Reflection for Wednesday 24 March 2021
Reading : Luke 10:25-37
OIL OF COMPASSION
“But a Samaritan while travelling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them.”
No matter how many times I hear this story; I can’t help but be moved by the physicality of the Samaritan. The priest and Levite remove themselves out of eyesight of the man left for dead literally distancing themselves for his plight.
However, the Samaritan gets close up to the suffering, he steps into the ditch with his fellow traveller and offers practical aid. He poured oil and wine on the wounds and bandaged them up.
Then, he carefully transported the injured man to a place of refuge and hospitality.
And........he didn’t just leave him there, but stayed the night, ensuring the care continued.
And then................he left the injured man in the care of the innkeeper, promising to pay in full for any assistance required to see the broken man restored to well-being.
All this care offered to a stranger, one who might even be deemed as an enemy.
Just as the cruelty of the robbery entailed physical close contact, so does the mercy that seeks to amend the injuries and pain.
Healing cannot happen from a distance.
Compassion moves us to act, to get into the ditch, to pour oil on wounds and bandage them, to ensure the person so brutalised knows there’s another side to humanity.
In April 2000, the Session of First Presbyterian Church, Charlotte NC commissioned international fresco artist Ben Long to paint a fresco in the entrance hall of the fellowship building.
Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan was chosen as the subject of the fresco because it deals with a fundamental question of a centre city church: “Who is our neighbour?” It symbolizes the mission of First Presbyterian Church to be a witness “For Christ in the Heart of Charlotte” to the thousands of people who live and work in downtown Charlotte.
Immediately upon entering the front doors of the Fellowship Hall, a dramatic image of the Samaritan bending over a beaten and bloodied stranger serves as an important reminder of the intimate relationship between the teachings of Christ and the work we are called to do.
I was privileged to spend a month on study leave with that congregation, and was truly amazed to see the compassionate love of Jesus acted out in action 24/7 among the broken and wounded, the homeless and hungry in downtown Charlotte.
POINTS TO PONDER
WHEN HAVE YOU BEEN MOVED WITH PITY TO GO TOWARD SOMEONE IN A DITCH, LITERALLY OF FIGURATIVELY? WHAT DID YOU DO ONCE YOU GOT THERE?
HAVE YOU EVER BEEN PHYSICALLY CARED FOR BY A STRANGER?
WHEN HAS SOMEONE POURED OIL AND WINE ON YOUR WOUNDS?
Jesus, this very day, you are calling us to be neighbours to someone in need of mercy.
As we go about our tasks and routines, help us to see with your eyes those who need our compassion and help.
Strengthen our faith in you to make us bold to move towards our neighbours in need.
If we should find ourselves wounded and afraid, send Samaritans to minister to us.
We pray in Jesus name,