In a world where you can be anything; be kind.
2000 years later things haven’t changed that much. There are still people who ‘fall into the hands of robbers’. The robbers have different names now they are ‘dealers’ or ‘pimps’ or ‘bikers’ or ‘fundamentalists’ or any other group that takes advantage of people – some would put ‘politicians’ and ‘media barons’ on that list too.
People are still left by the roadside, bruised and beaten, by so many different experiences in life and there they lie as the world passes them by. It’s not just priests and Levites that walk past on the other side, almost the whole of humanity does. We see the needs of others and we turn the page or change the channel; we lift our phone to our ears and pretend to be on a call instead of talking to them or we put our head down and walk faster so they don’t talk to us; we don’t offer a smile, a kind word or a bit of change where it’s needed.
We all do it at one time or another. We are all guilty of ignoring the needs of others. We wrap ourselves in in cosy excuses to make ourselves feel better – I’m too busy; someone else will do it; I gave last week/year/millennium; it’s their own fault; they shouldn’t be here and so on (insert your favourite excuse here…….).
The spirit of the Priest and Levite is alive today and is stronger than ever; in fact it is becoming ingrained in our society – it’s being drilled into us from childhood, spoon fed to us by some of our politicians, drip fed to us through some of the media, incessantly we are told to look after number one, that ‘we’ are important, that we have no responsibility for ‘them’; that as long as we’re okay then all is right with the world. Our leaders tell us “Let ‘us’ deal with the problems ‘you’ should just go on with your little lives” and we hear some variation of this in almost every news bulletin or news paper story.
But still the bodies pile up at the locked doors of our nation’s compassionate heart; still we ignore them as we walk past or over them to carry on with our ‘comfortable’ lives. We Priest and Levite our way through the week, hoping someone else will deal with all the shit around us. The trouble is no one does and the piles keep getting higher and higher.
Our society needs some Samaritans, our society needs a Samaritan. That someone who does the little bit to help the need around them. They do not change the world, their aim is not to fix everything, they have no intention of instilling chaos into the order of society. They are not communists or troublemakers or fundamentalists – they are humanitarians that see the need and do the little they can. It won’t cost them everything they have, it won’t even make them miss their important meeting or coffee date but it will make them more human and (if they have one) closer to their God. This Samaritan can be anyone – they might wear biker colours or a suit, they might have tattoos and facial piercings, they may wear a hijab or a turban, they may have a cross around their neck, they may not even be able to afford shoes, they may look like someone else or they may look just like you. There are hidden samaritans around, if only we could see more of them, be more of them.
We are told from infancy that we live in a lucky country and that we can be anything we want. Yes you can be prime minister or an astronaut or a doctor or a vet or a zoo keeper or a gardner or a chef or an author or whatever we want. So THIS is what Jesus was saying in that parable….
In a world where you can be anything, be kind.