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Rev. Dr. Cecil Clements,
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Home arrow Articles arrow Let's not wait for a Samaratian
Let's not wait for a Samaratian

The first blow brought him out of his reverie. The next brought him to his knees. The ones that followed came thick and fast…and painfully, quickly erasing the high points of his trip to the Holy Land. Rough hands relieved him of his cloak, even rougher ones pinned him effortlessly to the ground.The thrashing didn't stop, although fists were now joined by feet that connected with bone-snapping force. Unable to defend himself the traveler waited for the end to come, an end not only to the brutality, but to his life as well. Mission completed the band of hoodlums looked at the still, lifeless figure of the traveler and, grunting to each other, made off for the mountains to wait for another naïve, unsuspecting traveler.

That's life for you. Sometimes when the blows come, they come thick and fast. Unseen, unheard and unheralded-yet with lethal effect, leaving us completely vulnerable. Some of us are destroyed financially; others physically with sickness; still others emotionally scarred by the trauma, and yet others are left with their self respect stripped away. And we lie in wait, unable to help ourselves, completely vulnerable and dependent on the mercy and compassion of those who pass us by.

He wasn't dead as yet, although the pain made him wish he was. He tried to hear above the pounding of his own heart. To listen for footsteps, his only hope of turning this nightmare into just another bad day at the office. And then it came, in the distance, the shuffle of footsteps on the hard, unyielding terrain, and hope began to grow within his tortured frame. Raising himself, ignoring the agony of this move, his eyes took in the garb of ornate religiosity. Hope swelled. It was his lucky day, in spite of what had happened. But, but… wait, it couldn't be, a priest could not pass by, and yet the sound of footsteps moved away and all his disbelieving eyes could see was the swish of priestly robes hurrying quickly on its way to Jericho. Involvement, it seemed, was too much of an inconvenience.

The priests have come and gone. Leaving the wounded and the vulnerable, the bruised and the battered to pick up the pieces of their lives, unaided and helpless. And the highway of life continues to leave casualities behind, these unfortunate ones who've taken a beating in life, who look with hope-filled eyes each time a member of the "royal priesthood" arrives, and then die a second death when the "priesthood" passes by.

Sounds again, the sound of footsteps and hope tinged with restraint rises within his soul once more. The footsteps slow and pick up speed as this member of Israel's religious elite passes by as well. Disappointment is writ large on the face of the injured traveler. Footsteps again, but this time the footsteps don't elicit any hope. The people who might have helped have long since gone. Help now is a fast fading reality, a mirage in the desert, a futile hope. And yet…the sound of footsteps draw near and stop…and gentle hands check for signs of life. Wounds are carefully tended. Transport is provided and rest and recuperation in an inn, promise a speedy recovery. A Samaritan comes through! Help comes from unexpected quarters, the exception, not the norm delivers.

That must change isn't it?. Why must help come from unexpected quarters? Why do we pass by? Why don't we get involved? Why must help come from the "Samaritan?" Is that parable true of us today? Can a "chosen generation, a royal priesthood" blithely turn their eyes from need? Or must we step up to the plate and tend the wounded, restore the fallen and soothe the traumatize? Is it not time the church looked at the casualties of life and owned responsibility for them? Is that not our mandate today? It was said of Him: "A bruised reed He will not break and a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish." (Isaiah 42:3)

That beloved must be our call as well. To look for the "bruised reeds" and "dimly burning wicks", and seek to heal, and tend and restore. Then we can sing together "…and they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love, and they'll know we are Christians by our love." Then will our light so shine before men that they will see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16) It's a tough call, but one worth embracing, especially if we can one day hear HIM say: "…to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it for me." (Matthew 25:40b)


Pastor, Rev. Dr. Cecil Clements 

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