Samaritan’s own expense.
In what ways is our worship an opportunity to practice for a life of service, offering mercy to those who are suffering?
We draw near to one another: we sit shoulder to shoulder with people who might be very different from us. We see each other: over the months and years, we learn to really love each other as we are. We are moved with compassion: as we share our prayer concerns, we are vulnerable with one another and feel tenderness for those who are suffering.
As we share the peace of Christ, we move toward each other in kind and loving ways. We even practice offering what we have to help others. The man in the story offered the oil and wine he had with him, and we offer canned goods for food pantries, quilts for Lutheran World Relief, school supplies for students, time, talents, and monetary gifts.
Having been nourished by the practice of mercy in our worship life, we are strengthened to “go and do likewise” (Luke 10:37)—to draw near, see, care, help, and pour out what we have been given to those we encounter.
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