An expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.”
But wanting to vindicate himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and took off, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan while traveling came upon him, and when he saw him he was moved with compassion. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, treating them with oil and wine. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him, and when I come back I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” ~ Luke 10:25-37
Alphonse Legrose - The Good Samaritan
Who doesn't love this parable?
As wonderful as it is, I think we sometimes miss the scandal of it.
God opens up relationship through the law, through scripture, through blessing.
And opens up relationship with the last people you'd expect. Makes neighbors out of unexpected people.
What would this parable look like today if we told it? Samaritans and Jews hated each other. So who do you hate? Or rather, who do WE hate?
What would this parable look like if we understood that God was calling the following groups into relationship with each other:
Muslims and Jews.
Christians and Atheists.
While nationalists and Black Lives Matter members.
Conservatives and Liberals.
I'm sure you can think of others.
The point for God is always that relationship is meant to be wide and expansive, not narrow and limited. Relationship is the heart of the Kingdom of God, a Kingdom - a Kin-dom - that includes even those we'd like to keep out.
Open wide the doors of your Kin-dom, O Lord, so that all are welcome. Amen