Monday, July 11, 2016

Being a Good Samaritan—Carolyn R. Wilker

Last evening, I was sitting on my front porch reading and enjoying the slightly cooler air. My neighbours were playing a game of Frisbee, the father with his 12-year-old son, and two smaller children playing on the lawn. Noah, who’s just two, ran out onto the road and around the car, out of sight, while his father tossed the Frisbee to his older brother. I called to the father about Noah, and he went to retrieve his son. [Fortunately there were no cars coming by at that moment.] Olina, who’s four, came over to say hello and I stepped off the porch to talk with her. She wanted me to come over, and then I was invited to play Frisbee too.
This is nothing unusual. I’ve talked with the parents many times and visited in their home. We’ve talked about gardening, our children, and in my case, grandchildren. This family is from Ethiopia, but that’s not unusual for they are among neighbours who come from other countries in the world— Africa, Germany, Croatia, England and Romania—just on our side of the crescent.
Yesterday the presiding pastor at our church read the story of the Good Samaritan. A lawyer asks a question of Jesus, the Messiah— “Who is my neighbour?” And Jesus, knowing the lawyer’s mindset, tells a story.
“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers…” (Luke 10: 29b) The man had been beaten, robbed and left for dead. A priest came by and passed by on the other side of the road. He did not stop to help the man. Next came a Levite, who acted in the same way. Sometime afterward a Samaritan (named by the place he came from) came by.  He felt pity for the hurt man and showed compassion. He bound the man’s wounds and took him to an inn. The Samaritan gave the innkeeper money to take care of the injured man and promised to pay any extra expense the innkeeper incurred when he came back that way.
Jesus asked the lawyer who he thought was the neighbour. The lawyer answered, “The one who showed him mercy.” [Some versions use the word ‘kindness.’] Jesus tells the lawyer to go and do the same.
It didn’t matter to the Samaritan that the injured man was a foreigner to him. He showed compassion on another human being in need. 'Good Samaritan' has come to mean one who offers help.
We are called to do the same. The injured person could be someone who’s African, Romanian, Buddhist, native Canadian or Inuit. Here I’m not speaking of those who play the game of being 'in need' when in fact they are not, but for someone who has been hurt in some way and needs immediate help.
It may be that you can do no more than stand with the person, call for medical assistance and wait until help arrives. You might call attention to a child who has run onto the road, because you don’t want to see the child get hurt. It could be a person falling on the sidewalk where you're walking. Stopping might be simply helping to right the person again and taking time to inquire if the person has been hurt. Or it could mean applying first aid, if that’s something you can do, after an accident and until an ambulance arrives. It could even be blowing snow on a driveway in winter for someone who cannot shovel it.
We, too, are called to be a Samaritan.

 Carolyn Wilker is an author and editor from Southwestern Ontario. Learn more about what she does here.


Peter Black said...

Thanks, Carolyn, for sharing your personal example and clear contemporary application on what it means to be a Good Samaritan. It's lovely that you have such good connection with your international neighbours.
I thought it interesting too, that your focus here follows Ed Hird's mention of Franklin Graham's charity - Samaritan's Purse. ~~+~~

Carolyn R. Wilker said...

When I was wondering what to write for my next post, our presiding minister at church talked about the good samaritan that was the gospel lesson that day. It got me thinking. Thanks, Peter.

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